Sea moss, also known as Irish moss or red seaweed, is a type of seaweed that grows year-round in tidepools and inlets.
Sea moss is commonly harvested in New England to extract carrageenan, a gelatinous carbohydrate used in baked goods and cosmetics. However, sea moss can also be eaten on its own, and is often used to thicken soups and stews. Let us look at the health benefits of this intertidal seaweed.
Ever since a TV celebrity posted about drinking a sea moss smoothie, the healthy eating community has been bursting with information about this superfood, claiming that sea moss can help with everything from your skin to your immune system. But how many of those benefits are based on science and how many are just hearsay?
The truth is that, while people have eaten sea moss for years, scientists are only now beginning to research its medical benefits. Here is what we know so far.
Immune System It’s an excellent immune boosting food that can be invaluable in the recovery from debilitating illness. Its high vitamin and mineral content make it the perfect food to replenish and revitalize the body after a long battle with disease.
Respiratory Health Being a potent source of potassium chloride, this sea moss dissolves catarrh, phlegm and soothes inflammation of the mucus membranes to prevent congestion, helping to clear out the lungs of any phlegm that builds up with a common cold. Irish moss may help to prevent a common cold from turning into pneumonia and can treat other respiratory problems such as bronchitis. Irish Moss also has powerful antiviral properties, helping to prevent or treat a myriad of disorders such as flu, sore throats, chesty coughs and much more.
Thyroid Health Irish Moss is also extremely high in the trace element iodine – the thyroid gland contains the highest concentration of iodine than any other organ in the body. You cannot make thyroid hormones without sufficient levels of iodine.
Nutrient Dense The human body is made up of 102 minerals and Irish Moss contains a whopping 92 of them. It also provides a wealth of other important nutrients including protein, beta-carotene, B vitamins, pectin, vitamin C and sulphur. One of the most important of these nutrients is a sulphur-containing amino acid called taurine, which is more abundant in Irish moss than any other seaweed – a nutrient that is commonly lacking in vegetarian and vegan diets.
Digestive Support The high fiber content in Irish Moss exerts a mild laxative effect whilst soothing inflamed tissues within the intestinal tract, potentially providing relief from a whole host of intestinal disorders. It’s demulcent properties promote healthy digestion – soothing the membranes of the digestive tract. The gelatin like content helps to ease gastritis, dyspepsia, nausea, heartburn, and indigestion.
Weight Loss Irish Moss is thought to help reduce the appetite due to its ability to absorb moisture, increasing its volume and filling the intestinal tract with a bulking type of material, thus increasing the feeling of fullness. Its gentle laxative effect can promote the elimination process of waste through the gastrointestinal tract. The iodine content can boost metabolism which in turn will increase energy and can help to accelerate weight loss.
One of the reasons sea moss has been touted as a superfood recently is that it’s a vegan, gluten-free source of many nutrients. Some of the nutrients contained in sea moss include:
Vitamin B2 Vitamin B12 Calcium Chromium Magnesium Zinc
Precautions: Irish Moss functions as a thinner. As a result, individuals that are taking anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) should abstain from using Irish Moss in any form.
Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not use Irish Moss as the effects are unknown.