Seaweed is a plant that is found growing naturally in salt water and it is considered to be a valuable nutritional vegetable. According to The European Food Information Council or EUFIC, there are thousands of varieties of seaweed and seaweed is often used in sushi rolls, nori wraps, raw salads, soups and in dried form. Adding seaweed to your diet will provide you with another healthy food alternative.
Seaweed can be added to a low salt diet, but still provide you with some of the high salt flavor. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, seaweed is a food that is naturally high in umai, which when eaten triggers the L-glutamate receptors and can add significant flavor to foods without adding salt.
The American Heart Association recommends that people eat a diet low in salt, no more than 1,500 mg per day, because too much salt can induce high blood pressure. Therefore, seaweed is a possible low salt option that still contains a significant amount of flavor.
The George Mateljan Foundation reports that the consumption of seaweed can have a positive effect on menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes; seaweed contains a very weak estrogen that when eat can provide a women's body with enough estrogen to reduce the discomfort of menopause.
Seaweed is a healthy vegetable; therefore, it presents with little risk for women going through menopause to try, as a way to reduce the negative symptoms.
Seaweed contains very low amounts of calories and can be used as a healthy alternative to high calorie snacks such as chips, notes Mark Brittman of the New York Times. Seaweed can easily be lightly baked in the oven in chip size pieces to provide you with a low calorie snack, reports Brittman of the New York Times.
Eating low calorie foods can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight, because to lose weight you have to consume less calories than you burn throughout the day.
Seaweed offers fiber benefits similar to other fruits and vegetables. According to EUFIC, 8g of seaweed contains about the same amount of fiber as a banana and it helps you feel full longer, which promotes weight control.
Fiber is an important aspect of a healthy diet and seaweed can provide you with another fiber rich food option.
Vitamin and Mineral Rich
Seaweed contains a variety of healthy vitamins minerals. The George Mateljan Foundation reports that seaweed is rich in iodine, vitamin K, B-vitamin, magnesium, iron and calcium. Also, seaweed contains vitamin B12, which is generally not found in any other vegetables and can be helpful to include in vegetarian and vegan diets, notes the EUFIC. Vitamin B12 is a valuable nutrient and must be included in every diet to ward of fatigue and B12 deficiency.
Eating a variety of vitamins and minerals is recommended for a healthy diet. Therefore, including seaweed into your diet will increase the variety you consume and provide you with a nutrient rich food.
WHAT ARE THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SEAWEED?
Edible seaweed, sometimes known as "sea vegetable," is a low calorie food rich in nutrients. Many cultures have consumed seaweed as a part of their diet, but many Westerners were first introduced to it via sushi -- thin sheets of the seaweed known as nori are used to wrap sushi rolls. Seaweed can also be used in salads and soup. In fact, the Japanese stock base known as dashi depends on the flavor of the seaweed kombu.
TYPES OF SEAWEED
Several types of seaweed are commonly consumed, roughly classifiable into brown algae and red algae. Brown algae include kombu, wakame, hijiki and arame. Red algae includes dulse, agar-agar and nori.
Seaweed is rich in many minerals including calcium, copper, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Of special note is the high concentrations of iodine and iron found in seaweed. Iodine helps regulate thyroid activity. Iron is essential to help carry oxygen in the bloodstream to where it's needed in the body.
A diet rich in seaweed may help prevent cancer, particularly breast cancer and colorectal cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, there is preliminary clinical evidence that certain compounds found in seaweed may slow the growth of cancer cells or kill them off entirely.
Brown algaes are particularly rich in compounds known as fucoidans. Research is continuing into the health benefits of these chemicals; however, preliminary studies show that fucoidans hold promise as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents, in reducing blood pressure and promoting heart health and as antiviral immune system support.