Seaweed: benefits and side effects

Seaweed (also known as kelp) became popular in Japan, and then, after studying its beneficial properties, it became a widespread product in the markets of many countries.

In ancient times, kelp was used as a food. At that time, it was used as a treatment for goiter, a neoplasm in the thyroid gland. Since then, seaweed has been used in other countries for medical purposes as well. Seaweed was considered a product that gave longevity. It was recommended to include it in the daily diet.


Seaweed is green, light brown or brown in color. Its leaf resembles a feather. Seaweed does not have roots. They are the offshoots – rhizoids. In places with open currents you can find a large accumulation of algae – “kelp belt”. Also seaweed is grown in specially created industrial conditions.

Composition and calories

High fat content per 100 gr. of seaweed

  • fats – 0.56 g;
  • protein – 1,68 gr;
  • Carbohydrates – 9,57 g.

According to there are 25 kcal in 100 g of seaweed.

Kelp is a low-calorie product. It is suitable for those who adhere to the basics of proper nutrition. In addition, kelp is rich in vitamins and minerals.

The benefits of seaweed

Seaweed is not related to regular kale. Laminaria is a brown algae that grows in the sea. Sea kale is valuable for its high iodine content. It also contains a lot of micro and macronutrients, which are necessary for normal functioning of the human body. Regular consumption of this product in food improves the general well-being.

  1. Kelp contains vitamins A, B, C, E and D. The product is indicated for use in the prevention of avitaminosis.
  2. Seaweed contains enterosorbents. These substances help remove toxins from the human body.
  3. Regular consumption of an acceptable amount of seaweed helps to restore metabolic processes in the body. This is provided by fucoxanthin, a substance that speeds up the metabolism.
  4. Fucoxanthin also helps to lower blood sugar levels. The consumption of seaweed is shown to diabetics, as well as those who are predisposed to this disease.
  5. Due to its antioxidant content, it prevents the aging of organs and tissues.
  6. Seaweed in the diet helps to improve intestinal peristalsis. Fiber in kelp helps to normalize stools.
  7. Seaweed can be consumed by pregnant women. Bromine contained in it has a positive effect on the psychological state of a pregnant woman. Folic acid is necessary for the normal formation and development of fetal organs.
  8. Kelp is useful in diseases of the thyroid gland. It should be consumed by people with iodine deficiency, children growing up, pregnant women. The World Health Organization recommends to consume 120-150 mkg of iodine per day. According to Rospotrebnadzor, the average Russian consumes only 40-80 micrograms of the element. While 100 g of seaweed contains 300 micrograms of iodine.
  9. Thanks to the fatty acids contained in seaweeds, it is possible to avoid atherosclerosis.
  10. The consumption of seaweed has a positive effect on the formation of the body’s defenses and immune response. It is especially useful during the period of seasonal viral diseases, as well as during the recovery period.
  11. The iron in kelp is necessary for the prevention of anemia. Sea kelp should be included in the diet of those who do not eat meat products. Vegetarians do not get enough iron. Because of this you can have iron deficiency anemia. This disease is characterized by a deterioration in general well-being, increased fatigue and disruption of sleep. In addition, there are problems with the skin, suffering hair and nails.
  12. Often the product is recommended by nutritionists for obesity. Because of its low calorie content seaweed can be an effective component of the diet. Sea kelp also goes well with other vegetables. Dishes with her addition can diversify the usual diet.
  13. Magnesium in the algae has a positive effect on the nervous system. Daily use of kelp increases efficiency and brain activity. The risk of cramps and the occurrence of spasms is reduced.

Seaweed Side Effects

Seaweed not only has beneficial properties, but has a number of side effects:

  1. It is not recommended to abuse kelp for people who have hyperfunction of the thyroid gland. Excessive amounts of iodine from food will only aggravate the situation.
  2. Seaweed can have a laxative effect on the human body. Therefore, you should not use it for people with disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. In the presence of any diseases of the abdominal cavity should consult a dietitian.
  3. Kelp can cause a food allergic reaction. This is a manifestation of the individual characteristics of the body. In such cases, you should immediately take an antihistamine and consult a doctor for medical help.
  4. It is important where the kelp grows. The product may contain toxins that are dangerous to human health. If symptoms of poisoning occur, call an ambulance immediately.

