Summertime Delicacy: Seaweeds

The New Jersey coastline – as one example – is abundant with beautiful, emerald-green sheets of seaweed called sea lettuce. One can also find a lot of bladderwrack. And, as foraging becomes more popular among natural health enthusiasts, those living near the shore take full advantage of seaweeds, using them in a variety of dishes.

Edible seaweeds, such as those found in the unique dietary supplement Fucosea Family, are bursting with body-benevolent vitamins, minerals and other nutraceuticals. Seaweeds are typically more wholesome in nutrient profiles and nutrient-dense than land counterparts. They are outstanding sources of micronutrients such as zinc, selenium, iron, calcium, folate and magnesium – and very important – one of the best sources of iodine, a mineral necessary for healthy functioning of the thyroid gland, which regulates metabolism, among other governing activities.

However, when it comes to iodine, too much can cause thyroid issues, so you need to ensure your thyroid levels are within healthy ranges. One study showed that women who regularly ate a popular seaweed called kombu had high TSH and low T3 and T4; when they reduced their intake, their thyroid levels balanced out.

Seaweeds also contain omega-3 essential fatty acids DHA and EPA, as well as carotenoids (such as fucuoidan and fucoxanthin) and other anxioxidants. And some seaweeds can help promote healthy weight management.

Eating kelp, one of the most available types of seaweed, has been shown in one study to help people lose weight. Research published in Food Chemistry showed that people who ate the common seaweed showed a reduction in fat absorption by as much as 75%; the team showed that the alginate’s ability to block a significant amount of activity of the digestive enzyme pancreatic lipase was responsible for accelerating fat and weight loss.

Further, a meta-analysis (review of studies) of 100 studies investigating seaweeds’ benefits on human health (published in the American Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry) found that seaweeds may benefit cardiovascular function by supporting healthy blood pressure levels.

Depending upon the type of seaweed, you can use them in salads, in grain sides such as quinoa, in sauces, as part of dry rubs for barbeque, and in smoothies. A key aspect that seaweeds bring to the table, so to speak, is its primarily umami taste.

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