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The benefits of seaweed have been felt by the people of East Asia and the Romans since centuries ago. Not only consumed as a daily side dish, seaweed is also used to accelerate the healing of wounds, burns, and skin rashes
Seaweed is part of the multicellular algae family which includes green algae, red algae, and brown algae. For centuries, seaweed has been a prima donna for medicine, industry, and food because of its nutritional content.
Types of Seaweed That Can Be Consumed
There are various types of seaweed that can be consumed either fresh, dried, cooked, or processed into powder supplements, namely:
- Nori: Red algae that is processed into dry sheets and used to roll sushi
- Sea lettuce: Green nori that looks like lettuce, can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in soups
- Kelp: Brown algae that is processed and dried into sheets, can also be used as raw material for gluten-free noodles
- Kombu: A type of seaweed with a strong taste and is usually used to make soup broth
- Arame: Seaweed with a light, sweet taste and strong texture can be used in a variety of dishes, including baked goods
- Wakame: Brown algae commonly used to make fresh seaweed salads or soups
- Dulse: Red algae with a softer, more chewy texture that is used to add flavor to various dishes or eaten as a dry snack
- Chlorella: Green freshwater algae which is generally processed into supplements in powder form
- Agar and carrageenan: In the form of jelly which is usually used as a binder and thickener in various food products
- Spirulina: Often referred to as edible blue-green freshwater algae and is sold in tablet, flake or powder form
Contents and Benefits of Seaweed
In 100 grams of raw seaweed, it contains the following nutrients:
- Water: 82.2 grams
- Carbohydrates: 7.94 grams
- Fiber: 0.7 grams
- Calcium: 129 milligrams
- Magnesium: 77 milligrams
- Phosphorus: 60 milligrams
- Potassium: 165 milligrams
- Sodium: 384 milligrams
- Vitamin C: 15 milligrams
- Vitamin A: 95 micrograms
- Folate: 174 micrograms
- Beta carotene: 1,140 micrograms
In addition, seaweed is also rich in antioxidants which are good for body he alth. Here are some of the benefits of seaweed that you can get when you eat it:
1. Improve thyroid function
The thyroid has an important role in the body's metabolic system. To carry out its function, the thyroid gland needs iodine intake which can be obtained by consuming seaweed or iodized s alt. Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism.
2. Improve heart he alth
Seaweed is a good source of soluble fiber. Seaweed also contains omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants that are beneficial for heart he alth.
Several studies show that the nutritional content in seaweed appears to be able to lower blood pressure, reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and total cholesterol, and prevent blood clots.
However, further clinical research on the benefits of seaweed is still needed to strengthen the evidence.
3. Stabilize blood sugar
Research shows that a high-fiber diet, which can be obtained from vegetables, fruits, and seaweed, can help improve blood sugar levels.
Fucoxanthin and alginate compounds in seaweed are believed to reduce insulin resistance and stabilize blood sugar levels, and prevent type 2 diabetes.
4. Help lose weight
The fucoidan content in seaweed is known to increase fat breakdown and prevent fat formation in the body.
In addition, seaweed also contains fiber which can reduce hunger and make the body feel full longer.
5. Strengthen the immune system
A number of laboratory studies have shown that the antioxidant and anti-allergenic compounds in seaweed have the ability to block various viruses from entering the body's cells.
However, more research is needed to prove the benefits of this seaweed in humans.
6. Improve gut he alth
The fiber content in seaweed can help prevent constipation and ensure a smooth digestive system.
Seaweed also contains prebiotics that are beneficial for the gut and reduce the risk of certain harmful bacterial infections.
7. Reducing the risk of certain cancers
Several studies show that consuming seaweed on a regular basis is thought to reduce the risk of breast cancer and thyroid cancer. However, further research is still needed to prove the benefits of this seaweed.
Seaweed is also known to provide protection against several diseases, such as metabolic syndrome, skin damage, to arthritis.
Although it is good for he alth, you should not eat too much seaweed. Limit seaweed intake to 4 grams per day
Seaweed is rich in iodine, which if consumed in excess can lead to the risk of bleeding, thyroid disorders, and kidney problems. In addition, seaweed also contains metal substances, such as mercury, lead, and cadmium, which are harmful to the body.
If you still have questions about the nutritional content and benefits of seaweed, you can consult a nutritionist.