Seaweed has become increasingly popular over the past few years; even megastars such as the singer Beyonce have been adding it to their diet, so it’s no surprise we are hearing more about this nutrient-rich sea veg and why it’s so good for our beauty and wellbeing.

We asked Nutritionist (BSc) and Chartered Psychologist (PhD), Dr. Naomi Newman-Beinart, to tell us about why seaweed is quickly becoming the most talked about beauty and wellness secret of 2023. This is what she had to say:

The relationship between what we eat and how we look is undeniable. When we’re healthy, it shows in our appearance. Glowing skin, healthy nails and shiny hair are all associated with good health. But how is looking gorgeous related to this slimy green stuff? 

Seaweed is a natural iodine-rich food for glowing skin

Seaweed contains vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which are well known for their ability to protect the skin and help fight signs of aging. But the real secret is its natural iodine content. Iodine is an essential mineral that your body can’t make by itself, so we must depend on food or supplements to get what we need. Iodine is needed for your body to produce thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones can help your skin cells to regenerate more efficiently.  

Seaweed contains collagen-promoting nutrients

Seaweed contains the well-known antioxidant Vitamin C. Vitamin C plays a vital role in the maintenance of collagen in your body and is needed for collagen synthesis. Collagen is the main structural protein found in your body’s connective tissues and is a major component of your skin, hair, and nails.

Seaweed helps you get stronger nails

Unlike certain nutrients like vitamin E – which are frequently discussed by both health and beauty experts – there are often critical nutrients that go without mention. One of the many undervalued and misunderstood nutrients that can have a positive impact on health and appearance is iodine. The EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) has found that iodine also helps to maintain healthy skin, and there’s also evidence that iodine and a normal functioning thyroid contributes to healthy hair and stronger nails, too.  

Seaweed helps your hair grow faster

Yes, you read that right! One study found that it can make your hair grow up to four times faster than normal. Researchers found that people who ate seaweed with recently cut hair had a regrowth rate of 95-100% and people that did not eat seaweed had a regrowth rate of 25-30%. 

Seaweed helps tackle dry skin 

Seaweed is a natural source of iodine, and many women appear deficient in this essential mineral, which results in them often finding that their skin is dry and flaky. Research shows this is primarily due to low thyroid hormone levels, which can be affected by low iodine levels. 

How to get your seaweed beauty boost? 

Looking good on the outside starts with feeling good on the inside, and seaweed can help you achieve that. Many more people are eating vegan diets, which can be low in iodine and in turn, can cause us to have dry skin and thinning hair. One study by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) explored iodine levels in participants following either mixed or vegan diets. It found that a third of vegans had iodine levels below 20 micrograms per litre, which is the threshold for serious deficiency defined by the World Health Organisation.  

1. Eat more sea veg – Try adding more sea veg to soups and salads to get a daily boost of naturally occurring iodine. I use Clearspring’s dried wild seaweeds, which, once rehydrated by soaking in liquid, are easy to enjoy in everyday foods. 

2. Take a seaweed supplement – Don’t fancy munching on seaweed to get your iodine fix. I recommend Doctor Seaweed’s vegan and organic ‘Weed and Wonderful’ Hebridean Ascophyllum capsules. They contain only natural ingredients from food sources, and you know how much iodine you are consuming with each capsule.  Also much easier for those who don’t like the salty taste!

3. Have a Seaweed Bath – If you don’t live by the coast – you can bring the coast to you with Voya’s Lazy Days Detoxifying Seaweed Bath. Just add to a hot bath and it will release its soothing and hydrating properties as well as detoxify the skin leaving it feeling super silky and clean!

Words by Charlotte Dormon