One of nature's most beautifying superfoods is seaweed. An ingredient that many people only associate with Japanese food – seaweed is abundant, diverse, and has an array of benefits – not only for our bodies, but for the planet. Seaweed has a unique ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere, and may go a long way in healing our planet.
Did you know that some farms include seaweed in cattle feed to help reduce the methane that cows produce? Fun fact, and something that will hopefully continue to be more widely practiced.
Seaweed is a powerhouse of nutrition, and should not be ignored. It is one of the most abundant food sources of iodine, trace minerals, amino acids, omegas and antioxidants. It is also incredibly detoxifying, and may help pull toxins and pollutants from your system. There are a lot of different ways to ingest seaweed, and certainly one of the most easy ways is in powder form. You can also sprinkle dulse, kelp, or wakame flakes on salads. We are currently loving all the seaweed flakes from Daybreak Seaweed. Nutrient dense without overpowering flavor or texture. Many people confuse seaweed with algae – like chlorella, spirulina, and E3 live – these are all algae and not seaweed. Seaweed is a type of algae, but is unique to the ocean which is where it pulls all of its nutritional benefit. The most fun way to consume seaweed is exploring the different tastes, textures, and variety that fresh dried seaweed has to offer. Some of the most readily available types for purchase are wakame, kombu, nori, dulse, hijiki and sea palm.
Ingesting seaweed is also great for your skin. Because of the rich array of bio-available nutrients, it has the ability to nourish from the inside out. It may help to create an internal balance that will not only help you feel better, it also helps you look better. Balancing gut health, improving thyroid function, and replenishing your cells with minerals, Omega 3s and antioxidants all have a positive effect on skin health. It truly is one of natures most beautifying super foods.
And what about using it externally?
The nutrient potency, and bio-availability of seaweed is not only beneficial when eaten, it can also be used for external applications with a great degree of success. Seaweed has been shown to offer a wide array of skin soothing and naturally anti-aging benefits. It may also help reduce the appearance of redness, brighten, hydrate and remineralize your exterior layer. More products are starting to include seaweed extracts in their ingredient lists, with varying degree of potency – but we like to do it fresh.
One of our favorite at home skin treatments is a seaweed gel mask. We use Wild Gigartina Seaweed Dried (pictured), or Irish Moss to make a paste. Irish Moss is a little more readily available, but does have a stronger scent. We feel like the results are almost immediate.
SEAWEED GEL MASK // Boost collagen, brighten, and tighten.
Dried Seaweed – Wild Gigartina dried
Take about a handful of dried seaweed and rinse well. Soak for approximately 15 minutes. When using the gigartina seaweed you will notice that the water becomes almost gel like. You can apply this gel to your face, and leave it on as long as you'd like. Sometimes, I'll apply and leave it on for an hour or so without makeup.
The texture is like aloe. It also makes a great conductor gel for my microcurrent tool. (I learned this trick from my incredibly talented facialist friend Valentina).
This gel lasts in the refrigerator for about a week. You can use it alone or in combination with other ingredients.
Dried Seaweed – Irish Moss
Using a small handful of Irish Moss, make sure you rinse it well. Soak the moss in warm water for a few hours, or overnight. Irish moss definitely has a distinctive smell, and a longer soak time helps mitigate this. (You can rinse and soak the moss at lunch, to do the mask in the evening). Blend the moss with about 1/3 to 1/2 cup water to make a paste. Apply the paste to your face, and let dry. Leave on for up to 30 minutes.
If you aren't able to get your hands on fresh dried seaweed, you can use kelp powder or nori powder. Just simply mix about 2 teaspoons of powder with 2 tablespoons aloe or warm water, and it will have a very similar effect.
Let us know if you try any of these masks, and what you think of the results!