What is sea moss?
Sea moss (chondrus crispus) is a type of seaweed or algae that has existed in Earth’s oceans for 500 million years. They come in a range of colors (e.g. white, yellow, red, brown, purple and green) and their thin stems extend into tiny branches making them look like small translucent leafless trees floating on the surface of the ocean. It grows in large fields that range from shallow to deep waters and is primarily found off the rock-ribbed coasts of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
Though archeologists have found evidence that this oceanic plant has been harvested by humans for nearly 14 millennia, it only began regaining widespread popularity in the early 2020s. Like most current trends, you can thank celebrities on social media like Kim Kardashian and TikTok influencers for that.
How does sea moss taste?
Many assume that because sea moss comes from the ocean, it probably has a potent salty or fishy taste. However, that isn’t quite accurate. When properly cleaned and prepared, it actually has a very mild, clean flavor that may vary slightly depending on the region it’s harvested in. It also does not have any overpowering scents and the texture is soft and gel-like, similar to apple sauce or mashed up Jell-O.
Sea moss can be eaten raw but also blends well with whatever ingredients it is combined with due to its neutral taste.
It is a naturally vegan and gluten-free food that is a versatile ingredient for cooking. Due to its carrageenan content, it makes for a great thickening agent and can be mixed into a wide variety of foods and drinks including:
- soups & stews
- smoothies & slushies
- ice cream & fro-yo
- chocolate milk & milk alternatives
- jams & jellies
- salad dressings
Is sea moss good for you? What are its health benefits?
This superfood of the sea has been used by humans for centuries for its numerous beneficial properties. While its nutrients are most often absorbed through ingestion, it can also be applied topically to the skin. These are the most commonly acknowledged health benefits of sea moss:
- helps to boost immunity
- improves cognition & mood
- aids in digestion & gut health
- enhances metabolism and thyroid function
- promotes vitality
- minimizes mucus congestion
- stimulates collagen to improve hair, skin and nails
- supports healthy libido & fertility
- good source of vitamins A, B, D, E and K as well as fiber, potassium, calcium, iodine and trace minerals,
Please note: These potential health benefits of sea moss, though promising, have yet to be fully studied/scientifically proven or evaluated by the FDA.
Algin, an extract of sea moss, may provide value as a pharmaceutical agent. Research in animals and test-tube studies suggests that algin may be useful in treating and preventing cancer and reducing blood sugar levels to normalize glycemic control. Algin has also been used intravenously to lower high cholesterol levels and reduce excess body weight, though these uses are not supported by substantial scientific evidence.
What are the side effects of sea moss?
Since sea moss is found in the ocean, it can contain iodine and heavy metals such as mercury and lead. (The FDA recommends about 150 micrograms of iodine/day.) This is why it is important to get your moss from a reputable purveyor and avoid consuming excessive amounts. However, when ingested in moderation, it is harmless.
If taken in excess, side effects of sea moss may include headaches, dizziness, constipation, stomach aches, and nausea. It has also been known to cause dermatitis in some people. It is not recommended to ingest this while pregnant or breastfeeding without first consulting a health care professional.
How much sea moss is safe to eat per day?
A common suggested dosage is 1-3 tablespoons per day. However, this may vary based on your medical history. Make sure to avoid overindulging in it as you may ingest excess amounts of iodine and heavy metals.
As with any supplements, please consult your doctor to ensure the best dosage specifically for you.
Where can I get the best sea moss?
You can get fresh sea moss from local health stores, harvesters and purveyors. Here are several providers in the US that offer this edible moss locally and regionally.
Samadhi Moss (health-boosting naturally flavored gels)
Zanzibar Seamoss (capsules, dried packages and gels)
East African Seamoss (red, purple and gold gels)
Power of Sea Moss (flavored drinks and gels)
Ms. Bee’s Juice Bar (gel and smoothies)
Natures Gift seamoss (dried packages and gels)
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Kristina Reynolds is the Founder & CEO of Glutto and an alumna of the University of California, San Diego. She writes articles & posts for Glutto Digest with insights from fellow industry experts. Furthermore, she is the author of The Fittest Food Lovers: How EVERY BODY Can be Incredibly Fit and Still Enjoy Food, a collaborative philanthropic book with proceeds going to charities that fight world hunger.