Why You Need Seaweed in Your Diet
Seaweed has long since been a staple in South East Asian cooking, and has recently begun to become available all over the world as the cuisine has made its global mark. From the wrappers on sushi, to floating bits in soup, to seaweed crackers, seaweed is available at most gourmet, speciality Asian and even some grocery stores across the world. Seaweed is supposed to have many health benefits—it is claimed to be an antioxidant, a superfood—but are these claims really true ? While some in the modern medical community started researching seaweed and its benefits, others who had been using it for years in fold and traditional medicine staunchly stood by the healthfulness of seaweed. The verdict? Read on to find out.
What’s in seaweed anyway?
Well, firstly, there are multiple types of seaweed that we consume available commercially, and each type has slightly different nutritional qualities. That said, they do share some excellent nutrients.
Common minerals in seaweed include calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Seaweed also is a source for most major vitamin groups, including two types of Vitamin A, six types of Vitamin B, Vitamin C, two types of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K . Seaweed is also known to have high levels of iodine, which is beneficial for human beings.
So, what are the health benefits?
1) It affects blood pressure in a good way
Ever been told by your doctor to stay calm to keep your blood pressure low? Then seaweed might be a great snack option for you. Wada et al. published a study in Nutrition Journal in 2011 to discover the effects of seaweed on blood pressure . Though their study concentrated on children, their results conclusively proved that dietary seaweed was related negatively to diastolic blood pressure in boys and to systolic blood pressure in girls. While studies are still ongoing for adults, the researchers do suggest that consuming seaweed as children may help bodies become resistant to high blood pressure as adults, making seaweed a great preventative for hypertension and related conditions.
2) It may help prevent breast cancer
A study published in the Journal of Applied Phycology in 2013 found a correlation between seaweed consumption and the lowered rate of breast cancer in post-menopausal women in Japan. The study suggests that the long-term consumption of seaweed as a dietary staple reduces levels of uPAR in women, which is associated with a lower incidence of breast cancer .
3) It may help with diabetes management
Seaweed consumption has been proven to help with diabetes management in a study published in Marine Drugs in 2015. The article states that seaweed acts as an anti-inflammatory, induces hepatic antioxidant enzyme activity, stimulates glucose transport and incretin hormone release, and increases β-cell cytoprotection, all of which are mechanisms that help alleviate diabetes in individuals .
Seaweed is a great way to keep your body healthy, and acts as a great preventative for conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and cancer.