- Are Sea Veggies the Superfood Missing from Your Kitchen?
- A Visual Guide to Sea Vegetables
- About the Author
- 1. Kombu
- 2. Nori
- 3. Wakame
- 4. Hijiki
- 5. Irish Moss
- The Power of Sea Vegetables
- For Love of the Sea……..Vegetables
- Therapeutic Properties of Seaweed
- Why Seaweeds Rock?
- Sea Vegetable Consumption
- Health & Longevity
- Sea Vegetable Recipes
- List of Sea Vegetables
- Sea Vegetable List – A Few Favorites For You To Try
- These sea vegetables must be tried out!
- 13 Anti-Aging Sea Vegetables You NEED To Try
- Why Sea Vegetables?
- Benefits of sea vegetables:
- The Many Different Sea Vegetables
- Here are 12 other popular sea vegetables worth trying:
- Here are some other wonderful, yet less popular sea vegetables:
- Where To Find Sea Vegetables
- Sample a Sea Vegetable
- Sea Vegetables 101
Are Sea Veggies the Superfood Missing from Your Kitchen?
You know about the seaweed that keeps your sushi together, but it’s not the only sea plant in the ocean that has major health benefits. (Don’t forget, it’s also The Most Surprising Source of Protein!) Other varieties include dulse, nori, wakame, agar agar, arame, sea palm, spirulina, and kombu. Edible seaweeds have long been a staple in Asian cultures, and they still play a role in the local dietary guidelines, explains Lindsey Toth, R.D., a Chicago-based nutritionist. “Sea veggies are a nice source of chlorophyll and dietary fiber, plus they have a pleasant salty flavor which comes from a balanced combination of sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and other trace minerals naturally found in the ocean,” adds Molly Siegler, the global food editor at Whole Foods Market.
Why You Should Eat Sea Veggies
Now, big-name brands are getting in on the ocean action, with companies like Naked Juice, which Toth works with, incorporating the superfood into new products. Dulse, a type of red seaweed that includes high levels of the micro-minerals copper, magnesium, and iodine, made it’s way into a new blend from Naked Juice called Sea Greens Juice Smoothie. “One bottle of the juice actually contains 60 percent of your recommended daily intake for iodine, which is critical for a healthy thyroid, the gland that controls your body’s metabolism and is also responsible for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and infancy,” says Toth. Iodine is found in many types of fish, dairy products, and iodized salt, but if you follow a mostly plant-based diet, sea veggies are a great source of the essential mineral.
Where to Buy Sea Veggies
It’s much easier to find sea veggies than it used to be, explains Toth, partially because they are being harvested in the U.S. now, making them more accessible and less expensive. Sea veggies are not usually found raw but dried, and you can look for them in the international food aisle of your grocery store, recommends Siegler. Drying the seaweed after harvesting helps to preserve the nutrients. When it’s time to eat, either rehydrate it with water or use the dried form as is. You can also find kelp noodles and some rehydrated varieties of sea greens in the cold dairy section, says Siegler.
How to Eat Sea Veggies
Once you’ve got your greens home, they’re so versatile to use that you can throw them into almost any dish, as you probably do with spinach. Most sea veggies have a deep savory flavor, called umami, so they also work to satisfy cravings for something rich, quelling the need to reach for less healthy indulgent foods. (Try these other 12 Healthy Umami-Flavored Foods too.) Use rehydrated arame in a breakfast quiche, sprinkle powdered dulse on popcorn, and toss nori chips with roasted nuts and seeds, suggests Siegler. Sea palm-which look like mini palm trees-is great sauteed or added to soups and salads, while the super tender wakame is a perfect addition to a stir-fry, she says. Dulse is also a great choice as it can be eaten straight from the bag like jerky, or pan-fried for a bacon-like experience. Yep, bacon. That’s definitely a “veggie” you can get behind.
- By Sara Angle @saraangle22
A Visual Guide to Sea Vegetables
By Mark Sisson
About 160,000 years ago the human diet expanded to include seafood. Early humans became coastal dwellers at least that long ago, and ever since then we’ve been inextricably linked to the sea. The sea contains our most reliable source (when we aren’t dining on the brains of ruminants) of the all-important, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. And then there’s the edible sea vegetation. I’ve written briefly about it before, but edible seaweed seems to be lacking from most folks’ diets, even those eating an otherwise complete Primal diet. For those in Western countries, the only seaweed they’ll happen across on a regular basis comes stuffed with rice and raw fish. It’s not a modern staple, unless you’re in Asia, and it simply isn’t on most people’s radars. It should be, though.
