Sea Moss health benefits and side effects. Why this superfood is good for your health and how to use it? Are see moss and carrageenan the same thing?
These are the topics that we will cover in this article.
What is Sea Moss?
Sea moss is a generic name given to a collection of different species of seaweed, which we go into deeper looking at information around Irish Moss Seaweed and the confusion there.
It is typically known by several different botanical names, which has proven to make the matter a bit confusing. This is particularly the case if you’re wanting to identify the authentic product.
Eucheuma cottonii, Gracilaria, and Chondrus Crispus are some of the more popular species commercially available on the market today. They are all referred to as ‘sea moss’ but they are very different from each other.
The species, Eucheuma Cottonii and Gracilaria grow abundantly in warmer waters, typically the:
- Java Sea
- Celebes Sea
- Solomon Sea
- The Caribbean Sea, and
- the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans
The waters that Eucheuma Cottonii prefers are by no means still. They are normally consistently flowing open ocean currents, and they tend to be much clearer waters too.
While Chondrus Crispus is a species of seaweed which is rarer, by comparison, it tends to grow more slowly in the cooler waters of the Northern Atlantic.
Health Benefits of Sea Moss
Enhances Thyroid Function
Irish moss is a potent stimulator of thyroid function. Studies show that this benefit is thanks to the way sea moss enhances an important hormone known as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
TSH is naturally released from the pituitary and acts directly on the thyroid gland, leading to the synthesis and release of thyroid hormone. As a result, it can be used to manage a variety of conditions affecting the thyroid such as decreased production of TSH.
Irish sea moss also contains iodine and selenium, both of which are essential to the synthesis of thyroid hormones. It is these precursors that provoke the release of thyroid-stimulating hormone in the first place.
Eases Joint Pain
The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties naturally found in sea moss provides an effective remedy for joint pain.
Joint pain relief by sea moss is thanks to potassium iodide and potassium bromide, which are natural components of moss plants.
There are many metabolic regulators in the body, most of which are hormones. In this category, thyroid hormones play a key role.
As mentioned previously, Irish sea moss significantly boosts the synthesis of thyroid hormone due to its rich iodine content, thereby boosting metabolism as well.
Not only that, but the iron content of this red algae facilitates rapid and efficient transport of oxygen to tissues to help meet metabolic demands. Iron also augments the metabolic activity of certain enzymes responsible for digestion.
Supports Immune System
Good news during flu season – Irish moss also contains bioactive compounds with potent antimicrobial effects. The most notable are sulfated polysaccharides (SP).
As to the nature of its effects on the immune system, this study showed that Irish moss supports the three major subcategories of immunity:
- cell-mediated immunity
- humoral immunity
- immune-related gene responses
According to the study, it does so by increasing the count of almost all blood cell types. On top of that, it supports certain physiologic barriers to infection such as lysozymes and defensins.
Supports Heart Health
Disorders of the heart and cardiovascular system, in general, are due to some sort of issue in regulating blood flow.
Moss seaweed reduces the possibility of suffering from heart conditions such as angina due to its ability to boost blood flow and improve oxygen delivery to tissues.
It also contains antioxidants that help prevent oxidative destruction of blood vessels and tissue cells by free radicals.
Helps Control Appetite
By suppressing our appetite centers, Irish sea moss helps control cravings, decreasing the chance of eating too much.
It’s also very low in calories while still providing an array of nutrients.
Provides Remarkable Nutrition
Speaking of nutrients, recent studies have shown that Irish moss contains 92 out of the 102 essential minerals required by the body.
However, the most outstanding component of Irish moss is its sulfur-containing amino acid called taurine.
So far according to current studies, it is the only seaweed that offers such a rich source of taurine. This is especially welcome news for vegetarians and/or vegans whose diets tend to lack taurine.
Besides that, Irish moss also contains an abundance of beta carotene, pectin, proteins, fiber, sulfur, almost all the necessary minerals, plus vitamin C and B vitamins.
This incredibly varied and rich nutrition is what makes sea moss so beneficial for various illnesses. It can almost go without saying, but then again, it’s too important of a point to pass up:
Irish Sea moss is among the world’s best options for reversing malnutrition as quickly and easily as possible.
Promotes Mental and Emotional Well Being
The mental health support of Irish moss is attributed to its dense amount of potassium. Generally, the cells of the body have no definite mechanism of conserving potassium, yet they cannot survive without it.
Using potassium supplementation from products like Irish sea moss has been studied and proven to be beneficial, especially in children with conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Besides ADHD, potassium supplementation has also been proven to benefit mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, moodiness, and agitation.
Also Read: How Your Diet Affects Your Mental Health
It Is A Natural Decongestant
Being rich in potassium chloride, sea moss is also effective in breaking down excess mucus caused by conditions that inflame the mucous membranes.
Thanks to this characteristic, sea moss can naturally alleviate congestion in the sinuses and lungs, being especially helpful in cases of the common cold, pneumonia or bronchitis.
Soothes the Digestive Tract
Products rich in fiber are the most beneficial for the digestive system, and sea moss is a perfect example of this.
