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Scientifically termed Chondrus crispus, sea moss or Irish moss or red seaweed is a type of seaweed that grows among submerged rocks off the coast. It is a whole food which is mainly harvested for the extraction of carrageenan, a polysaccharide which is responsible for the gelatinous properties of sea moss and which has wide applications in the food and cosmetic industries as a thickener, emulsifiers or stabilisers.
Sea moss grows and clings to the submerged rocks which are then harvested by pulling during the low tide. The gathered plant is dried to be used for culinary, medicinal and commercial purposes and also undergoes steps of processing to form a jelly.
Sea moss is widely distributed in the northern Atlantic. In India, sea moss can be found in southern coastal areas such as Hare Island and Gulf of Munnar. In other parts of India, it is mainly consumed in the form of supplementations or powder.
In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of sea moss. Take a look.
1. May help with Parkinson's disease
A study talks about the neuroprotective effects of sea moss. Parkinson's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disorder that causes selective loss of dopaminergic neurons. The presence of proteins, amino acids, peptides and pigments in sea moss help with lowering the accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein which is the cause of neurodegeneration. 
2. Acts as a prebiotic
Sea moss is rich in dietary fibre and oligosaccharides and is known to act as prebiotics It contributes to the good health of the gut microbiome, improves the digestive health and also the health of the immune system. Sea moss also acts as a laxative due to the presence of carrageenan and support gastrointestinal health of a person. 
3. Boosts the immune system
Sea moss contains many bioactive compounds including sulfated polysaccharides (SP) that possess strong immune-stimulant activities. A study has shown that consumption of sea moss improves both cell and humoral immune-related gene responses and boosts the immunity of a person. 
4. Rich in minerals
Sea moss has exceptional mineral content. This superfood is high in minerals such as sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, iodine and zinc. As seafood is a marine-based food, its mineral content is 10-100 times more than those of land vegetables. These minerals primarily help with maintaining good heart health and thyroid functions. 
5. Good for skin health
Sea moss is rich in antioxidants and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. It may help improve skin health by eliminating skin issues such as acne, itchy skin and ageing skin by lowering the inflammation and levels of microorganisms causing the skin conditions. Also, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids and vast mineral content in sea moss promote healthy skin cell functions. This is the reason sea moss is used in many cosmetic products.
6. Improves emotional health
Minerals, especially iodine, potassium and magnesium play a vital role in maintaining mental and emotional health of a person. They help improve brain functions and manage emotional issues such as crankiness and mood swings along with other mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.
7. Treats respiratory disorders
Sea moss is great for treating respiratory disorders such as cough, colds, chronic coughs, bronchitis and even COVID-19 symptoms. A study has shown that sea moss has antiviral properties and may help with dislodging the mucus. This is due to the presence of lectin griffithsin, phycocolloid carrageenan and sulphated polysaccharides in sea moss. 
Side Effects Of Sea Moss
Sea moss is rich in varieties of good minerals, along with some of the toxic metals such as arsenic, copper, mercury, cadmium and lead, 200-500 times more than those of land plants. This is the reason why seaweed must be consumed in a limited portion to prevent any potential health risk. Also, sea moss is rich in iodine and its increased consumption can cause adverse effects in the body.
However, the study also says that the toxic nature of metals is mainly due to their physical state and as these harmful metals are available in the form of seaweeds, they may not necessarily cause poisoning effects. Also, the nutritional properties and composition of minerals in sea moss depends on algae species, seasonality, locations and cultivation conditions. More research is required in the area.
How To Add Sea Moss In Your Diet
- To use sea moss for cooking purposes, first, wash it thoroughly by massaging to remove any sea debris, dirt or particles. Always use filtered or alkaline water and avoid using tap water.
- Place the clean sea moss in a large moss and cover it fully with filtered, spring or alkaline water. Allow soaking for a full day, around 18-24 hours. Keep changing the water at intervals. Cover the bowl while soaking and leave it at a room temperature, not in the refrigerator.
- After soaking, remove the liquid and transfer it to a clean and dry plate. You can use the liquid for making the jelly, considering they are clean and not cloudy.
- To form sea moss jelly, blend it by adding cup water as required to form a smooth, thick and fine paste. Pour the gel in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator (lasts for one month) or freezer (lasts for three months).
- You can use both the jelly or soaked sea moss for preparing various dishes such as smoothies, stews and soups, baked goods, juice and gravies that require thick and gelatin-like texture.
1. Does sea moss help you sexually?
Some studies say that sea moss can help improve the fertility of both men and women. It can be used as a natural sex enhancer to increase testosterone levels and sperm count in males while in females, the powerhouse of minerals and folate can promote easy conception and reproductive health.
2. Can you take sea moss every day?
No, sea moss is not suggested to be consumed daily due to high mineral content, both useful and harmful. The recommended daily dose of sea moss is 1-2 tablespoons.
3. What does Irish Sea Moss do for the body?
Sea moss helps improve heart conditions, prevents respiratory disorders, boost the immune system, maintains skin health along with promoting good digestion, mental well being and overall health of a person
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