Top 5 Seaweed Benefits For Women’s Health

This vegetable of the sea is rich in iodine and antioxidants. Learn more about seaweed benefits and how it can keep your health in check.

Seaweed feature min scaled

Seaweed benefits aren’t exclusive to women, but they certainly can help support various areas of women’s health.

For example, pregnant women may be at risk of iodine deficiency as they require a higher iodine intake.

This group of women may benefit by adding more seaweed to their diet to prevent iodine deficiencies.

Seaweed may also alleviate menopause symptoms, aid in weight loss, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Read on to learn more.

Seaweed Benefits, According to TCM

Each type of consumable seaweed provides specific health benefits. Kombu (brown seaweed) is a common ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) known as Kun Bu and Hai Zao.

In addition, this ancient system of medicine also utilizes nori (red seaweed), wakame (green seaweed), and hijiki seaweed (dark brown seaweed).

“From the perspective of TCM, seaweed can soften masses, resolve phlegm, remove heat, resolve dampness and promote water circulation,” explains TCM physician Lim Sock Ling.

It can treat goiter, feelings of heaviness or obstruction in the chest, and edema in the lower limbs,” Physician Lim continues.

Seaweed Benefits for Women

Women can benefit from menopause support, weight management, and reduced risk of heart disease by adding more seaweed to their diet.

Seaweed nutrition comprises macronutrients, micronutrients, and bioactive components that are highly beneficial for women’s health.

These include iodine, iron, folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium, amino acids called tyrosine, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. 

It’s also high in fiber to support digestive help, aid in weight loss, stabilize insulin levels, and reduce sugary food cravings.

Here are some other seaweed benefits for women:

1. May reduce the risk of cancer

Multiple studies have demonstrated the algae’s ability to reduce the risk of cancer.

Specifically, these studies found that the anti-carcinogenic activities of seaweed and various seaweed-derived compounds could inhibit cancer growth invasiveness and metastasis. The consumption of seaweed can also help to induce apoptosis or inhibit the growth rate of cancer cells

The consumption of seaweed can also help to induce apoptosis or inhibit the growth rate of cancer cells.

A study by the University of California shows that seaweed can potentially lower a potent sex hormone called estradiol in animals.

It’s important to note that estradiol levels are likely to remain constant during the early stages of a woman’s menstrual cycle.

However, the levels of this hormone will peak right before ovulation, triggering a division of breast cells with DNA mutations.

It will also cause new mutations, putting a woman at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. 

2. Provides support for menopause and post-menopause symptoms

Menopause can cause women to develop thyroid issues or suffer a reduced production of thyroid hormones. Post-menopausal women, meanwhile, are likely to develop osteoporosis.

Both groups of women may benefit by increasing their intake of seaweed. The abundance of iodine in these algae can help to ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings.

Studies also indicate that seaweed consumption contributes to a high intake of dietary minerals and sufficient calcium absorption to prevent osteoporosis.

It’s also beneficial for improving a woman’s immunity and metabolism and alleviating symptoms of an impaired thyroid.

“When your thyroid is functioning at a low level, you may experience fatigue, muscle weakness, palpitations, sensitivity to sunlight, weight gain, and goiter,” says physician Lim.

3. Provides a good source of healthy fats and antioxidants

Seaweed is packed full of antioxidants, protein, enzymes, and omega 3 fatty acids with numerous health benefits.

Seaweed contains omega-3 fatty acids, which demonstrate cardioprotective effects, including anti-inflammatory, anti-arrhythmic, antioxidant, and vasodilating properties.

Omega 3 fatty acids have also been shown to improve mood and reduce the symptoms of depression.

The antioxidant properties of seaweed can make unstable substances in the body – also known as free radicals – to be less reactive.

Moreover, studies show that seaweed nutrition also helps reduce triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels in the body.

This prevents weight gain and obesity-related complications like hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

Fucoxanthin — an antioxidant abundant in brown seaweed — can also help lower a woman’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels.

Likewise, using a herbal formulation that’s rich in seaweed-derived zeaxanthin may also improve retina health.

4. Supports weight loss

Seaweed contains a lot of fiber, which can help to keep a person satiated for longer by delaying the body’s stomach-emptying process.

Choosing to snack on seaweed during or in-between meals. This will reduce your urge to binge eat or snack on unhealthy foods.

Seaweed also contains agars, carrageenans, and fucoidans. These can enhance bowel movement and work as prebiotics that feed good bacteria to the gut.

5. May reduce the risk of death from heart disease

Cardiovascular disease can be deadly for women. In fact, it’s one of the leading causes of death in American women, killing 301,280 women in 2019 alone. This works out to be about 1 in every 5 female deaths.

One study found that seaweed intake was inversely associated with the risk of ischemic heart disease.

Additionally, as noted above, seaweed may help lower risk factors for heart disease, including hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol, and diabetes.

Seaweed Alternatives and Safety Precautions

Unfortunately, there are concerns about the elevated levels of metal and iodine in seaweed. These elements may affect women during pregnancy and lactation.

A study suggested that hypothyroidism was apparent in infants that absorbed a high amount of iodine through breast milk.

Women with kidney disease or who are consuming blood-thinning medications such as warfarin should also seek advice from a healthcare provider before taking seaweed.

Women who need to avoid the algae due to various health reasons, such as thyroid diseases, kidney disease, or heart disease, or are consuming blood-thinning medications can consider other alternatives, such as:

  • Flaxseed
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Tofu
  • Black fungus
  • Edamame beans
  • Green leafy vegetables

Iodine-deficient pregnant women can still consume seaweed as part of their dietary intake.

But if you cannot consume seaweed, then you can still get many of the same nutrients in your diet by supplementing with a high-quality enzyme supplement made from whole fruits and vegetables.

Seaweed nutrition includes a ton of essential vitamins and minerals. These are crucial to your well-being and empower you to live a healthy and fulfilling life.

Consult your primary care practitioner, a nutritionist, or a TCM practitioner to learn how to incorporate seaweed into a well-rounded diet.

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