The gorgeous Amal Clooney reveals she enjoys a breakfast of seaweed. Nutritionist Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart explains 5 reasons why seaweed is great for your health, plus how you can get more of it into your diet
Seaweed is a super nutritious food that has become increasingly popular over the past few years, so it’s no surprise to read news reports about celebrities like Amal Clooney (George Clooney’s gorgeous wife) opt for a diet rich in seaweed as part of their morning routine.
Healthista spoke to Nutritionist (BSc) and Chartered Psychologist (PhD), Dr Naomi Newman-Beinart, to explain why seaweed could be a great breakfast option for a healthy start to your day.
seaweed has been consumed since prehistoric times…which is critical for brain development
‘The relationship between what we eat and how we look is undeniable – when we’re healthy, it shows in our appearance,’ says Dr Newman-Beinart.
‘Seaweed is naturally rich in iodine, an essential mineral your body needs to make thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones are important for vital bodily processes such as metabolism, which is why low thyroid hormone levels often lead to problems such as low energy, dry skin, thinning hair, constipation and weight gain.
‘Research shows that seaweed has been consumed since prehistoric times, and it is believed that this natural source of iodine, which is critical for brain development, allowed for the evolution of the human brain’.
How can we get more seaweed into our diet?
‘Try adding seaweed to soups and salads to get a daily boost of naturally occurring iodine,’ advises Dr Newman-Beinart.
‘I often use Clearspring’s dried wild seaweeds, which, once rehydrated by soaking in liquid, are easy to enjoy in everyday foods.
‘You can also start your day with a seaweed supplement if you don’t fancy slurping on a seaweed soup to get your iodine fix. I recommend starting your day with Doctor Seaweed’s vegan and organic seaweed capsules, £14.
‘They are suitable for vegans and contain only natural organic ingredients from Scottish seaweed. It’s also a much more palatable and easier option for those who don’t like the taste of seaweed’.
5 well-being and beauty benefits of adding seaweed to your diet…
Seaweed Benefit #1 It boosts your brain power
Did you know that being iodine deficient can influence how intelligent you are?
Researchers collated over 20 studies looking at the relationship between iodine status and IQ, and all of the studies found that the more deficient in iodine a person was, the lower their IQ – fascinating stuff and an excellent reason to start thinking about adding seaweed to your daily diet.
READ MORE: Why seaweed is THE health food of the year
Seaweed Benefit #2 It helps look after your thyroid
Your thyroid is a small gland at the front of your neck. It uses iodine to make thyroid hormones, but if you are deficient in iodine, then your body can’t make enough thyroid hormones.
When this happens, your thyroid starts to work overtime to make these vital hormones which can result in overgrowth of the thyroid gland, called goitre. Luckily, if caught soon enough, this can be reversed by improving iodine intake.
Seaweed Benefit #3 It supports women’s health
Thyroid hormones are vital for so many of our body’s natural processes, including bone health, metabolism, reproductive health, and brain health. As a nutritionist, I have seen numerous women over the years who struggle with low energy, weight gain, dry skin and feeling cold all the time.
if you are deficient in iodine, then your body can’t make enough thyroid hormones
While there is a lot to consider when someone presents with these symptoms, iodine status is the number one place we start and is often found to play a role in some of these issues.
READ MORE: Fatigue? Feeling cold? Dry flaky skin? 5 signs you have thyroid problems
Seaweed Benefit #4 It’s good for beauty and skin
One more reason why you might want to add seaweed to your daily diet is that thyroid hormones can actually help your skin cells to regenerate. When people have iodine deficiency, they often find that their skin is dry and flaky, and researchers believe that this may be due to low thyroid hormone levels.
seaweed contains antioxidants which are well-known to help protect the skin from damage
As well as this, seaweed contains antioxidants which are well-known to help protect the skin from damage and fight signs of ageing. Iodine is an essential mineral that your body can’t make by itself, so we must depend on food or supplements to get what we need.
Seaweed Benefit #5 It helps your hair grow faster
Yes, you read that right! One study found that seaweed can make your hair grow up to four times faster than normal.
Researchers found that people who ate seaweed with recently cut hair had a regrowth rate of 95 to 100 per cent, and people that did not eat seaweed had a regrowth rate of 25 to 30per cent.
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