Seaweed may improve your memory

Guest Blog from Dr Craig Rose at Seaweed and Co.

The right nutrition for memory, brain function and development is critical for children, from birth and all the way throughout their education.

What is it about seaweed that may improve our memory?

A healthy, balanced diet can achieve this, and specifically the inclusion of, believe it or not, seaweed can have some profoundly positive effects!

When we talk about seaweed and memory, it may seem a little bit of an odd combination. However, seaweed has many benefits as it is hugely nutrient dense, and particularly rich in natural iodine.

Iodine is well known to be good for cognitive development specifically, as well as overall normal development in children. In fact, these two statements are Approved Health Claims in the European Union in relation to getting a sufficient level of iodine in your diet.

I don’t know much about Iodine, what research supports these claims?

There is research from various countries which show that not eating enough iodine during pregnancy, as well as deficiency in early childhood is associated with cognitive impairment. Studies have shown, however, that improved iodine intake in school-aged children improves cognitive performance, and that maternal iodine supplementation may improve the cognitive performance of their babies.

Despite the clear importance of iodine, as a nation we have a diet insufficient in iodine that is worse than South Sudan! Shockingly, in the UK the majority of school-aged girls have a diet insufficient in iodine. This is primarily due to a reduction in eating of fish, milk and other dairy products (and of course not enough seaweed!).

So how can we increase our uptake of seaweed?

We understand of course that a slab of seaweed on your plate isn’t something for everyone just yet, and so the development of Scottish Seaweeds in a dried and milled format that is included in foods like Pizza Power Kids, can be an ideal way to get your children eating healthy, balanced foods. Each pizza has more than your daily requirement of iodine present, and so is an excellent, safe and natural source of iodine for children.

Got a question?

Doctor Seaweed writes, researches and educates on the benefits of seaweed. All seaweed supplied by and approved by Doctor Seaweed is safe to eat, and appropriate for its uses and markets.

For more information on seaweed and its benefits visit and tweet any questions about #seaweed to @doctorseaweed

Seaweed: could it become a popular food?

As people are becoming increasingly health conscious, getting ‘back to basics’ with all natural ingredients makes sense. So how about a tasty health giving meal, with flavours straight from the sea?

The food of the future

The Research Councils UK has identified seaweed as one of their big ideas for the future!  Seaweed provides a number of benefits ranging from:

  • Specific nutrition and health benefits
  • New dimension of flavour
  • Sustainable food source
seaweed varieties

Different types of seaweed

Range of edible seaweed

Seaweed comes in a range of varieties, colours and textures. Each variety has different nutritional values:

• Kombu – excellent for adding flavour to your stock
It is prized as a source of iodine, which is needed to produce the two key thyroid hormones that control metabolism. The kelp is also rich in fucoidan, a phytochemical that acts as a blood-thinning anticoagulant; a 2011 study found that kombu contains properties that stop clots from forming in blood vessels-which may make it a promising subject for cardiovascular research.

• Nori – these dried sheets are commonly used in your sushi rolls
Among the marine flora, nori is one of the richest in protein (up to 50 percent of the plant’s dry weight), and one sheet has as much fiber as a cup of raw spinach and more omega-3 fatty acids than a cup of avocado. Nori contains vitamin C (a potent antioxidant) and B12 (crucial for cognitive function) and the compound taurine, which helps control cholesterol.

• Arame – Long, thin, sweet-tasting strands Provides a good amount of potassium, a mineral known among athletes for preventing muscle cramps. Research has shown that arame might have antiviral properties, too, and may even have an antiobesity effect: In a 2010 experiment, researchers discovered that mice on a high-fat diet experienced less weight gain when their food was supplemented with arame powder.

• Wakame – Pappardella-like leaves with a salty-sweet zest
Known as the woman’s seaweed because it is loaded with osteoporosis-preventing calcium and magnesium and acts as a diuretic which discourages fluid retention and help reduce bloating.

Did you know?

Eat Balanced use a sprinkling of human food quality seaweed in our pizza bases. Not only does this greatly improve their nutritional value but seaweed has a tenth of the sodium compared to salt and adds amazing flavour.

A big idea for the future

We posed a question to Dr Craig Rose – do you think that seaweed will start to replace salt within the food industry?

“Seaweed is already replacing salt within the food industry, as well as providing many other benefits.  Seaweed is a massively underutilised and sustainable resource, with nutritional benefits that are unparalleled when compared with land plants.  Seaweeds is increasingly being recognised as a multi-purpose food ingredient for salt replacement, providing new flavours, enhancing nutrition, and even for weight management.” 

Not only is seaweed a great condiment and ingredient in our food, it is now trending as a popular snack. Being naturally salty makes it a perfect snack. Soon you may see more people snacking on squares of toasted nori as opposed to bags of potato crisps.

Can you imagine a future where we consume seaweed on a daily basis in the UK? What about a future where it replaces the salt on your table?


“Archives of Pharmaceutical Research”; Protective Effects of Fucoidan Against γ-Radiation-induced Damage of Blood Cells; K.H. Rhee, et al.; April 2011
FAO Document Repository: Seaweeds Used as Human Foods
“Phytotherapy Research”; Antithrombotic Effect of a Polysaccharide Fraction from Laminaria japonica from the South China Sea; L. Xie, et al.; February 21, 2011
“Pharmaceutical Biology”; Hypolipidemic Effect of Fucoidan From Laminaria Japonica in Hyperlipidemic Rats; L. Huang; April 2010
“Journal of Ethnopharmacology”; Effects of Soluble Sodium Alginate on Cholesterol Excretion and Glucose Tolerance in Rats; Y. Kimura; October 1996
“Toxicology in Vitro”; A Glycoprotein from Laminaria japonica Induces Apoptosis in HT-29 Colon Cancer Cells; H. Go, et al.; September 2010