Sesame (also known as sea moss) is an edible sea vegetable that is harvested for its use as a thickening agent in dietary supplements and commercial foods. If you’ve heard of sea moss supplements, you might be wondering how they work and if there are any other ways to consume sea moss.
This article discusses sea moss’s potential advantages and disadvantages and its nutritional content and preparation method.
What is Sea Moss?
When it comes to the scientific community, sea moss (Chondrus crispus) can be considered an alga (seaweed). It can be found in the waters off the rocky coasts of North America and Europe’s Atlantic coasts .
It is a type of edible seaweed that is similar to other seaweeds, algae, and other well-known leafy sea vegetables such as kelp or dulse in appearance and taste.
Sea moss can be found in a variety of colors, including green, yellow, purple, red, brown, and black, among others.
The most common varieties found in warmer waters are generally red in color and are referred to as “Irish moss” because of their appearance [2,3].
Sea Moss Nutrients
Sea moss and other red seaweeds, such as kelp, are high in vitamins and minerals. They contain only a small amount of plant protein and are naturally low in calories, fat, and sugar, as is the case with most fruits and vegetables.
A serving of raw Irish sea moss, which contains four teaspoons (20 grams), provides the following benefits :
- Calories: 10
- Total carbs: 3 grams
- Total fat: 0 grams
- Protein: 0.5 grams
- Fiber: 0.5 grams
- Copper: 3% of the DV
- Zinc: 4% of the DV
- Phosphorus: 2% of the DV
- Magnesium: 7% of the DV
- Iron: 10% of the DV
- Calcium: 1% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Total sugar: 0 grams
Like other sea vegetables, sea moss is a natural source of iodine, a micronutrient essential for the thyroid gland’s health .
Aside from that, red seaweeds, such as sea moss, contain a high concentration of antioxidants, which are compounds that protect cells from disease-causing oxidative stress [5,6].
Sea Moss Uses
The majority of the time nowadays, sea moss is consumed as a source of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to one’s overall health.
It is most frequently found in the form of a supplement. Supplement manufacturers sell it in various forms, including raw, as a gel or powder, and as an oral capsule or gummy bear.
Sea moss supplements are also available for purchase in combination with turmeric, bladderwrack, and burdock root. The companies that sell these supplements claim that the combination is beneficial for overall health and, particularly, for immunity, thyroid function, digestion, and joint health.
Sea moss has a long history of being used to thicken food, dating back thousands of years. It is the only naturally occurring source of carrageenan, which is a thickening agent found in foods such as ice cream, cottage cheese, non-dairy milk, and even infant formula, among other things [7,8].
Sea Moss Potential Benefits
Many people believe that sea moss has medicinal properties, and they use it to this end. However, it’s important to remember that many of the health benefits associated with this sea vegetable are based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific evidence.
More studies have been conducted on the health benefits of seaweed and algae than there have been on the health benefits of this plant. Although they grow in similar environments, some of these benefits may also apply to sea moss, which is a possibility because they grow in similar environments.
On the other hand, scientists must conduct additional research to comprehend its effects fully.
Many potential benefits of sea moss are listed below, but there are several others as well :
- Anecdotal benefits for fertility
- There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that sea moss increases fertility in either men or women. On the other hand, some people use it as an alternative to traditional in vitro fertilization. This is an area in which scientists need to conduct additional research.
- May support thyroid health
- Seaweeds are a good source of iodine, a micronutrient that is necessary for normal thyroid function to function properly .
- May improve blood sugar management
- Several studies have discovered that the seaweed compound fucoxanthin may be beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels. Another study discovered that a compound found in seaweed known as alginate protected pigs from experiencing blood sugar spikes during a feeding session [11,12].
- May promote heart health
- Seaweed has been shown in some studies to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and act as a blood thinner, which may reduce the risk of heart disease in people who consume it regularly [13,14,15].
