Most of us know that dark leafy greens, fish, and berries are good for us. In fact, these ingredients are often classed as superfoods, which is why so many of us include them in our weekly meal plans.1
One item that might not be on the shopping list is sea moss. It’s an alga (the singular word for algae) that’s making waves in the wellness world, with plenty of health-conscious individuals including it in their recipes.
What is sea moss?
Sea moss, know scientifically as Chondrus crispus is a type of algae or seaweed, which is found on the Atlantic shores of North America, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands. It’s known as a red alga, although it often comes in many colours, most popularly yellow or gold and purple – but you can also find rarer colours such as blue and green.
Its low number of calories and a fat means that sea moss is popular tor its suggested range of health benefits, which may help to support a healthy lifestyle.2 It contains a small amount of protein, as well as offering a variety of vitamins and minerals. It’s also a great source of iodine and antioxidants.3
Throughout this article, you’ll find out everything you need to know about sea moss, including its benefits to your health and why it’s a popular addition to many supplements.
Is sea moss and Irish moss the same thing?
Despite common belief, sea moss and Irish moss are not the same thing.
Often mistaken as different names for the same plant, Irish Moss and Sea Moss are two different plants that individually offer great health benefits.
- Scientifically as Chondrus crispus, sea moss is a type of algae or seaweed
- Its low in calories and fat which makes it a popular choice for its health benefits
- Sea moss and Irish moss are often mistaken for one another, but they are in fact two different plants
Why has sea moss become popular?
Recently, some celebrities have been touting the benefits of sea moss, which could be why it’s gaining popularity. Many of the claims made have suggested that sea moss can support anything from your skin to your immune system, but just how many of these facts have been backed up by science?
- Sea moss has been used for hundreds of years
- It has become more popular recently due to celebrity culture due to its claims of supporting your skin and immune system
Top 10 potential sea moss benefits
Often claimed to be a brand-new superfood, there are some possible health benefits to adding sea moss to your diet. Here are the top 10 potential benefits of sea moss:
Supporting digestive function
Seaweeds are a good source of live bacteria and fibre, which are known to support gut health.4
Supporting thyroid function
Sea moss contains iodine, which is good for your thyroid and potentially providing support for weight loss. However, if you are already taking medication to support your lack of iodine that its probably worth researching this further.5
Sea moss contains iron, which is a great way to support your energy levels. A lack of iron can make you feel tired and lethargic.
Improved immune function
While there is no specific human study, one study into salmon suggested that sea moss can help build the body’s immune response.7
Sea moss has about two times more potassium than an average-sized banana. Potassium is a very important mineral that helps to support mental and emotional health.8
Some studies suggest that sea moss can lower cholesterol and help thin the blood. However, this is not proven and requires more human research.9
Blood sugar management
One study into seaweed found the compound fucoxanthin, which is thought to normalise high blood sugar levels.10
Caribbean natives have been using sea moss as a natural aphrodisiac for many years. Its high zinc content is thought to increase sex hormones that play a key role in libido levels.11
Supports overall health and wellness
Sea moss is a powerful superfood that is full of minerals and nutrients that can help your body run healthy.12
However, it’s worth remembering that there isn’t a lot of research around the benefits of sea moss, and it can’t provide all the nutrients you need. Stick to a healthy and balanced diet and use sea moss as a supplement if you want to.
There are plenty of other plant-based supplements on the market too, so it’s worth doing your research to find the ones that are right for you.
- There are many claims to the health benefits of sea moss, but new research is needed to find out how accurate they are
Who should avoid sea moss?
There’s a lot we don’t know about eating seaweed and how it interacts with our bodies. While it is generally thought that sea moss is safe for most of us, it’s still worth exercising a bit of caution. Choose reputable manufacturers and talk to your doctor if you have any worries.
It’s also a good idea to avoid overeating sea moss. It’s thought that this seaweed is a good source of iodine, but taking too much could influence how your thyroid operates.13 Use moderation when adding this superfood to your diet to be on the safe side.
How to include more sea moss in your diet
There are plenty of ways to add sea moss to your diet. This superfood comes in lots of forms, from powder to whole, and it has a very mild flavour, which makes it a versatile ingredient in your cupboard. You could try adding sea moss to:
- Jams and spreads
- Cakes and baked goods
- Ice cream
- Liquid viagra
Like with all supplements and superfoods, don’t expect a miracle cure from one ingredient. Try your best to keep to a healthy and balanced lifestyle, adding supplements depending on your unique nutritional needs.
Can you take sea moss every day?
Sea moss is a great source of various vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants that may benefit overall health. However, its nutritional structure can fluctuate, and by consuming it in large amounts, you may ingest high levels of iodine or heavy metals, which can be harmful.14
Overall, scientists need to do more research on the health effects of sea moss in humans to determine its value in consumer health products.15
Still, from what we do know already, some of the benefits appear promising based on seaweed and sea algae studies.16
Sea moss in summary
Sea moss, or Chondrus crispus as its scientifically known, is a spiky sea vegetable much like seaweed and sea algae.
It’s a good source of a variety of vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants that may benefit overall health.
However, it has varying nutritional properties, and when using it in significant amounts, you may consume high levels of iodine or heavy metals.
Generally, more research is needed into the claimed health benefits of sea moss in humans, but early effects are promising on studies into similar seaweed and algae.
Last updated: 15 April 2021