Fun fact: Irish sea moss (botanically, Chondrus Crispus) is not moss! Instead, it falls under a red algae species that grows abundantly along Europe's Atlantic coast. It's usually found along the Irish coast, as well as Spain and Iceland. Color varies from red, purple, and yellow to green.
In this blog, we're going to further explore Irish sea moss, especially the way it serves as a potent collagen that's plant-based.
Irish Sea Moss: A History
Over the centuries, Irish sea moss has been collected by people on small boats using their hands. During the Great Irish Potato Famine (1846-1849), it served as a poverty food. It played a key role in preventing so many from suffering from full-on starvation.
Irish moss has a long history of medicinal uses, especially of treating respiratory problems. Ireland records its uses all the way back to 1810, as a treatment for pneumonia and tuberculosis alongside being a remedy for the common cold. Other conditions addressed include swollen joints, digestive disorders, ulcers, and tumors.
Recently, Irish sea moss has begun to rise in popularity as a thrilling superfood with healing properties. Irish moss is an incredibly amazing food source. It contains 15 out of the 18 nutrients that we need to live. It is the most nutritious type of seaweed. Irish sea moss has vitamin A, D, E, F, and K alongside:
- Beta carotene
- B vitamins
- Vitamin C
All of these properties are what led to Irish sea moss being relied on to help treat illnesses and conditions. It's also what gave the superfood a reputation for being ideal in terms of boosting one's immune system.
Polysaccharide carrageenan constitutes about 55 percent of a dried Irish Moss’s weight. It includes:
- Mineral matter
When boiled, it forms a jelly and becomes up to 100 times its weight in water.
Irish moss can be consumed raw or fresh, but it's usually preserved through being sun-dried. That's what makes its consistency translucent just as the coloring becomes yellow.
Irish Sea Moss: Collagen
Irish moss is perfect for anyone who follows any type of plant-based diet, but it is especially beneficial for vegans, as it is high in Taurine, which comes from sulfurs that contain amino acids. Instead of using gelatin, which comes from the collagen in animals’ bones, use a sea vegetable to make vegan foods, like marshmallows or ice cream. The carrageenan in the moss can be used to thicken many vegan foods.
Irish Sea Moss: Health Benefits
A unique adaptation of the sea moss is that it contains an analog of thyroid hormone, as well as the hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine. When eaten, these hormones can help to repair deficiencies in the human body, especially for people suffering from irregular thyroid function. This is one of the most underrated benefit of Irish sea moss.
Since there's a lot of iodine in Irish sea moss, it's essential for a healthy thyroid gland.
Strictly speaking, Irish sea moss is actually better categorized under red algae. It's been collected by hand for centuries and saved many from starvation during the Great Potato Famine in the 1800s. Modern-day Irish sea moss is a recently-discovered superfood, with benefits that include being a potent collagen source.
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