Wondering about the ever trending benefits of sea moss? Whether they are chugging chagaccinos or slathering on skin creams, celebrities and Instagram influencers have a knack for catapulting foods, products, and services into the collective consciousness. Sometimes it’s merely a trend that lasts about as long as it takes to post #healthyliving. Other times, it’s something worth keeping around long after your IG story expires.
Such may be the case with sea moss, the latest superfood making a buzz among superstars like Cardi B. and Erykah Badu. But it was the mother of all influencers, Kim Kardashian, who generated renewed interest in this gift from the sea when she shared a photo of her go-to sea moss smoothie with her millions of Instagram followers. While her fans may just be discovering the many benefits sea moss is believed to deliver, the truth is that people all over the world have been utilizing the stuff for centuries in everything from recipes to skin care.
What is Sea Moss?
The name may conjure up images of the green, fuzzy stuff you see on trees, but Sea Moss is actually a type of algae found along rocky coastlines in parts of Europe and North America. Small and spiky-looking, this vegan, gluten-free seafood is rich in nutrients, including a whopping 92 of the 102 essential minerals the body needs to function. Add to that impressive number the fact that it is also low in fat and calories and full of fiber and protein. It almost sounds too good to be true—and maybe it is. While there have been plenty of studies on seaweed and its effect on the body, according to the Cleveland Clinic, there is still very little research on the specific health benefits of sea moss.
Why Should I Take Sea Moss?
Sea-ing is believing, but while the jury is still out on the medical specifics, there is plenty of evidence to support the overall benefits of the minerals found in sea moss. In other words, don’t throw it back in the ocean just yet! For starters, there’s that fiber we mentioned earlier. Fiber keeps you feeling full, which means that adding sea moss to your daily routine could help you lose a few extra pounds. Because it contains live bacteria, sea moss may aid in keeping your gut healthy, which has been linked to better overall health in general. The amino acids and protein found in sea moss have been shown to aid in muscle building and recovery. Like anything, though, too much of a good thing is sometimes just too much.
“Sea moss may be a good addition to your regular diet and supplement regimen, but it might not be something you need to take every day,” cautions Angela Aladjem, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist at My Nutrition Studio. She says that although it can be a good way to make your favorite smoothie creamier while bumping up the fiber, mineral, and vitamin content, sea moss also contains a high amount of iodine, which can affect thyroid function. That’s why it is essential to take it exactly as directed, usually no more than approximately one to two tablespoons daily.
“I would advise anyone on thyroid medication to consult with their doctor about regular use of sea moss to make sure it is right for them.”
Additional Sea Moss Benefits
Sea moss isn’t just about gut health and weight loss; there are other health benefits associated with it. Among these are its ability to work as a natural decongestant because it helps to dissolve mucus in our respiratory system. This helps our body fight off infections and helps those with allergies or a cold or flu feel fewer effects for less time.
Sea moss is also used as a mood booster because it has high levels of potassium, which are often associated with better mental health and less depression. A typical serving of sea moss actually has more potassium than 2 bananas, so it’s a go-to source to boost our levels as well as our mood.
How Do I Take Sea Moss?
Benefits from sea moss can be as easy as a taking a supplement. Sea moss is available at most health food stores or online retailers in gel, pill, or powder form. Gel tends to be the most popular method because of its milder taste and the fact that it contains the most nutrients, thanks to the way it is formulated. It is also easier to incorporate into your favorite recipes like soup, tea, and the famous Kim K. smoothie.
“The cool part of using it in cooking is that you get the taste of the ocean without using any protein,” says Elwood’s Shack Chef and Owner Tim Bednarski. He also mentions that sea moss is an excellent binding and thickening agent. “It’s also a healthier alternative to cream and butter.”
One of Bednarski’s favorite ways to use it is in this Roasted Red Pepper and Asparagus Soup:
- 4 large red bell peppers
- 1-2 oz of sea moss
- 1 cup vegetable stock or clam juice
- 1 cup cauliflower rice
- 1 cup blanched asparagus tips 1/2 “cut on the bias
- Fresh julienne basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Roast the whole red peppers on a sheet pan in the oven at 450 until they char and look yummy.
- Remove the peppers from the oven. Place them on a large platter and cover them with plastic wrap while they cool.
- Once cooled, remove the seeds and skins from the peppers (sometimes this is easier under running water).
- Rough chop the peppers and place them in a pot with sea moss and vegetable stock. Bring to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Puree with an emersion blender, adding salt and pepper to taste.
- Ladle into a bowl and add basil and asparagus tips. Serve with cauliflower rice on the side.
With so many options on the market, make sure you choose the highest quality sea moss with no synthetics. Wildcrafted has the most nutrients, but if it isn’t harvested correctly, or if it is overharvested, it can take a toll on the environment. Farm-raised is more sustainable but less nutrient dense. Shop around, read ingredient lists, and ask questions. And, as with any supplement or dietary change, start small and always consult your physician first. While no supplement can take the place of a poor diet, incorporating sea moss into your healthy lifestyle may help you “sea” some overall benefits.
Get the Benefits of Sea Moss