“The seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake,” a famous animated crab once sang. However, you don’t need to be a musically inclined crustacean to reap the benefits of sea moss, which has a plethora of potential health benefits.
Sea moss, also known as Irish moss, is a type of red algae (or Chondrus crispus). It’s cultivated for its carrageenan, which is used to thicken dairy products like ice cream, but it’s also useable raw and as a supplement in pills, powders, gels, and gummies.
We weigh in on the benefits and drawbacks of sea moss so you can can choose whether this spiny sea vegetable is worth including in your diet.
It promotes heart health
Seaweed is considered a superfood. It contains more fiber than most vegetables, which is a positive thing because fiber has numerous health benefits. It can help lower your cholesterol and lower your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Research suggests that sea moss may help lower bad cholesterol, which is one of the risk factors for heart disease. It has also been shown to help reduce blood pressure, which is another important factor in heart health.
It may aid in weight loss
Remember how high in fiber seaweed is? High-fiber foods are filling, so they may help you avoid overeating.
It contains a lot of iodine.
Iodine is essential for thyroid health, but because your body does not produce it, you must obtain it through diet. (However, most people get enough iodine from dairy products, seafood, and iodized salt.)
It promotes gut health.
Your digestive system is filled to the brim with bacteria, both good and bad. Because gut health is linked to overall health, balancing out those bacteria is an important part of your overall wellness. Algae, including sea moss, contains fiber and live bacteria.
It may improve your immunity.
According to one study, Atlantic salmon that ate sea moss had a more efficient immune response than salmon that did not. Of course, fish and humans have very different bodies, and no similar studies on humans have yet proven the same effect.
Nonetheless, a healthy gut is linked to a healthy immune system. Sea moss is also high in iron and antioxidants, both of which help with immune health.
It can help you gain muscle and recover from your workouts.
Taurine, an amino acid found in sea moss, aids in muscle development. When we exercise, we get little micro-tears in our muscles and amino acids can help with that recovery.
Sea moss also contains about 6 grams of protein per 100 grams, which is an important nutrient for athletes. Just don’t rely solely on sea moss to recover from exercise! You must still ensure that you are getting enough healthy food, hydration, rest, and so on.
Consequences of Taking Sea Moss
Sea moss is generally thought to be healthy, though it contains varying amounts of both good and bad nutrients.
Because sea moss is a product of its environment, its nutritional value is heavily influenced by where it is grown, unfortunately, there’s no way to know exactly what’s in it or how much there is, and one batch may be more potent than the next.
There are two major risks associated with sea moss.
You could overdo it on iodine.
Iodine is a good example of how too much of a good thing can be harmful. In fact, endocrinologists advise against taking iodine supplements unless specifically prescribed by your doctor, as they may harm your thyroid.
Heavy metals are present.
Yikes! Heavy metals are known to be absorbed by seaweed from the water in which it grows. It’s not toxic in small amounts, but you don’t want to consume too much seaweed.
It has a bad taste and texture.
The slimy texture and fishy taste of sea moss are not dangerous, but they are noteworthy.
Raw sea moss tastes earthy and salty, similar to clams and oysters. If you dislike seafood, the flavor of raw sea moss is unlikely to appeal to you. Fortunately, it shouldn’t taste too bad in supplement form.
Aside from the taste, you may be put off by the mouthfeel of sea moss: It has a slick, thick texture similar to aloe vera in gel form. If this bothers you, try a different type of supplement.
Do you need to take sea moss supplements?
One study found that 4 grams of sea moss per day is generally safe — but you should still consult your doctor first, especially if you have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
It’s available in raw form as well as a number of supplement forms, including:
It is entirely up to you which version you choose. It really comes down to personal preference as long as proper dosing instructions are followed.
But, whether you’re just taking sea moss supplements or a combination of them, keep in mind that you can’t out-supplement a bad diet.
Although sea moss may have health benefits, a well-balanced diet will be more beneficial to your body. Do not rely only on supplements.