4 Benefits of Dried Seaweed Snacks

4 Benefits of Dried Seaweed Snacks

Some consider seaweed one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is a sea vegetable and grows along rocky shorelines throughout the globe used abundantly in many Asian recipes. Seaweed is found in several colors of red, green, brown and black but the most impressive thing about seaweed is that it is highly nutritious. 

Recently, seaweed has made its way into the American mainstream beyond just being wrapped around rice and fish in sushi dishes at your local Japanese restaurant. Now you can buy it in the supermarket as a dried seaweed snack you can eat on the run which certainly surpasses so many other subpar choices. 

Check out these 4 benefits of dried seaweed snacks and you may be surprised as it becomes one of your favorite grab-n-go eats. 

Thyroid Food

Your thyroid is one of the major players in maintaining a variety of systemic functions that includes cellular repair, energy production, bodily growth, reproduction health, weight control, temperature regulation and so much more. When your thyroid is weak you can experience fatigue, weight gain and even swelling in the neck. 

Seaweed can help your thyroid as it has the ability to absorb iodine from the ocean and iodine is a major nutrient needed to maintain a healthy thyroid. Plus seaweed also contains the amino acid tyrosine which is another essential thyroid nutrient. 

According to Healthline,

The recommended dietary intake (RDI) for iodine is 150 mcg per day. These are the amounts of iodine in varying seaweeds:

  • Nori: 37 mcg per gram (25% of the RDI)
  • Wakame: 139 mcg per gram (93% of the RDI)
  • Kombu: 2523 mcg per gram (1,682% of the RDI)

Talk to your doctor about your iodine level and if seaweed may be a good addition to your diet.

Antioxidant Powerhouse

Like most land vegetables, seaweed scores high in the antioxidant category. Antioxidants are compounds that can scavenge your system to attract and remove free radicals, the dangerous substances that can lead to disease. 

In a study of the biosynthesis of brown seaweed carotenoids (compounds that give plants color) called fucoxanthin, by research out of the Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Japan it was concluded that,

“Growing evidence from animal studies shows that fucoxanthin has great potential in the prevention of diseases or management of human health.”

Fucoxanthin, significantly found in the brown algae called wakame, has been shown to: 

  • Contain 13.5 times the antioxidant capacity when compared to vitamin E
  • Have the capacity to protect cell membranes better than vitamin A
  • Deliver into the system more efficiently when consumed with fats

Hits the Gut Good

Maintaining a healthy gut is essential to systemic homeostasis. This is because your gut is ground zero for your immune system and seaweed may help.

Research of the ‘Digestibility of sulfated polysaccharide from the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum and its effect on the human gut microbiota in vitro’ which was published in the International Journal of Biological Macromolecules reported,

“In this study, the in vitro digestibility and fermentability of polysaccharides from the brown seaweed Ascophyllum nodosum (AnPs) were examined, and the effects of AnPs on gut microbiota were determined using high-throughput sequencing technology…These results suggest that AnPs have potential uses as functional food components to improve human gut health.”

As seaweed increases the growth of ‘good bacteria’ in the gut it is known as a pre-biotic and the higher concentration of good bacteria you have, the more your system will function optimally. In addition, seaweed contains between 25%-75% of fiber per dry weight which is considerably higher than fiber found in fruits and vegetables. Fiber is another major player in promoting gut health.

Weight Loss Appetite Suppressant

As seaweed contains high fiber, snacking on this nutritious food could be significantly useful when it comes to losing weight. Not only is this fiber a no-calorie food, it is able to slow digestion making one feel fuller, longer. 

A study of seaweed and weight management published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications cited research done at the Laboratory of Bio-functional Material Chemistry, Division of Marine Bioscience, Graduate School of Fisheries Sciences, Hokkaido University, Japan which stated that,

“In the fucoxanthin-fed mice, WAT [white adipose tissue] weight significantly decreased and UCP1 [uncoupling protein 1] was clearly expressed in the WAT…This result indicates that fucoxanthin [brown seaweed] up-regulates the expression of UCP1 in WAT, which may contribute to reducing WAT weight.”

It turns out that brown seaweed is capable of increasing the expression of certain proteins which are able to metabolize fats. 

These 4 benefits of dried seaweed snacks may have you reaching for the next pack you see in the grocery aisle so you can benefit too. It is one of the most nutritious, natural snacks you are bound to enjoy.