Why Seaweed & Algae Are the Newest Superfoods
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In many cultures, seaweed has actually been an essential source of nutrients for thousands of years. And now that seaweed has reached superfood status in North America, and we can’t get enough of it!
Given its new-found popularity, seaweed can now be found in anything from supplements to cookies. And even though there’s lots of amazing benefits to seaweed, you still should be mindful of how you’re eating it. Spoiler alert: cookies with seaweed are still cookies!
Types of Seaweed
When shopping for seaweed, it’s important to note that there are many kinds available. Some common types you’ll likely come across are: kombu, kelp, wakame, dulce, nori, spirulina, and chlorella. Each seaweed type has unique benefits and may even have dosage recommendations (e.g., spirulina and chlorella). There are also a ton of different formats and uses—for example, chlorella is usually found in powder or supplement form, whereas nori is what’s used to make sushi.
Benefits of Seaweed
PACKED with Nutrients
All types of seaweed offer an incredibly broad range of nutrients. It’s a rich source of several vitamins, including vitamins A, C, D, and E, along with an array of B vitamins. Seaweed is also a great source of several minerals, including iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, and iron. If you’re looking to add more iron to your diet, seaweed is a great option! And thanks to the vitamin C, the iron found in seaweed is easily bioavailable.
Seaweed + Thyroid Health
Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine. Iodine content varies depending on seaweed type, but they’re generally all good sources. Some varieties of seaweed contain almost 2,000% of the daily recommended value in just one gram.
Iodine is essential for thyroid health, but it is possible to get too much. Seaweed should be enjoyed in moderation, because too much iodine can actually cause thyroid problems.
Improve Skin Health
If you’re looking for clearer, more radiant skin, seaweed could make a great addition to your diet. The health of your skin can be influenced by your overall health, and seaweed supplies your body with lots of goodness, which ultimately leads to better skin! Seaweed supports both the adrenals and thyroid, which help the body deal with stress and can lower cortisol levels. Lower cortisol means healthier skin and overall health.
Seaweed may also benefit your skin when used topically. There are lots of available products that incorporate seaweed to help moisturize, firm, and calm your skin. If you’re a DIY gal looking for a new project, there are lots of seaweed facemask recipes online that you can easily try!
Just because seaweed is a “superfood” doesn’t mean eating anything with seaweed in it is good for you. For example, most seaweed salads that you would find at sushi restaurants contain tons of artificial colours and preservatives. In this situation, you’d be better off skipping the salad.
Also make sure that any seaweed you’re consuming isn’t coming with a host of other nutrient-lacking ingredients. For example, when buying seaweed at the supermarket, always check the ingredients and watch out for preservatives and artificial colours that tend to sneak in.
More Ways to Add Seaweed to Your Diet
Sprinkled on foods: There’s lots of seaweed toppers on the market. You can find seaweed mixed with salt and seasoned seaweed flakes available in an easy to shake-on spice jar.
Soups: Adding seaweed to soups is super easy! I usually add in dry wakame, which quickly rehydrates when added to liquid. I often add it to a homemade miso soup, or bone broth.
Salads: It’s really easy and delicious to toss in a small handful of seaweed to salads. For this, you’ll probably want to use roasted seaweed. You can buy large sheets or seaweed strips.
On its own: There are some great brands making little grab-and-go bags of seasoned seaweed. A personal favourite is Sea Snax. They come in a number of unique flavours and are super convenient to have on the go.
Cook your beans with kombu: Try adding a piece of kombu to the water while cooking your dried beans. You’ll get the benefits of added minerals and more digestible beans. If beans make you gassy, this tip will be extra helpful to you!
Are you a fan of seaweed? What’s your favourite way to use it? Let us know in the comments!
Aly is a Certified Nutrition Practitioner (CNP) who graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and holds a BA from Western University. Aly’s warm and approachable demeanor empowers her clients to take control of their health. She uses a realistic approach, with an emphasis on balance and whole foods to personally address your nutrition needs. Aly believes that eating healthy isn’t about being perfect, it’s about having a plan you can stick to that gives you energy while allowing you to eat the foods you love. Aly believes that with the right tools and guidance you can make positive lifestyle changes to enjoy a happier and healthier life!