Why we should be eating more Seaweed

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Why we should be eating more Seaweed Seaweed is one of the healthiest, most versatile foods on the planet and offers the widest range of minerals than any other food. Some of the earliest humans that lived along the coastlines consumed alot of seaweed but today many westerners dont include enough of it in their diet. In many countries around the world and especially in New Zealand there is an iodine deficiency. Seaweed is high in iodine which is why it is so important especially for New Zealanders to consume more of this nutrient rich food.

Some of the most popular edible seaweeds include Wakame, Kombu, Nori, Dulse and Kelp. Seaweed is high in Vitamins A, C and B12. Infact it is one of the few vegetable sources high in Vitamin B12 making it a perfect food source for vegetarians and vegans. It is rich in Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc and Iodine.  It is also high in Fibre, Protein and Omega 3's.

Health benefits of seaweed

Thyroid health

Seaweed is one of natures richest sources of iodine and iodine is one of the key ingredients for thyroid health. In Chinese Medicine seaweed has been used to decrease inflammation and swelling in the thyroid. Iodine is a component of the thyroid hormones T4 and T3, both of these are extremely important for humans. Our body adds iodine to tyrosine to make these two hormones. These two hormones regulate metabolism in the body and if the body isn't getting enough iodine it can have negative effects on your health. Common signs of a iodine deficiency include an enlarged thyroid gland, called a goiter. Hypothyroidism is another symptom of an iodine deficiency. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, constipation, weak nails, dry hair and skin and a sensitivity to the cold.

Cancer protection

Seaweed is high in lignans, these are substances that become phytoestrogens. These block the chemical estrogens that can later predispose to cancers. Kelp has been known to stop the binding of estradiol to estrogen receptors and progesterone to progesterone receptors in the body. Estradiol in females acts as a growth hormone for the tissues of the reproductive hormones. Seaweed is a nutritional powerhouse that is high in so many cancer fighting vitamins and minerals. Seaweed also has anti-inflammatory properties and chronic inflammation and stress are both risk factors for the development of cancer.

Digestion

Seaweed is high in fibre, making it beneficial for someone who suffers from constipation.  Fibre prevents constipation, regulates bowel movements and helps the liver flush out toxins by transporting them out of the digestive system.  When someone is eating enough fibre it will bind to toxins and the toxins will be excreted out of the body.  Seaweed also helps to regulate blood sugar levels because of the high fibre content. Fibre slows down the rate at which foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.

My favourite brand of Seaweed is Kiwi Wakame. They have a high quailty wakame which is harvested from Stewart Island and Foveaux Straight in the South Island.

The benefits from Seaweed are countless and it contains the broadest range of minerals than any other food on earth. Sprinkle some seaweed over your salads and stir-frys or use it as a substitute for salt.

Libby Matthews x