Weeding Out Seaweed Benefits

Seaweed offers many heart healthly compounds

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Under the sea where the sea monsters live, the seaweed is always greener. Not only is it greener, seaweed might also have nutritional compounds to prevent heart disease.

Researchers believe seaweed has more benefits beyond skin and hair care. It may look disgusting floating out in the sea, but it might also help lower your risks for heart disease.

"Try some seaweed salad, your heart will thank you."

Michelle Tierney and Maria Hayes, Ph.D., both from the Memorial University in Newfoundland, studied the nutritional quality and developed methods to separate total essential fatty acids (lipids) from different species of seaweed.

Seaweed has been known to contain many heart health compounds which include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. ACE inhibitors are drugs primarily used to treat high blood pressure. Antioxidants are natural substances found in many fruits and vegetables that help protect the cell from damage.

More importantly, essential fatty acids found in seaweed have the potential to reduce atherosclerosis (plaque buildup) and thrombosis (blood clot) – both of these are important factors in lowering risk for heart disease, Hayes comments.

The researchers studied eight different species of Irish and Newfoundland seaweed. They found that Pelvetia canaliculata, an Irish seaweed, has the highest percentage of total lipids. Following that species, Ascophyllum nodosum, another Irish species, had the next highest percentage.

More research is being done to determine bioactive compounds that might be available for separation.

Diane Shiao, P.T., M.S.P.T., D.P.T., says, "Seaweed is generally a healthy snack filled with nutritious minerals. Eating seaweed might not be for everyone like people who have a condition such as hyperthyrodism. In these cases, it would be wise for the person to consult a physician about the consumption of seaweed."

Shiao suggests, "The snacks can vary from seaweed covered rice chips to individually wrapped roasted seaweed. Seaweed holds sushi rolls together and is usually in miso soup."

Pick up seaweed snacks at a local grocery store like Whole Foods. Liz Burkhart, senior media relations specialist at Whole Foods Market Global Headquarters, suggests:

  • Seas Gift Roasted Seaweed
  • Eden Foods brand Eden Marin
  • Emerald Cove Organic Nori Pacific
  • Eden Foods Eden Plums, Whole Pickled Ume
  • Eden Foods Agar Agar Flakes
  • Eden Foods Eden Shiitake Sesame Seaweed
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
September 14, 2011
Last Updated:
September 21, 2011