See also: My Stomach is Not Digesting Food Properly

How to choose and store seaweed

Nowadays, you can find seaweed on sale in different forms. There are dried, canned and fresh kelp on store shelves.

When buying kelp in canned form, pay attention to the expiration date listed on the package. Study the composition carefully. It should not contain thickeners and flavor enhancers. Avoid buying and eating the product with the addition of various sauces. Mayonnaise and other additives change the taste of seaweed and can contribute to the fact that it quickly goes bad. Give preference to transparent packages, so you can judge the color of the seaweed and brine. It should not be cloudy and with foreign impurities. Also the place of seaweed production plays an important role. It is desirable that these are the regions that are close to the place of kelp extraction.

The seaweed itself is useful and necessary for human body. But that form, which can be found on the shelves of stores, can be detrimental to health. For example, in the composition of pickled seaweed you can notice vinegar and other preservatives. These substances can have a negative impact on health and the general state of the person. Therefore, it is better to use kelp without these ingredients.

When buying dried seaweed, evaluate the appearance of the product. The surface of the kelp should be smooth and have a dark green color. The plates of dried seaweed should not be glued together. Otherwise it is an indication that the product has been stored incorrectly, packaging is damaged and moisture has got there.

Dried seaweed can be stored for two years in an airtight container. After opening it, it is better to put kelp in a dark and dry place. You should also consume the product for a few weeks.

After opening the package, it is better to use the canned seaweed immediately in food and not to store for a long time.

Fresh seaweed should be stored in the refrigerator in a container. It can also be frozen, if you do not plan to use the whole kelp at once.

Seaweed dishes

seaweed dish

Seaweed is suitable for making various salads. It combines well with other foods. It can be used together with vegetables, seafood, rice, eggs and meat.

Seaweed salad


  • Canned seaweed – 100 g;
  • sesame – 1 tsp;
  • Tomatoes – 1 piece.

Method of preparation:

Place the seaweed in a bowl. Add the sesame seeds. Cut tomato into rings or cubes. Mix everything.
Garnish with lettuce leaves.

Seaweed and carrot salad


  • seaweed – 100 g;
  • carrot – 100 gr;
  • 100 gr cucumber.

Method of preparation:

Wash the cucumber and carrots, dry the vegetables. Peel carrots and cut them into julienne strips. Shred the fresh cucumber in the same way. Mix everything with canned seaweed. If the kelp was in oil, then the salad dressing is not required. Otherwise, you can pour one teaspoon of vegetable oil over the salad.

Seafood and seaweed salad


  • Seafood (shrimp, squid) – 200 g;
  • sweet pepper – 100 gr
  • cucumber – 100 gr;
  • sea cabbage – 100 gr;
  • salt – to taste.

Method of preparation:

Boil the shrimp for 3-7 minutes in salted water. Do the same with a squid, but boil it for up to 5 minutes. Cool the seafood. Cut the calamari into rings. Cut the cucumber into julienne strips and chop the bell bell pepper. Mix everything with canned seaweed.

Rolls with red fish


  • Dried seaweed – 3 sheets;
  • rice – 100 gr;
  • cucumber – 1 pc;
  • Lightly salted red fish fillet – 100 g;
  • 100 gr soft cheese.

Method of cooking:

Boil the rice beforehand. Cool it. Cut the salty red fish fillet into strips. Cut cucumber in the same way having cleaned it from green skin beforehand. Soak a piece of seaweed in water so that it won’t break while curling. Then put a thin layer of rice on a sheet. Put fish, cucumber and soft cheese on top. Roll everything up tightly and refrigerate. Then divide everything into portions and serve with soy sauce.


As you have been able to see, seaweed is very useful and in most cases you will do the right thing if you add this wonderful product to your diet. The exceptions are certain health conditions or intolerance to the product.

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