SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF EATING SEAWEED

The sea is a source of life, pleasure and tranquility. It is also, of course, a source of beauty. You don't need to dive deep to admire the colors and shapes that abound underwater. Seaweed, like the rest of the marine vegetation, is an example of this beauty and wonder.

What many may not know is that the colors of seaweed depend on the amount of light that reaches the area of the sea in which they grow. Thus, blue and green seaweed are those found near the surface, the brown ones inhabit places somewhat deeper attached to the rocks and the red ones are those that grow in the areas much deeper and with much less light. 

Algae concentrates all the riches of the ocean: vitamins, proteins, amino acids, trace elements, iodine, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, zinc among others. That is why it is not surprising that seaweed is used in many different fields ranging from medicine, dietetics, pharmacology, agriculture or aesthetics.

In the world of gastronomy, even though Asian countries such as Korea, Japan and China have traditionally been consuming seaweed for centuries, the Western world has taken a bit longer to introduce seaweed into our diet. More recently seaweed has gone from being a rarity to being bought in supermarkets and found as an ingredient in the dishes from restaurants across the nation.

Compared with terrestrial food plants, seaweed is significantly richer in proteins, carbohydrates and especially in minerals and trace elements. That is why they are so beneficial for things like:

1. Cardiovascular Disease: The substances present in seaweed can help reduce your cholesterol and also have certain anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties. In addition, the oils present in these plant species are a good source of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids known for their cardioprotective effects.

2. Weight Control: Seaweed is a great source of fiber. Fiber helps controlling weight by prolonging gastric emptying, which results in an increase in the feeling of fullness and therefore, in a lower intake of food.

3. Allies of Diabetics: some evidence suggests that seaweed could regulate insulin and glucose levels in patients with type II or obsessive diabetes mellitus.

4. Strengthen Your Digestive System: the microflora of our gastrointestinal tract is essential to enjoy good health. It has been proven that some components in seaweed help with the survival of these bacterial flora. To some, it is even considered to be a probiotic.

- María Álvarez Pérez

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