Seaweed is food that often used as an ingredient in Asian foods, especially Japanese, Korean and Chinese. The savoury taste and low caloric content make it popular. It turns out that aside from tasting good, seaweed also contains various health benefits. As quoted from Healthline, here are the health benefits of seaweed:
- Improving thyroid function, the thyroid gland in the body plays a role in hormone secretion to help control growth, energy production, and the repair of damaged cells. The performance of the thyroid is strongly influenced by the presence of iodine in the body. Iodine contained in seaweed is believed to help improve thyroid function. Kelp is a type of seaweed which contains the highest amount of iodine. One teaspoon of dried kelp may contain 3.5 grams of iodine.
- Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, seaweed is rich in nutrients and is a source of protein, carbohydrates, fibre, and polyunsaturated fatty acids that are good for the body. Besides being able to add some taste to the food, seaweed may also increase the intake of vitamins and minerals to our body. Seaweed also contains vitamins C, B12, A, E, K, iron, sodium, calcium, magnesium and folate. Antioxidants contained in seaweed, such as flavonoids and carotenoids can also protect the body from free radicals.
- Maintaining intestinal health, bacteria in the intestine are known to play an important role in maintaining overall body health. The fibre contained in seaweed may become a food source for the “good” bacteria in the intestine. Intestinal bacteria are responsible for breaking the fibre into compounds that can improve intestinal health and the immune system.
- Helps reduce weight, fibre contained in seaweed may make you feel 'full' longer due to its long digestive process. Also, seaweed is also low in calories. One tablespoon of spirulina only contains 20 calories.
- Maintaining heart health, according to the results of some studies, seaweed may help reduce cholesterol levels in the blood due to its ability to bind bile acids and salt in the body. Seaweed is also known to contain carbohydrates called fucan which can prevent blood clots.
Text by Anggie Triana
Stock photos from Getty Image
- Health Line - 7 Suprising Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed (2018). https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-seaweed, December 13, 2018.
- Medical News Today - What are the benefits of seaweed (2018). https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323916.php, December 13, 2018.