- It may help support weight loss
- Seaweed and microalgae contain a lot of fiber, which can help you feel fuller for longer periods of time and avoid overeating. Fucoxanthin, a compound found in seaweed, has been shown to help rats lose weight by increasing their fat metabolism [16,17,18].
- May improve gut health
- A high concentration of live bacteria and fiber is found in seaweeds, both of which contribute to a healthy gut microbiome [19,20].
- May support immunity
- In one study, it was discovered that supplementing salmon with seaweed improved immune modulation and response. Scientists will need to conduct additional research to determine whether it can also help humans build their immune systems .
It’s important to remember that, while the potential health benefits this plant are promising, the vast majority of research has been conducted on seaweed in general, rather than sea moss specifically, and that the majority of studies have been conducted on seaweed in general. Furthermore, rather than on humans, the studies were carried out in test tubes or on animals rather than on humans.
As a result, scientists will need to conduct significantly more human research on the health effects of sea moss in the future.
One of the most significant drawbacks of sea moss is the lack of research into its health benefits and nutritional composition, which is one of its primary drawbacks.
It’s difficult to say exactly what it contains and in what quantities because, as with seaweed, the nutritional value varies greatly from one source to another. The growing environment of sea vegetables significantly impacts the vegetables’ micronutrient and fatty acid content .
Even though sea moss and other seaweeds are a good source of iodine, the amount of iodine found in them varies greatly. Because of this, consumers run the risk of consuming too much iodine, which can be harmful [23,24].
It is possible to develop hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid if you consume excessive amounts of iodine in your diet. The thyroid gland, which is located in the front of the neck, is a vital organ. It is in charge of the growth and metabolism of the organism .
Due to the fact that seaweed has been shown to absorb and store large amounts of heavy metals, it is possible that consuming sea moss will increase your risk of ingesting heavy metals .
Despite this, the risk of toxicity appears to be negligible at this time. The concentrations of 20 heavy metals in eight different types of seaweed collected from the waters surrounding Europe and Asia were determined in one study. During their research, the scientists discovered that the levels of heavy metals in the environment did not pose any significant health risks .
Overall, it is probably best to consume it in moderation because of sea moss’s unknown.
Preparation of Sea Moss
Sea moss can be prepared in a variety of ways, depending on the application.
Raw, dried sea moss is available from various health food stores and online retailers. This can be used to make gel at home if you have a blender. This is, without a doubt, the most widely used method of consumption.
To make sea moss gel, first, soak raw sea moss in water overnight, then rinse and blend until smooth with fresh water until it becomes gel-like. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight to gel the flavors together better.
In addition, some supplement companies sell sea moss that has been prepared into a gel, which can be consumed. According to the manufacturers, these products can either be consumed directly or mixed into foods and beverages.
Sea moss can be consumed in a variety of ways, including the following:
- By incorporating it into other meals.
- Sprinkle it on top of yogurt or oats
- Sea moss powder can be added to beverages.
The shelf life of sea moss varies depending on how it was purchased and in what form it was purchased.
Even though scientific evidence to the contrary exists, many advocates believe that prepared sea moss gel should be kept in the refrigerator for several weeks or frozen after it has been prepared.
However, as with most prepared foods and cold storage leftovers, it’s probably best to exercise caution and keep it for 3–5 days to reduce the risk of foodborne illness from contaminating the food supply .
Chondrus crispus, also known as sea moss, is a spiny sea vegetable that is related to seaweeds and sea algae in appearance and function.
It is harvested for the amount of carrageenan it contains. Additionally, it is used as a natural thickener in commercial foods as well as consumer health supplements by various companies. Additionally, you can use it to make a gel at home, or you can easily incorporate it into foods and beverages without any difficulty.
This sea vegetable is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which have been shown to be beneficial to overall well-being. However, the nutritional composition of this food varies, and excessive consumption may result in excess iodine or heavy metals in the body.
More research is required into the health effects of sea moss to determine whether it is effective in consumer health products. Nonetheless, research on seaweed and sea algae suggests that some of the benefits may be worth exploring further.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.