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What are the Health Benefits of Irish Moss?

raw irish moss

Irish Moss is a richly nutritious sea plant, of the red seaweed group.  It consists of nearly 10% protein and about 15% mineral matter, and is rich in iodine and sulfur. When softened in water Irish Moss has a sea-like odour,and because of the abundant cell wall polysaccharides, it will form a jelly when boiled, holding 20 -100 times its weight of water.

Irish moss’s nutritional profile is impressive – it’s thought to contain 15 of the 18 essential elements that make up the human body. This includes great amounts calcium, iodine, sulphur, and potassium as well as Vitamins A, D, E, F and K. This is why – historically –  this amazing seaweed has been thought to have a positive effect on a wide variety of ailments, from bladder disorders, bronchitis, halitosis (bad breath), intestinal disorders and glandular problems to swollen joints, lung difficulties, thyroid conditions, tuberculosis, tumors, and ulcers. Recent studies have found that Irish moss does in fact have some great anti-viral properties and can help fight the Influenza B and mumps viruses. Irish Moss:

Is high in magnesium – 100g of Irish moss contains approximately  41% of our RDI (recommended daily intake) of magnesium, an important mineral cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body (including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation). Magnesium helps the body to absorb calcium more easily which is important to build bones and prevent osteoporosis.

Is rich in iron – 100g of Irish moss supplies 68% of our RDI in iron, which is high, even when compared to other sea vegetables. Iron helps to build hemoglobin in our red blood cells, which in turn carry oxygen from our lungs to our body’s cells. While iron deficiencies are common in the West, ultimately such deficiencies are easy to treat: simply eat more iron-rich foods!

Is a good source of iodine – While brown seaweeds like Kelp & Bladderwrack are generally regarded as the ultimate sea-based source of iodine, Irish moss also contains sizable amounts of this absolutely essential mineral. Iodine is needed for proper thyroid function, and since few land vegetables now contain it, natural food-based iodine sources are something we must treasure and utilize whenever possible.

Is a good source of zinc – Zinc is found in cells throughout the body. It is needed for the body’s defensive (immune) system to work properly. Zinc plays a role in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the breakdown of carbohydrates. Zinc is also needed for the senses of smell and taste. World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the global prevalence of zinc deficiency is 31%. Deficiencies in Zinc can translate into lack of attention, weak immunity, allergies, thinning hair and leaky gut! Research has found that zinc is best absorbed with a proper balance of other nutrients, as found in whole foods.

Is a rich source of B vitamins – especially Riboflavin (B2) and Folate (B9)
Our bodies need vitamin B2 to help break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Vitamin B plays a vital role in maintaining the body’s energy supply.  We need Folate to make DNA & other genetic material; but combined with vitamin B12, Folate helps create normal red blood cells.

Has weight loss properties – Like many other seaweeds, Irish Moss contains very few calories, no fat and it’s fibre provides a feeling of fullness (100g of it contains a mere 49 calories, no fat or cholesterol at all, and 10g of fibre).  Dietary fibre absorbs water from the small intestine and encourages a feeling of fullness which inhibits overeating. The fibre in Irish moss has a mild laxative effect that helps with constipation by flushing accumulated matter from the colon.The seaweed is also a ‘time released’ energizing fuel source, providing long chain polysaccharides that help to deliver nutrients over a longer period of time, for a slower and more sustained nutritional uptake.

Relieves respiratory conditionsIrish moss has been celebrated for centuries in Ireland for its soothing influence on the body’s mucous membranes. This softening quality is known is called ‘demulcent’ and has been used traditionally to help many respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Irish moss is also known as an expectorant that can relieve dry coughs, and its rich mucilage content (which gives it its characteristic fleshy constitution) makes it an effective treatment for mucus build-up and sore throats.

Studies support the seaherb’s value in treating ulcers and reports say that Irish Moss can be considered an anti-coagulant (blood thinner).  Additionally, Irish moss is also thought to have many cosmetic properties from helping rid the body of varicose veins to reducing the appearance of wrinkles.

Irish moss is also rich in many other nutrients not listed above including phosphorous, manganese, selenium, pectin, protein, bromine, as well as sulfur compounds and various amino acids such as taurine. With such an impressive mineral content, it is no wonder that Irish moss health supplements and cosmetics are gaining popularity worldwide.

There are many ways you can consume irish Moss and benefit from its nutritional strengths Read more about how to use Irish moss in the kitchen. 

Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and may not include the latest research. We encourage you to do your own research and discuss your findings with a qualified health practitioner who can help you validate the outcomes in the context of your specific & individual health situation.

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