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Seaweed is loved by many and loathed by others. It’s undeniably unique in texture, taste, and aroma and is often associated with Asian cuisine. However, it does more for your body and health than meets the eye. The following ten uses for seaweed give you a peek into the incredible benefits of the ocean’s greens. 

Seaweed is a superfood, and for good reason. The slippery underwater green has a chemical composition very similar to that of human blood plasma and is thus great for detoxification and blood purification. It also contains up to ten times more calcium than milk and eight times more than beef. Seaweed is also high in iodine, chlorophyll, and antioxidants.

There are many different kinds of seaweed, including: nori, used for suishi rolls; kelp, used as a supplement or beauty product; dulse, great for seasoning soups and salads; arame, for stir fries, soups, salads, and curries; wakame, best in soups, stocks stews, stir fries, or savory dishes; and kombu, which is a flavor enhancer and often used to make foods more digestible. So, grab seaweed during your next visit at the grocery store and have a feast, and use seaweed in these recommendations:

1. Salad Seasoning

Kelp, which is often sold in shreds, or dulse are a welcome addition to your salad. Dried seaweed packs just enough sodium from being harvested in salt water to give you the satisfaction of something savory whilst adding extra texture and crunch to each bite. You can also soak the seaweed in water for 10 minutes to make the pieces softer, depending on your preference. 

2. Cancer Prevention

Due to seaweed’s high iodine content, it has been linked to the prevention of cancer, including breast cancer. According to one study, the consumption of brown seaweed, which contains the compound fucoidan, prohibits the growth of human cancer cells.

3. Bath Soak

The skin craves vitamin C to stay healthy, and seaweed is a source of just that. About 1 cup of regular seaweed has 15 percent of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. To give your skin an added benefit during bathtime, add seaweed to the mix. Simply take 1/4-pound dried seaweed, let it steep in some hot tea water until softened, pour the seaweed and its tea water into a muslin bag (or stockings) over the tub so that the muslin catches the seaweed and the tea water flows into the tub, tie the top of the bag shut, and put the bag into the bath as well. Soak and enjoy this DIY skin care routine!

4. Facial Skin Care

You may have already seen facial care products that boast seaweed as its selling point, and there is good reason for this. Seaweed does a lot for the skin, and your face may be the first to notice. Seaweed’s vitamins and minerals help to restore moisture levels, revitalize, firm, remove residue, and oxygenate. Whether swimming in the ocean and rubbing your face with seaweed or looking for a new beauty product at the pharmacy, do what you can to get seaweed in contact with your face. The glow will speak for itself!

5. Thyroid Protection

The iodine content of 1/3 of a cup of seaweed surpasses the recommended daily allowance by 2,000 times! Inadequate iodine consumption can lead to an impaired thyroid. Take a seaweed supplement or incorporate more seaweed into your daily diet to keep your thyroid in check. 

6. Fertilizer

Seaweed is packed with trace minerals and potassium, deeming it the perfect addition to compost. Let your plants thrive by utilizing a liquid fertilizer out of seaweed. Follow this seaweed fertilizer tutorial to get started.

7. Salt Replacement

You can skip the salt shaker and instead crumble dried, grated seaweed over your dishes. So, instead of upping your blood pressure with excess salt, depend on seaweed to do the exact opposite — lower blood pressure.

8. Body Tonic

Much in the same way seaweed on the face helps to clear the skin of oils and residue, it does so inside the body. The chlorophyll acts as somewhat of a scrub in the body, helping to move things along and restore internal health. Use it as part of a cleansing routine or daily to boost health.

9. Morning Smoothie

What better way to start the day than with a smoothie full of sunshine? Seaweed is full of chlorophyll and your body could use a dose of it early in the morning. Kelp powder and dulse flakes are the easiest of the sea vegetables to use in a fruit and vegetable smoothie. Simply add 1/2 teaspoon to the regular mix and blend. You can add more or less depending on your needs, but be careful not to add too much, as you may not enjoy the “fishy” outcome. 

10. Hormone Regulation

Seaweed contributes to the proper function of your adrenal glands, because of its vitamin K content. Health adrenals help maintain hormone balance. But be sure to pick the seaweed varieties that actually have vitamin K, including kombu, wakame, bladderwrack, and nori. 

Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina