What exactly is sea moss? When I first heard about this – through my roommate – my immediate thought was green slime. However, I learned that sea moss, also known as Irish moss or red algae, is a type of red algae that is most commonly used as a thickening agent in foods such as soups, smoothies, teas and other beverages or liquid foods. More importantly, however, sea moss is known for its many health benefits.
As someone who comes from a long history of intestinal issues, I was willing to try anything at this point when my roommate brought it up to help me with my chronic stomach issues. While I was skeptical at first, after doing a lot of to research about the potential benefits and hearing from friends about its healing qualities, I decided to give it a try. I discovered that due to the high level prebiotic levels sea moss contains, it is known to improve intestinal health. It does this by using these prebiotic fibers to promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, allowing for easy digestion and strengthening the cells that line your stomach.
I bought my sea moss gel from a small company called Akasha Superfoods, but there are many independent sellers on Etsy that offer similar products. The sea moss gel has a slight earthy odor, but there is no noticeable taste or odor when you mix it into drinks or food. I’ve been able to include sea moss in my diet by mixing about a tablespoon – about a teaspoon – into my morning tea, matcha latte, or even coffee every other day! Adding a small scoop to your smoothie is also a great way to add a healthy kick to your mornings.
First, I bring my water to a boil and mix my matcha powder – or add to my tea bag – using a frothing machine that mixes the matcha and water thoroughly, or you can just mix with a spoon. Then I take a small spoonful of sea moss gel and slowly stir it into my drink, letting it melt. I will mix until the sea moss is no longer a clump and has completely dissolved into the liquid, which doesn’t take long. At this point I also add my favorite sweetener, which is usually agave nectar or honey. Some other vegan options such as white or brown sugar can work as long as they have time to dissolve in your chosen drink.
After including sea moss in my diet for almost a month, I saw major improvements in my gut health. Instead of having stomach aches that never fail to plague me every day, I’ve been able to see less and less of them for about a week now. Lately my days have not been cut short due to my lack of energy and I have been able to be more active and energized throughout my daily activities. I can focus more on my studies, have more stamina in the gym, and have more motivation to participate in social activities — like my a cappella rehearsals, club meetings, and study groups. Thanks to this, I was in a better mood overall and I had the 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 because it is rich in iron and antioxidants, both of which are linked to a stronger immune system. As someone who is quite susceptible to colds, I was able to avoid getting sick – knock on wood – during this time when it seems many college students get sick from consuming sea moss.
However, I think it is also important to note some of the potential risks associated with sea moss. As it is high in iodine, it should only be consumed in moderation. Iodine is a mineral found in certain foods and is used in the manufacture of thyroid hormones. However, too much iodine can pose risks to your thyroid, causing it to function abnormally. Also, if you are allergic to shellfish, you should proceed with caution as sea moss also contains a fair amount of sulfur, similar to shellfish.
Personally, I have been able to derive many benefits from my moderate consumption of sea moss, but I also know that every body and digestive system is different, so each person may see different effects. However, I would still recommend anyone who doesn’t have any allergies or health risks to sea moss to do some research and consider trying it. Having a small spoonful a day or even every other day can hopefully improve your gut health and give you more energy throughout your school day.