If you love sushi, you are often well acquainted with the dark, delicate seaweed that is often useful in sushi rolls. But what are the health benefits of seaweed? What are the different types of seaweed?
Seaweed is a rich sea food with a high nutritional value. Let’s get to know it below.
Types of seaweed
Seaweed is one of the natural food ingredients commonly used in China, Japan, and many Asian countries. This type of sea herbs is not only food and shelter for marine organisms, but it is also a natural food component suitable for human consumption and has a high nutritional value. (1, 2)
Seaweed comes in many types, and they differ in color, shape, taste, nutritional value, and many other things. Here is a list of the most common and widely used types of seaweed:
Wakame algae. (3)
Kombu algae. (4)
Nori algae. (5)
Hijiki algae. (6)
Dulse moss. (7)
Seaweed of all types is rich in various minerals and nutrients, but it is not without some potential harm, so some people should avoid it.
Health benefits of seaweed
Here is a list of the most potential health benefits of seaweed:
1. Strengthens bones
Seaweed contains high amounts of antioxidants that the body needs to fight many diseases and health problems that may appear with age, such as various bone diseases and problems especially, osteoporosis.
Seaweed also contains high amounts of calcium and vitamin K needed by bones. Therefore, eating seaweed as part of a balanced diet helps strengthen the bones and reduce the chances of developing some health problems and diseases. (8, 9, 10)
2. Fights diabetes
Seaweed contains a unique combination of nutrients that may help fight diabetes, such as:
Dietary fiber may help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels.
Certain food compounds may help combat some health problems that may increase the chances of developing diabetes, such as the following health problems: high levels of body fat, infections. (11, 12, 13, 14)
3. Seaweed improves the digestive system health
Because seaweed contains a relatively high amount of dietary fiber and some nutrients necessary for the digestive system, eating seaweed regularly as part of a balanced diet may help:
Reduces the chances of developing some digestive system diseases, such as diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and stomach ulcers.
4. Improves the circulatory system health
Seaweed contains nutritional compounds that may help lower bad cholesterol levels and increase good cholesterol levels in the body. So, eating seaweed in moderation helps reduce the incidence of some health problems associated with high cholesterol levels, such as atherosclerosis, heart failure, and peripheral artery disease. (17, 18, 19, 20)
5. Improves thyroid health
And if there is a decrease in iodine levels in the body, this may cause a group of different health problems in the thyroid gland, such as a lazy thyroid gland, which may negatively affect the body’s health in different ways.
6. Other health benefits of seaweed
The health benefits of seaweed are not limited to what we mentioned before, but there are many other health benefits of seaweed, such as:
Relieve pain and menstrual cramps.
Side effects of seaweed
Although the health benefits of seaweed are many and varied, it is not without some caveats and potential harms, as eating seaweed may sometimes cause the following:
Problems related to blood clotting and thinning of the blood
The poisoning with some heavy metals, such as mercury, because some seaweed types contain high levels of these harmful metals.
The increase of iodine in the body, which may cause problems with the thyroid gland
Possible problems for pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to the ability of some types of seaweed to affect the body’s hormones
Negative interactions with some types of medications, such as blood thinners and thyroid medications.