What exactly is sea moss? When first hearing about this — through my housemate — my immediate thought was green slime. However, I have learned that sea moss, also known as Irish moss or red seaweed, is a type of red algae that is most commonly used as a thickening agent in foods such as soups, smoothies, teas and other drinks or liquid foods. More importantly, however, sea moss is known for its many health benefits.
As a person who comes from a long history of gut problems, I was willing to try anything at this point when my housemate had brought it up to help with my chronic stomach issues. While I was skeptical at first, after doing a lot of research on the potential benefits and hearing from friends of its healing qualities, I decided to give it a go. I found out that due to the high prebiotic levels that sea moss contains, it has been known to improve gut health. It does this by using these prebiotic fibers to promote growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, allowing for easy digestion and keeping the cells that line your stomach stronger.
I purchased my sea moss gel from a small business called Akasha Superfoods, but there are a lot of independent sellers on Etsy that provide similar products. Sea moss gel has a slight scent of earthiness, but there’s no apparent taste or smell when you mix it into drinks or food. I have been able to include sea moss in my diet by mixing about a tablespoon — approximately a small spoonful — into my morning tea, matcha latte or even coffee about every other day! Adding a small scoop to your smoothie is also a great way to add a healthy flair to your mornings.
First, I bring my water to a boil and mix in my matcha powder — or add in my tea bag — using a frothing machine which thoroughly mixes the matcha and the water, or you can simply mix with a spoon. Next, I take a small spoonful of sea moss gel and slowly mix it into my drink, letting it melt in. I will mix until the sea moss is no longer a clump and has fully dissolved into the liquid, which doesn’t take long. At this point, I also add in my preferred sweetener, which is usually agave nectar or honey. Some other vegan options such as white or brown sugar or can work as long as it has time to dissolve into your chosen drink.
After including sea moss in my diet for almost a month, I have seen major improvements in my gut health. As opposed to having stomach aches that never fail to plague me each day, I have been able to see less and less of them for the past week or so. Lately, my days haven’t been cut short due to my lack of energy and I’ve been able to be more active and energized throughout my daily activities. I’m able to focus more on my studying, have more endurance at the gym and have more motivation to engage in social activities — such as my a cappella rehearsals, club meetings and study groups. Because of this, I have been in an overall better mood and have had a chance to be a little more productive in my school life and in my social life.
I also take sea moss as a supplement to boost my immune system. Some believe that sea moss helps improve the immune system since it is high in iron and antioxidants, which are both linked to a stronger immune system .As a person who is quite susceptible to common colds, I have been able to avoid getting sick — knock on wood — during this period where it seems that many students are coming down with sickness by consuming sea moss.
However, I believe it is also important to note some of the potential risks associated with sea moss. Since it is high in iodine, it should only be consumed in moderation. Iodine is a mineral found in some foods and is used in the making of thyroid hormones. However, too much iodine can pose risks to your thyroid, causing it to function abnormally. Additionally, if you are allergic to shellfish, you should proceed with caution as sea moss also contains a good amount of sulfur, similar to shellfish.
Personally, I have been able to reap a lot of benefits from my moderate consumption of sea moss, but I also know that every body and digestive system is different, so every person may see different effects. However, I would still recommend that everyone who doesn’t have allergies or health risks to sea moss do some research and consider trying it out. Having a small spoonful a day or even every other day can hopefully help improve your gut health and get you more energized throughout your school day.