Ideally, it works by eliciting mild laxative effects while also managing inflammatory disorders of the gut. Common gastrointestinal conditions such as gastritis, indigestion, heartburn, and nausea can be effectively managed with simple Irish sea moss.
Supports Sexual Health
Zinc and other minerals play an important role in healthy reproductive systems. Since this type of red algae boasts a superior mineral profile, Irish moss is great for improving sexual desire and alleviating feminine dryness.
Are Sea Moss and Carrageenan the same thing?
Carrageenan is an extract from specific species of seaweed and it’s used to make beauty products, toothpaste, beverages, confectionery and many different types of dairy products.
Unfortunately, carrageenan, being an extract of seaweed, doesn’t contain all the amazing properties that whole raw seaweed has. It’s simply an isolated component that serves a very basic function and provides next to no nutritional value.
Carrageenan, as a processed product, has been linked to digestive issues and some other health complications.
It is important to note that through the processing of carrageenan rich seaweeds, all other elements that provide benefit within those seaweeds are lost.
Keep in mind that sea moss is no carrageenan, and carrageenan is not sea moss.
How to use Sea Moss
Being a very versatile marine vegetable, sea moss, along with other seaweeds, can be added to almost any type of dish.
One of the things that love about sea moss is that it is a plant-based alternative to gelatin.
It is also really easy to add to things like:
- Smoothie bowls
- Sauces, and
- Plant-based ice cream
Irish Moss Milk Drink
The Sea Moss Milk drink is known by some as Sea Moss Gold. To make this yourself, simply add milk to a pot and heat gently with clean sea moss.
You can also flavor the milk with honey, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. You can drink the Sea Moss Gold with (or without) a nip of whiskey.
A cool dessert option to keep in mind is that when the Sea Moss Gold cools, then it can take on a pudding-like texture similar to tapioca if you haven’t used too much milk.
Also, this works well with plant-based milk. One trick I love to use is to make a 50/50 mix of coconut cream and soy milk.
The coconut helps to take that nutty soy flavor out. This is great for cream-based pasta alternatives too.
The sea moss helps to thicken these up nicely.
Or you could try this lovely island treat. In the Caribbean, they make a sea moss drink by first cleaning the seaweed thoroughly. The next step is to soak the seaweed in lime juice overnight.
Add some water, cinnamon and the seaweed lime mixture to a pot and bring to the boil. Allow the mix to cool down and then add some sweeteners like sugar, lakanto, or stevia, with vanilla, condensed milk, and some dried fruit to taste.
More Recipe Ideas
As you can tell from the ideas shared above, sea moss is a natural thickening agent. It can be added to many different foods. By adding it to hot meals broths, soups and stews, the mixture will thicken nicely.
I love to add the gel to my smoothies. It gives them a beautifully silken texture.
A Sea Moss Bath
For a bath like no other where your skin feels hydrated and refreshed, adding your seaweed can help to give your body a touch of luxurious pampering that is like nothing else.
To do this, simply clean and then soak your raw sea moss in fresh (preferably filtered) water for twelve (12) to twenty-four (24) hours. Then add it, with the water it was soaking in, to a bath and allow to rest for a few minutes.
You may choose to leave the seaweed in the bath if you wish or remove it before getting in, that’s up to you. The collagen in the sea moss will also help to reduce the appearance of cellulite, firm the skin, and leave you feeling relaxed.
Known Side Effects of Sea Moss
The range of known side effects of sea moss can best be summed up to include:
- It has anticoagulant properties
- It has laxative properties
With all the things that are good for you, here is what you could call an upper limit. That is to say that you can have too much of a good thing.
Sea moss is not excluded from this, so some considerations need to be made before you make it a regular part of your diet. Looking more closely at these known side effects, it is worth keeping in mind that:
It has anticoagulant properties
It is worth keeping in mind that many different species of seaweed, including sea moss, contain naturally occurring blood thinners.
So it is not recommended to consume sea moss when taking any type of blood-thinning medication (anticoagulants) or blood pressure medication (antihypertensives).
People that use sea moss while taking antihypertensives can experience negative side effects. Antihypertensive medication is used to treat high blood pressure, also known as hypertension.
Side effects that may occur can include feeling a sense of dizziness, a sense of being lightheaded and syncope, which is a momentary loss of consciousness and posture.
If you have suffered from stomach ulcers or other medical issues where you have encountered internal bleeding then you would be best advised to avoid sea moss in the case that a preexisting medical condition is aggravated.
It has laxative properties
Sea moss can have other side effects such as bringing on diarrhea in cases where there is excessive consumption.
However, the same could easily be said for anything that you have too much of. Your body is going to look for ways to flush it out if there is too much of it.
Provided you don’t suffer from any of the above conditions, this seaweed can be a great addition to your diet by bringing in plenty of additional nutrients and minerals for almost no side effect.
Conclusion: According to all mentioned above see moss is very beneficial for our health. As a food, it can be used for various recipes and the main use is as a natural thickening agent.
It helps with thyroid problems, boosts metabolism and provides remarkable nutrition. It used for a long time and it is now time to add it to your daily diet.