Sea Spaghetti Benefits

Sea Spaghetti
Latin Name

Himanthalia elongata

Also Known As

Spaghetti de Mer, Thongweed, Buttonweed, Sea Haricots, Haricots de Mer, Sea Thong

Origin

Atlantic Ocean, Baltic Sea, North Sea

Parts Used

Whole plant

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Sea Spaghetti is one of the hardiest and oldest plants on the planet and is commonly known as the “spinach of the sea”.

This seaweed absorbs a huge variety of nutrients, making it a powerful, health-promoting food.

Sea Spaghetti Benefits

Thyroid Health

Just one 30g serving of Sea Spaghetti provides over 300 percent of the RDI for this important compound. Due to ongoing soil depletion, sea vegetables have long overtaken land vegetables in the iodine department, with Sea Spaghetti being no exception. As most people are low in iodine and the RDI is just a recommendation, this boost of iodine will in turn boost one’s health as long as there are no underlying problems with iodine.

Iodine is critical to the thyroid; it forms a part of the thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) which are used in every cell of the body to regulate metabolism and weight by controlling the burning of fat for energy and heat. These hormones are directly responsible for controlling the body’s “base metabolic rate” which affects the efficiency and efficacy of many of the body’s organ systems, and regular processes including the absorption and biosynthesis of food into usable energy. Iodine is literally "food for the thyroid".

Iodine also displaces dangerous "halides" such as; fluoride, bromide and chlorine in the thyroid. It is antioxidant, promotes proper hormone balance, protects from radiation and kills bacteria and fungi.

When the thyroid is compromised, symptoms can include unexplained weight loss/gain, fatigue, hair loss and dry skin.

Skin Health

Sea Spaghetti is rich in compounds known as “alginates” which lock moisture into the skin. They nourish, hydrate and soften the skin, whilst soothing dryness, acne, psoriasis and eczema flare-ups, as well as removing toxins and cleansing pores. This encourages firmer skin tone and leads to an improvement of overall skin elasticity.

Sea Spaghetti is also a source of vitamin E – a vitamin well known for its benefits to the skin. This powerfully antioxidant compound supports skin health by combating the effects of free radicals and UV damage. UV light and over exposure to the sun reduce vitamin E levels in the skin, also, vitamin E levels decrease with age.

Healthy Bones and Teeth

The recommended 30g portion of Sea Spaghetti is rich in the bone strengthening minerals calcium and magnesium, providing 35 percent of the RDI for calcium and 55 percent of the RDI for magnesium. These minerals are essential to the integrity of bone structure and strong, healthy teeth.

Calcium forms a part of hydroxyapatite, the mineral complex that makes bones and teeth hard and maintains bone density. Roughly half of the body’s magnesium is stored in the bones where it acts as a cofactor with calcium and vitamin D to maintain and strengthen the bone structure and teeth. Teeth can only form hard enamel from calcium if magnesium is available.

Heart Health

The high magnesium content of Sea Spaghetti also contributes to heart health. Magnesium helps to regulate heart rhythm, co-ordinating the activity of the heart muscle and the nerves that initiate heartbeat. Low magnesium levels can cause heart palpitations and arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).

Magnesium also helps to keep the coronary arteries from having spasms that can cause the intense chest pains known as angina. It is relatively well known that a deficiency in magnesium is the most common cause of these spasms.

Also keeping blood pressure in check, magnesium relaxes the muscles that control blood vessels, allowing the blood to flow more freely. This can help to reduce high blood pressure – an important factor in decreasing the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Magnesium’s effect on high blood pressure is further enhanced because it helps equalize the levels of potassium and sodium in the blood.

Sea Spaghetti is rich in potassium, a mineral that has powerful vasodilating properties (relaxes the blood vessels). This tension in the blood vessels is one of the main causes of high blood pressure which in turn can lead to heart problems. Potassium also plays a role in every heartbeat. A hundred thousand times a day, it helps trigger the heart to squeeze blood through the body.

Eye Health

30 grams of Sea Spaghetti provides 90 percent of the RDI for vitamin A. The vitamin A found in this seaweed is in the form of beta carotene, a compound that has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

A fat-soluble antioxidant, vitamin A also helps to protect the surface of the eye (cornea) and is a component of rhodopsin – a protein in the eye that boosts vision in low light conditions. One of the first symptoms of a deficiency in this important vitamin is “night blindness”, or nyctalopia. Furthermore, vitamin A maintains the integrity of the cells of mucous membranes, including those of the eyes.

Typical Use

Organic Sea Spaghetti

To rehydrate: Soak in cold water for up to 5 mins with a little salt.

Best served cooked – cook in the same way as spaghetti until al dente (11mins approx) Do not cook for more than 25mins.

Folklore and History

Enjoyed as a nutrient rich food by coastal communities for hundreds of years, Sea Spaghetti grows in long, chestnut-brown ribbons, and has an intense shellfish taste making the seaweed a delicious alternative to regular pasta.

Traditionally Sea Spaghetti was collected and burnt alongside kelp for the potash industry or used as a fertiliser. Nowadays it is harvested mainly as a sea vegetable and has been enjoying a revival due to highly acclaimed chefs in many of the world's top restaurants, using it as an ingredient in their dishes.

Sea Spaghetti
Precautions

People with an iodine allergy should not consume seaweed. If you are taking any prescription medications, especially in the case of thyroid disorders, please consult your healthcare professional before consuming Irish Sea Spaghetti.