Seaweed benefits – including lower cholesterol levels and diabetes risk reduction

Everyone should consider including so-called superfoods, such as seaweed, in their health regime.

Seaweed is one of the most nutritionally dense plants on the planet and are also the most abundant source of minerals, as they have access to all the nutrients provided by the ocean.

The highly versatile snack, which is a staple of Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisine, is a rich source of proteins known as bioactive peptides – which are also found in milk making it a food type with countless health benefits.

What are some of the health benefits from seaweed?

Hair growth
Sea kelp, which is a type of seaweed, is an extremely nutrient-dense plant known to help with hair loss.

The iodine in sea kelp is great for regulating the thyroid, it’s also great for dandruff and thinning hair.

One of the most powerful properties seaweed has on hair is its ability to promote scalp hydration and mineralisation.

This helps hair to rebuild itself and grow stronger due to its marine extracts.

Heart disease risk reduction
Heart disease can also be caused by excessive blood clotting.

Seaweed contains carbohydrates called fucans, which may help prevent blood from clotting.

Seaweed is known to contain a number of heart-health compounds.

“Seaweeds are a known source of essential fatty acids, which are thought to reduce thrombosis and atherosclerosis — factors important in the reduction of the risk of heart disease,” explains Dr Maria Hayes.

Lowers cholesterol

Animal studies have found that seaweed may help to reduce high cholesterol.

In a study published in Springer Link, the antioxidant and cholesterol properties of red seaweed was further analysed.

The study used rats who were fed a high cholesterol, high-fat diet but were supplemented with seaweed.

Researchers noted “significantly lowered cholesterol levels” from the seaweed supplementation.

Diabetes prevention
Diabetes has become a global epidemic with experts warning that by the year 2040, 642 million people worldwide are expected to have type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

This is where seaweed can come into play with research showing its benefits for those at risk of the condition.

Studies in Japan have found a substance in seaweed known as fucoxanthin may help to improve blood sugar control.

Other research has also found that seaweed help to prevent blood sugar spikes in animals that were fed a high-sugar meal.

It’s thought that alginate may help to reduce the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream.

Experts added that such effects may reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes.