Can you eat sea cucumbers?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Can you eat sea cucumbers?. We will also discuss the questions of what sea cucumbers are, their nutrient composition, health benefits, and potential downsides of eating sea cucumbers.

Can you eat sea cucumbers?

Yes, you can eat sea cucumbers. Although they are unusual seafood to many, for millennia, Asian and Middle Eastern cultures have used sea cucumbers as a food source and therapeutic element for several years. 

Sea cucumbers are a nutrient-dense food as they are low in calories and fat, but high in protein.

What are sea cucumbers?

Sea cucumbers are marine organisms that reside on the seabed all over the world, although the Pacific Ocean has the largest population. 

The majority of sea cucumbers have soft, tubular bodies that resemble worms or caterpillars. Divers collect them and they are also farmed commercially in big man-made ponds.   

What is the nutrient profile of sea cucumbers?

Sea cucumbers are unusual seafood with great nutrients essential for bodily functions. 

The Alaskan yane sea cucumber, four ounces or 112 grams in serving size, provides:

  • 60 calories
  • 14 grams of protein.
  • Less than one gram of fat
  • 8% of the Daily Value for Vitamin A 
  • 81 percent of the daily value for Riboflavin (B2)
  • 22% of the daily value of Niacin B3
  • 3% of the daily value for Calcium
  • 4% of the daily value for Magnesium

Sea cucumbers also include a variety of potent compounds, such as antioxidants, that are beneficial to your health.

What are the health benefits of eating sea cucumbers?

The dense nutrient profile of sea cucumbers translates into numerous benefits derived from their consumption. A variety of health advantages have been associated with sea cucumbers, and they include:

Cancer-preventative characteristics

Sea cucumbers have compounds that may aid in the battle against cancer cells.

Vietnamese sea cucumbers have been found to contain triterpene diglycosides that are harmful to five types of cancer cells, including breast, prostate, and skin cancer cells.

The triterpene ds-echinoside A, which comes from sea cucumbers, also inhibited the spread and proliferation of human liver cancer cells.

Antimicrobial properties

Black sea cucumber extracts were found to inhibit bacteria such as E. coli, S. aureus, and S. typhi, which can all cause illness. Candida albicans is an opportunistic yeast that can cause infections if levels go out of hand, especially in immunocompromised people who have been inhibited by sea cucumbers. 

According to studies, home residents with oral Candida overgrowth who consumed a jelly containing Japanese sea cucumber extract had less Candida overgrowth. In addition, some animal studies found that black sea cucumbers succumb to sepsis, a life-threatening illness caused by dangerous bacteria.

Promotes the health of the heart and liver.

Sea cucumber has been shown to boost heart and liver health in several animal experiments and requires more animal experimentation to ascertain these health benefits. 

When rats with high blood pressure were offered white-bottomed sea cucumber extract, their blood pressure dropped significantly compared to rats who were not administered the extract.

Likewise,  a diet high in chocolate chip sea cucumber dramatically lowered total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides in young rats, according to another study. 

Furthermore, a single dose of black sea cucumber extract dramatically reduced oxidative stress and liver damage in rats with hepatorenal illness, as well as improved liver and kidney function.

Supports healthy weight

Sea cucumbers are a weight-loss-friendly food since they are low in calories and fat and high in protein. Protein components in meals and snacks help you stay full by slowing your stomach’s emptying. This can help you eat fewer calories and keep your blood sugar levels in check. 

Protein-rich foods, such as sea cucumbers, may be especially good for diabetics who are trying to keep their blood sugar levels under control. Protein-rich diets may also enhance heart health, blood pressure control, and bone density.

What are the potential downsides of eating sea cucumbers?

While sea cucumbers have been consumed for generations and are generally regarded as harmless, there are some potential health risks.

  • Some species have anticoagulant qualities, which means they can thin the blood. To prevent the risk of increased bleeding, those on blood-thinning drugs should avoid sea cucumbers, especially in concentrated supplement form.
  • Second, those with shellfish allergies may be allergic to sea cucumbers. Sea cucumbers are not connected to shellfish, yet they can become cross-contaminated in seafood restaurants or processing plants.
  • Additionally, increased global demand has resulted in a reduction in the population of sea cucumbers. Unsustainable fishing methods have had a considerable impact on these species, which play a crucial role in the ecosystem of ocean reefs.

Conclusion 

In this brief guide, we have answered the question, “Can you eat sea cucumbers?.” We have also discussed the questions of what sea cucumbers are, their nutrient composition, health benefits, and potential downsides of eating sea cucumbers.

Citation

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sea-cucumber#uses
https://www.thespruceeats.com/sea-cucumber-overview-695159