Although seaweed may look like slimy spinach, this dense green or brown sea vegetable is high in nutrients and contains a variety of health benefits like: digestive health, cholesterol-lowering effects and weight loss. Getting your daily dose of essential minerals and vitamins is quite simple, with only a small amount of seaweed such as nori, kelp or kombu.
Alginate, the natural fiber found in some types of seaweed like kelp, may help digestion and reduce fat absorption. Some scientific studies found that eating seaweed reduced fat digestion by more than 75%. Fiber also makes you to feel full much faster and therefore overeating is prevented. These findings suggest that adding seaweed to your diet may help lose weight and lower unhealthy cholesterol levels in the blood.
Just like other vegetables, seaweed contains very important minerals and vitamins you are in need of to have a healthy, balanced diet. Only a gram of seaweed provides your daily dose of iodine, a mineral that is critical for healthy thyroid function. Also, a type of brown seaweed called kombu contains the pigment fucoxanthin that may help your body metabolize fats for energy. It’s also important to know that a serving of seaweed is loaded with more calcium than broccoli and is almost as rich in proteins as legumes. Other nutrients found in seaweed are: vitamin B-12 and vitamin A.
Your body requires healthy fats as an essential part of a balanced diet. Seaweed provides heart-healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids. Studies found that a sheet of nori seaweed contains the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids as two avocados. This type of fat helps to raise healthy HDL cholesterol levels, while lowering harmful LDL cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammation in the body.
Add Seaweed to Your Diet
There are many options to add seaweed to your regular diet. Flattened nori seaweed sheets are used to roll sushi. You can choose to simply add them to a wrap or tuck them inside a sandwich or cut them into strips and toss into a salad or soup. Purchase dried brown or green kelp seaweed strips and add them to breads, pizzas, potatoes, pastas, casseroles, stews and soups.