As we get older, it becomes more and more important that we eat foods rich in the right nutrients. For women, that means prioritizing snacks that support healthy hormone levels, disease prevention, and a healthy weight — just to name a few. While it may feel like there are so many “superfoods” to choose from, seaweed checks all three of these boxes.
Of course, you know seaweed as the algae that grows in the ocean, but it’s also a delicious treat. It’s primarily eaten in Asian countries like Japan and South Korea (if you’re a sushi fan, you’re already onboard), and it’s loaded with nutrients that can boost thyroid health, lower blood sugar, and fight cardiovascular conditions.
This tasty snack may aid in thyroid health.
This delicious green treat benefits the thyroid because it’s rich in iodine — a nutrient the thyroid relies on to make certain hormones. Thyroid problems are significantly more prevalent among women. And things get even trickier during and after menopause, when women are more likely to become iodine deficient.
So, getting more iodine in your diet can help ward off thyroid troubles. In fact, one sheet of nori, the most commonly used seaweed variety, contains roughly 25 percent of the RDI (recommended daily intake) for iodine, and one teaspoon of kelp contains as much as 59 times the RDI for iodine! Most varieties also contain another thyroid boosting nutrient called tyrosine, which is used with iodine in thyroid hormone production.
It may help regulate blood sugar levels.
Seaweed is also being studied for its potential benefits for those struggling with blood-sugar conditions like diabetes. Researchers from one study (which included 60 adult subjects) found that fucoxanthin, a substance found in the snack, may benefit blood sugar control. In addition, the investigators found that even those who were genetically predisposed to insulin resistance (a marker of type 2 diabetes) had improved blood sugar by the end of the trial. Fucoxanthin has even been linked to reductions in body fat!
Another animal study found that alginate, a substance in seaweed, prevented blood sugar spikes after subjects were fed a meal high in sugar. It is believed that alginate could reduce sugar absorption into the bloodstream.
Nutrients in seaweed may reduce your risk of heart disease.
Not only can seaweed help fight thyroid and blood sugar issues, but it could also help ward off age-related conditions like heart disease. Studies have shown that this sea vegetable lowers cholesterol levels, which is important because high cholesterol levels are a major indicator of heart disease. What’s more, seaweed contains fucans — a type of carbohydrate that prevents blood clotting, which can cause heart disease.
With all these benefits and a dense nutrient profile, seaweed might just be one of the healthiest superfoods for the aging woman.
Ready to try it out yourself? You can get your own variety by eating sushi or a seaweed salad in a Japanese restaurant, and you can also purchase roasted seaweed sheets to eat as a savory snack throughout the day. Luckily, supermarkets and health food brands are creating more and more varieties — you can even buy these snacks online! We love the sesame flavored pack from from Annie Chun’s (Buy from Amazon, $22.68).
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