Seaweed: Superfood or Superfad?

In recent years seaweed has been getting a lot of attention, particularly in western countries.  It is being hailed as a miracle food that can give you untold health benefits.  But is this really the case or is the seaweed trend just another health fad?

Well to answer this question we have to go back a few thousand years.  There are records that show that seaweed has been a staple part of the diet in Japan since as early as 1000 BC.  There is also evidence to suggest that it has been consumed in China since 2700 BC, and that it was even prepared as a luxury food for special figures and even kings.

In Europe, we know that seaweeds were used for medicine by the Ancient Greeks and Romans.  Fast forward a thousand years, and we find seaweed use in Ireland and Scotland since as easily as the year 1200 AD.

In Ireland and Scotland it has a long history of being used for food as well as fertiliser for crops, and to feed to animals.  Today there is a strong industry built on selling seaweed out of the UK, and seaweed form Scotland and Ireland is recognised all around the world. 

So then we can see that seaweed has a long history of use by humans throughout the ages.  But does it actually pose any health benefits?

Well, recent research has identified that seaweed is rich in the naturally occurring mineral Iodine.  Iodine is important for maintaining a healthy thyroid function, as well as having other benefits to the body.

On top of this seaweed has had extensive research carried out on it due to its anti-cancer properties.  There are several compounds in seaweed that have been found to be particularly anti-cancerous, and ongoing research and testing of these compounds may prove to be a scientific breakthrough if it can be utilised in cancer treatment.