Good news if you enjoy eating seaweed and sushi – seaweed contains a number of health boosting properties. From increasing your immunity, to helping you shift those stubborn pounds, seaweed could be the superfood you need to support your wellbeing. Here’s the benefits…
1. Supports weight loss
‘Seaweed can support weight loss as it is high in fibre leaving one feeling fuller for longer and increasing satiety. The fibre is calorie free and encourages bowel regularity, ridding the body of toxins and waste. Not forgetting, the iodine content, which manages metabolic function and encourages weight loss,’ explains Nutritionist Alix Woods in collaboration with itsu, the healthy Asian inspired eatery (www.itsu.com).
2. Aids your health with antioxidants
‘Seaweed contains antioxidants that help protect cells from free radical damage. Free radical damage is often the cause of diseases like heart disease. The antioxidants help to dampen down and even stop the cell’s inflammatory response within the body. Flavonoids, carotenoids and fucoxanthin are the active plant compounds, or antioxidants, that offer the body all the protective health benefits,’ explains Nutritionist Alix Woods in collaboration with itsu, the healthy Asian inspired eatery (www.itsu.com). To get your seaweed fix, try mixed sashimi from itsu (www.itsu.com, £9.99), which is served on a bed of wakame seaweed.
3. Helps your hormones
Seaweed is a good source of zinc, according to Dr. Marilyn Glenville, author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar (www.marilynglenville.com). ‘This mineral is vital for the health and maintenance of reproductive hormones in both men and women. Deficiency in women can lead to reduced fertility and increased risk of miscarriage. It is also vital for the development of unborn babies.’
4. Boosts energy
‘Many varieties of seaweed contain B12, which is often lacking in vegan and vegetarian diets, making it a valuable source. Simply add dried seaweed, chlorella and/or spirulina to meals like soups and smoothies to optimise nutrition and nutrients daily,’ recommends Alix.
5. Supports gut function
‘Seaweed supports gut and microbiome health by providing protective immune enhancing flora within the gut. Seaweed contains fibre and polysaccharides that encourage the growth of healthy gut bacteria that form the first line of defence for the immune system,’ explains Alix. For an immune boosting, gut-friendly snack opt for itsu’s seaweed thins (www.itsu.com, £1.29).
6. Helps prevent Type 2 Diabetes
‘Seaweed may reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and improve blood sugar control as it contains the studied antioxidant, fucoxanthin that can help to lower blood sugar and improve insulin resistance. It also contains alginate, reducing the absorption and circulation of sugar in the blood,’ explains Alix.
For those who already suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, as well as incorporating seaweed in your diet you may want to try CuraLin (£59.00, www.curalife.co). CuraLin is a nutritional supplement that can be taken alongside medication. It is made from a mixture of eleven natural ingredients, which are derived from Ayurvedic medicine, that work with the body to help balance blood sugar levels. It can also help reduce cravings for sugar and processed carbohydrates, restricts absorption of sugar and other carbohydrates, boosts insulin sensitivity and production and supports daily energy levels.
7. Takes care of your thyroid
‘Seaweed helps to regulate thyroid function, as it is rich in iodine and the amino acid, tyrosine. The thyroid gland manages energy, growth, reproduction and cell repair. The iodine makes hormones to control metabolism and maintain energy. Fluctuations in weight, with associated fatigue, may occur should there be an imbalance in iodine.
8. Helps your heart
‘This superfood contains protective “pro heart” nutrients that may reduce the risk of Heart Disease. Seaweed has been found to reduce cholesterol with newer studies showing seaweed contains carbohydrates or fucans and peptides that help reduce blood clotting and lower high blood pressure,’ explains Alix.