Digestive issues are no fun to deal with. You’ve probably heard the recent buzz around gut health and how taking care of the gut is essentially the best way to resolve digestion issues. And now, recent research has shown that getting more of a certain food could help combat tricky problems like IBS and other tummy woes.
Researchers from the University of California–San Diego have discovered that a particular species of algae (called C. reinhardtii) — which is found in seaweed — could be the answer to many of our digestive health woes. For the study, 51 human subjects (some of whom experienced symptoms of IBS) were given daily spoonfuls of the powdered algae for a one-month period. At the end of the trial, they were asked to report on their digestive symptoms. It was found that those who struggled with IBS-like symptoms reported more regular bowel movements, less bloating, and less bowel discomfort.
What was even more interesting was that the researchers also collected stool samples to track any changes to the gut microbiome (the bacterial environment of the gut). The results from this study showed that subjects who did not previously have digestive issues didn’t suffer any harmful changes in their microbiome from the algae, which many other interventions can cause. For example, consuming too much kombucha, which is often regarded as a potent gut-healer, can actually cause digestive distress. In other words, getting some of this algae in your diet could be a much safer option for healing the gut, plus it’s got so many other health benefits!
This type of algae can be found in seaweed, which is a widely consumed nutritional superfood. Seaweeds like nori, kombu, and wakame, for example, are extremely high in iodine and may help to improve thyroid health. Get it from seaweed snacks like these made by Annie Chunn ($10.99 for a pack of 12, Amazon) or from foods like sushi and Japanese miso soup!
Healing your gut never tasted so good.