Plus, we have 10 easy ways to incorporate more seaweed into your diet and your skincare routine.
Seaweed. It’s highly nutritious. It grows abundantly along Ireland’s coast. It’s easy to prepare. And it does just as much good on our bodies as in our bodies. Why isn’t it a bigger part of our diets and skincare routines?
For some reason, this island nation has yet to embrace seaweed. Sure, it’s becoming more popular, but it’s not a permanent resident of our pantries and bathroom cabinets.
There are so many seaweed products available, several made in Ireland, that can easily slip into our daily lives. So there’s no excuse to disregard the ways seaweed can improve our health and beauty.
Before we get to those products — Why is seaweed so amazing in the first place?
Seaweed is sustainable
When practiced mindfully, harvesting seaweed is gentle to the environment. It renews the seashore and makes it easier for healthy seaweed growth to thrive. It preserves sea habitats and encourages biodiversity among Ireland’s seaweed varieties.
A responsible seaweed harvester knows how to forage in a sustainable way. Such a person never takes too much and always leaves enough for the plant to produce new growth.
To learn more about harvesting — and maybe to give it a go yourself — we recommend Prannie Rhatigan’s Guide to Edible Seaweeds.
Seaweed is highly nutritious
There’s a lot of hype around the health benefits of seaweed — and for several good reasons:
- It’s abundant in vitamins and minerals, among them: vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and various B vitamins, as well as calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron and iodine.
- Seaweed contains protein, Omega-3 fatty acids and prebiotics.
- It has demonstrated antiviral activity and it’s linked to reduced cancer rates in cultures that eat a lot of seaweed.
- Its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties improve the health of skin and hair and help protect the body from disease.
- Researchers speculate that seaweed can improve cholesterol levels.
- There’s evidence that it treats heartburn.
- It has shown the ability to reduce sugar absorption after eating.
- The soluble fiber in seaweed fills you up faster and keeps you full longer.
Where is your seaweed from?
Since seaweed detoxifies the oceans by absorbing pollutants, like mercury and other heavy metals, it’s important to know its source. If your seaweed comes from contaminated waters, you could be exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. According to the EPA, Ireland’s coastal waters are in good shape so our seaweed is safe. (High-fives all around.)
Now, how to get more seaweed into your diet and your skincare routine...
Easy ways to eat more seaweed
1. A chocolate bar isn’t the first place we’d look for seaweed, but they make great pals in Clonakilty Chocolate’s Wild West Salty Chocolate. The interplay of the flavours — bitter dark chocolate, Irish sea salt, and umami-forward dillisk and nori — will captivate your taste buds.
2. You’ve probably met carrageen moss in its pudding form and in the age-old remedy for congestion, a cough or a sore throat. Now, meet carrageen moss in Sheridan’s Chutney for Everything, in which it perfectly supports organic tomatoes, Irish cider vinegar and Irish apples for a tasty, versatile condiment.
3. WASi Seaweeds makes lovely pestos with seaweeds hand-harvested just outside Bantry along the Wild Atlantic Way. The different pesto varieties are matched with aromatics like ginger, garlic, lemongrass and chilli. We’ve yet to run out of easy meal ideas for them - tossed with noodles, roasted vegetables, prawns, chicken, whole grains or beans; spread on toast; stirred into soups, hummus or salad dressings; dolloped over fried eggs…
4. It couldn’t be easier to boost the nutritional and taste impact of your meals than with the seaweed seasonings from The Laughing Oyster. The dried, toasted and smoked varieties add depth to so many foods, and they’re as easy and versatile to use as salt and pepper. In fact, we like to keep a bottle within reach on the dinner table.
5. If you thought chocolate with seaweed was unusual, what are your thoughts on granola with seaweed? We think they’re a super pairing, so we added nori flakes to our housemade granola with honey. It’s believed that seaweed can reduce your sugar absorption and make you feel full faster and longer — doesn’t that sound like a great way to start the morning?
6. When you first introduce more seaweed into your diet, ready-to-eat products are a great help. But you’ll find that cooking with whole, dried seaweed is easy. We fill our pantry with the dried seaweeds from Wild Irish Sea Veg and follow these nourishing recipes:
Seaweed for healthy skin and hair
7. Seaweed helps strengthen and hydrate hair, leaving your locks shiny and healthy. Jason’s Smoothing Sea Kelp Shampoo and Green People’s Clarifying Vitamin Conditioner are two easy ways to give your hair a seaweed treatment.
8. In a seaweed bath, your stress melts away as your body absorbs anti-ageing properties that soften skin and encourage cell renewal. Frequent seaweed baths are recommended to soothe skin conditions (including eczema, psoriasis and acne) and sore muscles. Here in West Cork, Ocean Bloom skincare makes a seaweed bath that is a detoxifying experience for the mind and body.
And for an extra boost of skin nourishment, follow your bath with Ocean Bloom’s Seaweed and Shea Body Butter.
9. We love seaweed’s hydrating effects in Faith in Nature’s Seaweed and Citrus hand wash. No more dry and uncomfortable hands for the sake of cleanliness.
10. The Doctor Mahers skincare range out of Kerry uses seaweed to create products that regenerate and protect the skin while helping to soothe psoriasis, eczema and rosacea. Their two facial serums, Liberty Corrective Serum and 7 Berry Facial Serum, are potent formulas that promote smooth, nourished skin and a natural radiance.
Their Vitalize Cleansing Bar is a gentle, restorative treatment that's especially popular as a shaving soap for men with irritated skin. The serums and the soap are an easy way to treat your face to seaweed every day.
Now, with so many possibilities, how are you going to get more seaweed into your life?