Seaweed could have a significant role to play in protecting your gut health
Many of us have become more health conscious in recent times, making changes to our diet to promote better physical and mental wellbeing. Whether it’s reducing the amount of processed foods we eat or moving towards a plant-based diet, better health is definitely on most of our radars.
Of course, a big part of being healthy is looking after our gut health. The gut can impact everything from metabolism to mood, so taking steps to improve gut health is highly beneficial.
Let’s take a closer look at this critical issue and, in particular, investigate the role seaweed has to play in improving gut microbiome health.
What is the gut microbiome?
Each and every one of us acts as a home for trillions of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi and other life forms. Many of these microorganisms make their home in our gut, and this is what makes up the gut microbiome.
Once they have set up shop in the digestive system, this concoction of microorganisms work to support the digestion of the food we eat, including absorbing and synthesising nutrients. This allows the gut microbiome to impact health far beyond your gut, affecting everything from metabolism and body weight to the immune system and even cognitive function and mood.
The gut begins to populate with bacteria very early in life, and it can be changed both positively and negatively by lifestyle factors. Some of these – like stressful events, genetics or illness – are unavoidable, but other gut-impacting factors are well within our control, and this includes our diet.
Seaweed, gut health and the importance of eating right
Diet is the most direct way to impact the gut microbiome, as what we eat interacts immediately with the way the gut is able to function. Relying on unhealthy foods that are high in starch, sugar, hydrogenated fats and chemical additives can disrupt the gut microbiome, and as such ultra-processed foods like ready meals are often associated with poor gut health, low energy levels and negative mood changes.
Certain foods have the ability to improve gut health, and this includes seaweed. Studies have explored the potential of seaweed in helping us make the most of good bacteria in our digestive tract, rather than letting them simply pass through us. One study led by the Stanford University School of Medicine found that seaweed could help to establish a specific strain of Bacteriodes in our gut. These are able to digest porphyrins – essential compounds which are also found in seaweed.
What’s more, fibre makes up between 25-75% of seaweed’s dry weight, resulting in a higher fibre content than most fruits and vegetables. Fibre is essential for our gut health, as it acts as the fuel to keep our digestive cells healthy and working. Certain sugars also found in seaweed – known as sulphated polysaccharides – have also been found to increase the growth of good gut bacteria, by supporting the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) that provide support and nourishment to the cells lining the gut.
By making seaweed a staple part of our diet, we can support the health and function of the gut microbiome in the long run. And with Doctor Seaweed’s Weed & Wonderful organic seaweed capsules, including seaweed in our daily routine has never been easier.