If you are the shopper who takes time to look at the ingredients from what you buy, you might have come across carrageenan. This popular extract from seaweed is present in several foods consumed today. It has a unique thickening ability that matches starch and flour. Sometimes it is likened to the gravy. Carrageenan may be used to separate almond milk through improving texture. It binds ingredients together improving their texture. Also, carrageenan is used when making ice creams to prevent the formation of ice crystals. Foods low in fat such as yogurt end up tasting equally good as the fatty versions. Carrageenan is also present in infant formula where it helps babies get the right nutrients required.

When it comes to nutrition, carrageenan is neutral. Being dominantly fiber based it is quite indigestible to the human body. Thus, it enhances your food without adversely affecting your diet. New research that has emerged shows that the seaweed extract enhances your food without adversely affecting your diet. New research shows that carrageenan lacks minerals and vitamins. There are other health benefits apart from minerals and vitamins that are associated with this seaweed extract. Here are some unrecognized health benefits associated with this food additive.

Improving gut health

good healthResults from this study reveal several prebiotic effects linked to carrageenan consumption. This additive can influence the development of beneficial microbial communities present in your digestive tract. This eventually leads to improved immune responses and enhanced gut health. Another study shows how carrageenan protects your inner intestinal lining from undergoing corrosion by alcohol. This safeguards you from stomach ulcers.

An antioxidant

Recent studies show how carrageenan exhibits antioxidant activity, effectively neutralizing free radicals which can be harmful when unchecked. The free radicals are repeatedly linked to several different health issues. For instance, eye disease, diabetes, cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, carrageenan’s antioxidant capabilities are highly touted.

Reduced cholesterol

An accumulation of bad cholesterol results in atherosclerosis. This increases your likelihood of suffering from strokes or heart attacks. A study carried out on the effects of cholesterol related effects indicate that a regular carrageenan diet results in lipid eyes and lower levels of blood cholesterol. Another study that supports these findings points out that carrageenan can also be used to prevent atherosclerosis; a cardiovascular disease.

Flu and cold treatment

good for coldsThere are millions of common cold cases reported annually. In adults, it occurs twice or thrice, while in children the figure is much higher. Despite the inconvenience of the flu most people have come to accept it as a normal occurrence. Recent studies carried out by Austria associate carrageenan with antiviral properties. Some of these properties make it valued as a food thickener and an effective treatment to nasal sprays.

Studies show that carrageenan gel can interact with viruses preventing their attraction to the nasal walls curbing their propagation. Another study finds that carrageenan nasal sprays are effective in the treatment of influenza, even right after infection. The study is promising as carrageenan Healthy attributes seem to work regardless of the cold virus.