As if聽sushi cakes聽and sushi donuts weren鈥檛 enough, science has given us another reason to indulge our seaweed cravings. According to a new study published in the聽Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, seaweed can also help counteract food allergies. This might be great news for the 15 million Americans who suffer from food allergies each year.

Asian woman eating sushi

A staple in sushi restaurants, seaweed is a popular聽health food聽that is sprouting up in salads, popcorn and even granola.聽Eager to find out if it helped with food allergies, the researchers聽rounded up a group of mice that had聽a sensitivity to shellfish. After exposing them聽to the allergen, half of the mice were fed聽Gracilaria lemaneiformis, a type of red algae seaweed.

When compared to those that weren鈥檛 fed the seaweed, the mice that ate it聽experienced reduced food allergy symptoms. While this discovery is promising, the researchers noted that further studies are needed to better understand seaweed鈥檚 power to combat food allergies.

How to Pick Seaweed That鈥檚 Good for You

Dried seaweed wafers

Seaweed is low in calories and packed with nutrients, including vitamins A and C, calcium and iodine 鈥斅燼n element that聽regulates our thyroid and hormones.聽While it certainly can鈥檛 hurt to nosh on this super food once in a while, it鈥檚 important to keep in mind that not all seaweed is created equal. Koko Collado, Founder of Namaste Holistic Health, recommends considering the following when buying seaweed products:

1. Know where your seaweed was grown.聽If the ocean water in which the seaweed grew is contaminated, chances are your seaweed is as well. Generally, if the seaweed comes from the US, it can be regarded as safe, since the FDA regulates its use in food. However, the FDA does not regulate its use in supplements, so talk to your doctor before taking any sort of seaweed pill.

2. Avoid monosodium glutamate (MSG).聽This source of sodium is used as a flavor enhancer and can be found in Asian foods and seaweed products. Although generally recognized as safe by the FDA, MSG has been known to cause headaches, sweating and rapid heart rates.

3. Steer clear of carrageenan.聽This popular聽food additive comes from red seaweed and is often used as a thickener for ice cream, cottage cheese and soy or almond milk. According to Dr. Joanne K. Tobacman, a leading researcher on the product, carrageenan has shown to cause stomach problems and chronic inflammation, which is why she recommends avoiding it altogether.

Would you add seaweed to your diet? Tweet us your thoughts @BritandCo!

(Photos via Getty)