Sea Moss also called Irish Moss is not something that we’ve used in our western diet for a long time. Before start using it is good to know what are the health benefits of sea moss and is there any side effects?
First, let’s see what is sea moss and where it comes from?
Sea moss is a type of red algae that grows on the Atlantic coastlines of North America, Europe, and the Caribbean Islands.
The Irish have been harvesting to use as a medicine, and Jamaicans used sea moss traditionally to treat illness.
The Latin name for this algae is “Chondrus crispus” and another name is Carageen Moss. Carrageenan is a derivative from sea moss used as a thickening agent in ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other processed foods.
By the National Agency for Research on Cancer, this ingredient was labeled as “a possible human carcinogen“. But carrageenan ( a chemically processed ingredient) is different than sea moss.
Sea moss is a whole food that is chockfull of beneficial vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants.
Health Benefits of Sea Moss
When applied topically
Joshua Zeichner MD director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City says: “It’s rich in sulfur, which is known to lower levels of microorganisms on the skin and soothe inflammation.”
Sea moss helps with acne and aging skin due to antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is good for skin, because the content of Vitamin A, vitamin K, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids is at high levels.
It is best to use it topically so your skin can absorb the vitamins and minerals.
The best way to use sea moss is to add to your morning smoothies because see moss can soothe the respiratory and digestive tract, says Robin Foroutan R.D.N., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
This might be due in part to the fact that, like aloe and okra, Irish moss is a mucilaginous food, which mucus-like texture (sticky, thick) can double as a remedy for irritation.
This snotty-substance also dissolves in water, so sea moss can tend to act like a soluble fiber. Remember: soluble fibers dissolve in water and become a soft-gel that keeps you full and helps stool move through the GI tract.
Sea moss supports digestion too because it is a good prebiotic. Which means it is a type of dietary fiber that is essential fertilizer for probiotics.
According to the FDA, sea moss is low in calories-49 per 100g and loaded with key minerals like folate and iodine.
Folate is important for prenatal health and development and iodine which helps the thyroid to run properly and make thyroid hormones.
Due to high levels of nutrients like iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and sink sea moss supports the immune system and helps you to fight with cold and flu symptoms.
Because of its high mineral content, especially potassium, sea moss helps our body to maintain healthy mental and emotional health.
A lack of it can lead to anxiety, irritability, and depression. Because potassium can’t be stored, we need an adequate supply from our food. Irish Moss packs more potassium than two bananas. This makes it the premier food to help boost mental health and uplift mood.
Boost Energy Levels
Sea moss contains a decent amount of folate (B9) and riboflavin (B2). Folate is needed to form DNA and other genetic material, riboflavin is important to break down proteins, fats, and carbs. When folate pairs up with B12, it also helps to create red blood cells.
Side Effects of Sea Moss
People with an autoimmune thyroid condition like Hashimoto’s – where the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland too much iodine can trigger hypothyroidism.
It is very rare, but you can overdo it with iodine potentially leading to goiter, thyroid gland inflammation, or thyroid cancer, according to NIH (National Institute of Health).
So moderation is the key here, like everything when it comes to food.
FDA recommends 150mg iodine per day. Because the nutritional value of Irish moss can differ based on where it’s from, so can the amount of iodine in each serving.
For reference, three ounces of baked cod can have about 99mcg of iodine and 1 cup of reduced-fat milk can have about 56mcg.
Meanwhile, one sheet (1 g) of seaweed can have anywhere from 16 to 2,984 mcg of iodine, according to the FDA, so it’s important to pay attention to nutrition labels if you’re eating sea moss and worried about iodine consumption.
If you’re experiencing any negative side effects, like itchy throat or nausea (signs of a food allergy), stop taking sea moss and see a doc.
If you’re using sea moss as a mask or cream, it’s important to watch for irritation, like redness, burning, or stinging.
Stop using it if you experience any of these symptoms of an allergic reaction and talk to your dermatologist if you’re worried.
How To Use Sea Moss
Due to the many health benefits of sea moss and little side effects, it is important to use sea moss properly.
You can use sea moss daily, but to see some benefits when you use it for the skin it should pass a couple of weeks. The active ingredient needs contact time with the skin for your body to absorb the nutrients and gain the benefits.
Sea moss doesn’t have much of a taste, so you can use it as a gel (made by boiling with water) in many food items, including as a thickener in soups, smoothies, or desserts like mousse, explains Foroutan.
Some people also add powdered sea moss directly to smoothies—just follow the serving size on the product label.
Try using it in:
- Dairy-free elixirs
- Blended soups
- One-pot meals and stews
- Salad dressings
- Homemade nut/seed milk
- Nut cheeses
- Raw desserts
Sea Moss Gel
Below is a simple and effective way to prepare Irish moss in less than 15 minutes!
After refrigeration, the final product is a delicious Sea Moss Gel that can be added to a variety of recipes. (Recipe from jamaicaherbal.com)
1. Wash thoroughly with water to remove salt or other impediments (Sea Moss grows wild in the ocean).
2. Blend 6 oz of Irish Moss with 32 oz of hot water for a few minutes (initially blend at low speed to prevent splashing as blender cuts through the moss).
3. Add two cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of ginger root, and blend for a few more minutes until smooth.
4. The gel can be stored up to 10 days in the refrigerator. It can also be added to smoothies or other recipes as a thickening agent.
Irish Moss Smoothie Recipe
- 3-4 oz of Sea Moss Gel
- 12 oz of almond milk
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of ice
- 4 tablespoons of honey
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
Blend for 2 minutes, or till creamy
Conclusion: Because sea moss has no or little flavor you can use it in many recipes and don’t be afraid to experiment with some of your ideas.
If you haven’t decided yet to use it or not, try it. Sea moss has many health benefits and many uses.
Feel free to write in the comment section if you have any idea of how to prepare something with sea moss.