What are the health benefits of sea moss, according to the RD?

jJust a few years ago, the idea of ​​adding a heaping stack of kale, spinach, or even tomatoes to a smoothie recipe could have instantly fired up your internal yuck factor. In the early 2000s, my go-to smoothies were limited exclusively to banana-strawberry combos, like my ride-or-die Jamba Juice order: the 16-ounce Razzmatazz with extra strawberries, Please.

However, as I entered adulthood and my palate became much more *refined* (TYSM, Ina Garten), the thought of sipping a green smoothie became something I enjoyed and, dare I say, even wished I had. . These days, experimenting with a bunch of new, healthy ingredients in a smoothie has become as popular as Hailey Bieber (and her $17 smoothie at Erewhon).

To be honest, sometimes it feels like I’m running an elaborate science experiment when I throw a dash of maca, a dash of cayenne, and a splash of coconut kefir into the blender. And with smoothie and juice bars up to the challenge, you can find loads of highly nutritious supplements like collagen powder or blue spirulina on most menus. However, one that has caught our attention recently is sea moss. If you’re curious as to whether or not sea moss has any real health benefits and why everyone seems to be adding it to their smoothies right now, you’ve come to the right place.

In all honesty, Well+Good saw this coming last year. One of the key wellness trends we predicted would be hugely popular in 2020 was eating seaweed, aka what is used to make the 145 edible forms of seaweed, including wakame, kombu, nori, and of course, sea moss. . “Since 2018 in particular, the seaweed category has grown more than 63 percent in sales with strong double-digit growth year over year,” Diego Norris, director of marketing for gimMe snacks, told Well+Good. crab cakes, packaged ramen noodles, and even seaweed cubes destined to be blended into smoothies this year, and ICYMI, spirulina is also a form of seaweed. So are we surprised by this new (ahem) wave of shakes? Not quite. But because Sea Moss Smoothies are the latest manifestation of the sea greens trend, we obviously had to learn more about them.

To better understand what’s wrong with this ocean drink, we spoke to two registered dieticians who shared their honest thoughts on sea moss and revealed whether it’s a wise shake or not, and the answer was…maybe?

What exactly is sea moss?

Sea moss, also known as Chondrus crispus, or Irish moss, is a common edible red algae found on the rocky shores of the North Atlantic. May vary in color: You can spot green, yellow, red, brown, or black varieties. And like other forms of seaweed, algae, and kelp, sea moss is an edible sea plant with a host of impressive health benefits.

Although you may not be familiar with sea moss as an ingredient on its own, you may be surprised to learn that it is found in several commonly eaten foods, including ice cream, cottage cheese, and non-dairy milk, in the form of carrageenan. The cell wall of sea moss contains carrageenan and C. crispus is the original source of this commercial thickener and gelling agent widely used in the food industry. This food additive is produced by mixing seaweed extract with alkaline substances.

Health benefits of sea moss

“Sea moss is definitely making a splash as the new main ingredient in smoothies,” says Roxana Ehsani, MS, RD, CSSD, LDN, registered dietitian nutritionist and national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “While it may not be the first thing you want to add to your blender when making a smoothie, it is quite nutrient-dense and has been linked to many health benefits. For one thing, it’s been said to support gut health, be antibacterial, antiviral, help maintain a strong and healthy immune system, and improve heart health.”

Breaking down the nutrient content, Ehsani explains that a quarter cup of sea moss contains ten calories, zero grams of fat, three grams of carbohydrates, half a gram of dietary fiber, and another half gram of protein. However, he notes that much more research needs to be done to assess the conclusive evidence on the health benefits of sea moss.

Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian, founder and director of Real Nutrition, also praises the potential health benefit of eating this ocean moss. “We love everybody algae and sea moss, as these plants provide a variety of minerals, including iodine, that we don’t get efficiently from our regular diet,” says Shapiro. “Sea moss is high in fiber, which not only helps lower cholesterol levels, but can also help with digestion, regularity, and overall gut health.” And that’s not all: Shapiro also says that sea moss is packed with antioxidants and iron.

Before you dive into the ocean or run to the store to get some sea moss for your daily smoothies, Shapiro says it’s good to keep in mind that sea moss isn’t yet regulated by the FDA. “The nutritional breakdown of sea moss also changes depending on where they grow. Some sea mosses can have too much iodine, which can be detrimental to thyroid health,” adds Ehsani. To err on the side of caution, he advises consuming sea moss in moderation until the research on it becomes clearer.

What is the best way to consume sea moss?

“Sea moss has a strong smell, taste and texture, which can make it a bit difficult for some people to understand. However, when mixed with delicious and decadent smoothie ingredients, you may not feel the taste,” says Shapiro. Ehsani adds that he should check with his health care provider before consuming sea moss.

This gut-healthy golden milk smoothie recipe tastes like sunshine in a cup:

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