The health benefits of seaweed

Seaweed adds nutrients to your meal, including vitamins A, B, and E. It’s also one of the few plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to heart health and may help protect against a number of chronic diseases. You’ll also get some extra flavor, which can vary depending on the type of seaweed you choose.

What are sea vegetables or seaweed?

As their name suggests, sea vegetables are plants or algae that grow in or near the ocean. These healthy sea vegetables are like land vegetables because they need sunlight, nutrients, and water to grow.

Potential Health Benefits of Seaweed

There are many good reasons to add seaweed to your diet. Seaweed is very nutritious, as it is loaded with vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium, as well as iron and iodine.

A study published in the Journal of Applied Phycology points out that sea vegetables are a good source of the ever-important B vitamins, as well as vitamins A and E. Vitamin A is essential for vision and the immune system and Vitamin E is essential for everything from blood to brain to skin. Kelp, for example, contains 70 micrograms (mcg) of beta-carotene in 100 grams (g), or about a quarter cup (and your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A). You’ll also get 1.3 g of fiber, 89 milligrams (mg) of potassium, and 168 mg of calcium.

Wakame, on the other hand, contains 216 mcg of beta-carotene in about three-quarters of a cup, along with 1 mg of vitamin E, 150 mg of calcium, and 107 mg of magnesium.
And a type of seaweed called agar contains small amounts of vitamin B6 (0.03 mg) in about three-quarters of a cup, along with 226 mg of potassium and 54 mg of calcium.

A word of warning, though: Care should be taken not to over-consume iodine from sea vegetables. Too much iodine can affect thyroid function and lead to various problems, including hypothyroidism. In most cases, it is difficult to exceed the upper limit of 1,100 mcg per day from foods and supplements, but two tablespoons (tbsp) of dried flaked nori, for example, provides over 100 mcg. .

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Additionally, seaweed may also contain beneficial dietary fibers called polysaccharides, according to a study published in Marine Drugs, these fibers may function as prebiotics to potentially help maintain a person’s gut bacteria, which is beneficial to their health. and well-being, the researchers note. The health benefits of sea greens also appear to be linked to constipation and improving bowel regularity.

Another advantage? You’ll also be full of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. A study found that red and brown seaweed can be a valuable source of fatty acids, including omega-3s. Consumed on its own or used as ingredients in dietary supplements and other products, this seaweed could be an excellent vegan source of these healthy fats. Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that help everything from the heart to the immune system to the lungs function at their best.

Yet, not all sea vegetables are created equal. The vitamin, mineral and antioxidant content of algae is highly variable depending on their marine environment, and more.

Types of algae

Just as there are many types of land vegetables, such as arugula, spinach, and kale, there are many types of sea vegetables and seaweed. Here are some common varieties.

Kelp is a type of brown seaweed. There are three different varieties of algae: brown, red and green. The largest are brown algae, like kelp, and they tend to contain the most iodine. And iodine is a crucial nutrient that helps your thyroid make important hormones, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Health. dietetic.

Glasswort is also called “sea bean” and has a similar crunch factor to green beans (although they are not related in any way).

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Dulse is a red seaweed that grows in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It has a salty flavor.

Nori is a go-to seaweed for sushi, and data shows that this seaweed contains beneficial proteins and vitamins like vitamins C and K, as well as compounds (including taurine, which can help prevent gallstones) .

Spirulina is a green algae found in both oceans and salt lakes and is usually sold in powder or supplement form. Like nori, it also contains protein and is a good source of B vitamins, which can help with metabolism and immunity. For example, one tablespoon of spirulina contains 4g of protein, or almost 13% of the daily value.

Other popular varieties of sea vegetables include kombu or wakame.

Seaweed and weight loss

Although not a magic bullet for weight loss, sea vegetables do have a few properties that are beneficial if you’re trying to shed pounds. They are relatively very low in calories, so they can be a good addition to your diet if you are looking to lose weight. A strip of dried seaweed contains only 1.5 calories.
Like land vegetables, seaweed also tends to contain fiber, which has been shown to promote satiety as well as weight loss and maintenance. Sea greens may be effective for weight loss or management due to their prebiotic fiber content. Not only does fiber fill you up, but these types of prebiotic fiber can feed beneficial bacteria in the gut, and a healthy microbiome can help prevent weight gain. For example, a review of research in Preventive Nutrition and Food Science found that a healthy gut microbiome affects how calories are burned and nutrients are broken down in the body.

How to Eat Sea Greens

Since there are many types and forms of algae, there are many ways to incorporate them into your diet. You can add seaweed to soups, sauté seaweed with a dash of oil and seasoning, use nori sheets in place of tortillas or wraps, and use nori flakes in salads, soups and scrambled eggs. Some research has found that processing treatments could potentially impact the nutritional value of nori sheets, but new technologies could help limit this, the researchers note. Seaweed also comes in a powder form that you can add to your breakfast. You can use spirulina powder in smoothies, as well as mix it with yogurt or warm oatmeal.

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Algae Side Effects

Sea vegetables contain iodine, and while it’s an important trace mineral to include in your diet, too much can cause problems. Too much iodine can cause thyroid problems. Adults only need 250 mcg per day, and should not exceed 1100 mcg.

Seaweed can be high in iodine, so anyone with thyroid disease or taking thyroid medication should be careful. In fact, it’s best for everyone to be careful when it comes to regularly consuming seaweed, or products or supplements that contain it, because one can easily exceed the recommended limits for iodine.

Another potential side effect? Seaweed can contain heavy metals, and although toxicity is rare, if you eat seaweed daily it can build up over time. A study published in the journal Chemosphere found that some seaweed products had high levels of heavy metals and did not properly list iodine amounts on the packaging, which may pose health risks.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.

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