Pretty much every culture with coastal access throughout history made culinary use of sea vegetation. The Japanese and other Asian countries are famous for their seaweed consumption, but even the Vikings and Celts would chew on dried dulse for sustenance (and the red algae even figures into some of the old Norse epic sagas). Hawaiians and Polynesians cultivated kelp farms. Plato famously opined the “sea cures all evils,” and the ancient Greeks regularly ate edible seaweed. Any food with such a wide-ranging history of use across various cultures and time periods piques my interest.
The sea is an especially potent source of minerals. It’s an entirely different story with soil, which most experts agree is being rapidly depleted of mineral content by intensive over farming. And since the plants we eat are only as mineral-rich as the soil in which they grow, most commercial vegetation that ends up on our plates isn’t nearly as nutritious as the stuff your grandparents ate, let alone what Grok ate. Buying from smaller farms can mitigate the deficiencies to a certain extent, since those guys are generally more mindful of soil quality and replenishment (rather than just trying to produce the biggest, most durable fruits and vegetables in the shortest amount of time, nutrition and taste be damned), but incorporating sea vegetables into your diet is an affordable, delicious, surefire way to obtain missing mineral content.
Whereas terrestrial vegetables are limited to what they can obtain from the soil, sea vegetables spend their entire lives luxuriating in the world’s largest, oldest, most complete mineral bath. They soak it up and are among the richest sources of iodine, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, manganese, and all other (56 of ‘em in total) minerals essential to the human body. Getting precise numbers for the mineral content of each variety, though, is difficult, because it varies based on location, water temperature, water depth, climate, and season. Rest assured, though, that these things are extremely nutritious, however variable the specifics may be.
There are dozens upon dozens of edible seaweed varieties, so variety should never be an issue. You could conceivably wade out into the shallows of your local coastline, grab a fistful of slimy, slippery vegetation, and consume it without any ill effects. In fact, the only poisonous seaweed I’m aware of is a filamentous, blue-green algae called lyngbya majuscula, or fireweed. Here’s a picture so you know what to avoid. Otherwise, go crazy. Go wild. Try ‘em all. Wild, fresh, dried, or even noodled. Here are a few of the more popular varieties:
Kelp is the most readily available type of edible seaweed. In Asian countries, kombu and wakame are popular forms of edible kelp. You’ll generally find kelp in its dried form; soaking it for several minutes makes it pliable and edible, or you can add it directly to soups for extract the nutrients. Kelp also comes in granulated form, to be used in place of salt or as a mineral supplement to your food. A quarter teaspoon of this brand gives you plenty of iodine (over 2000% of the RDA), so if you’re looking to add more iodine to your diet, this is a fantastic way. If you’re looking to reduce your intake, you might try other seaweeds.
Kombu is a type of kelp, a brown algae most commonly eaten in Japan. It comes dried, for soup or broth, or fresh, to be eaten as sashimi.
Add a five inch strip to a pot of water with a bit of salt and pepper for a simple, mineral-rich broth, or incorporate a few more ingredients and make Aaron Blaisdell’s Kombu Egg Soup. Be sure to eat the chewy kombu after.
Wakame is another popular one in Japan and Korea, where restaurants will often serve fresh (or reconstituted) wakame tossed with a bit of sesame oil over a bed of lettuce. I highly recommend trying this out – the chewy robustness of the seaweed holds up well against the delicate lettuce.
Wakame often appears in miso soups or simple broths, floating on the top in thin strips. It has about the same nutrient composition as kombu and other kelps (iodine, magnesium, calcium, etc).
Arame is brown Japanese kelp used primarily in Japan, China, and Korea, but Peruvian and Indonesian cuisine employs it as well. It has a sweet, mild flavor, making it a great sea vegetable for beginners. Try sautéing soaked, drained arame with winter squash, onions, butter, and a bit of chili pepper for a great side dish for grilled meat or fish. Soak dried arame for five minutes before using (unless it’s going right into a soup). A tablespoon of dried arame will give you 0.7 mg of iodine.
Dulse is a red seaweed that attaches itself to rocks in the North Atlantic and Northwest Pacific oceans. It’s often shredded, dried, and sprinkled on soups, but fresh dulse can be sautéed with butter and garlic, or rubbed with olive oil and salt and roasted in the oven to make chips. I’ve even eaten handfuls straight out of the bag, treating it like edible Big League Chew that won’t destroy your tooth enamel. It has less iodine (by most accounts, about 1/5 of the amount) than kombu, with high amounts of magnesium and calcium. Dulse also comes in shakable flakes, similar to granulated kelp.
Anyone who’s eaten sushi knows nori. It’s the mildest form of seaweed , generally coming roasted in sheets or squares. Compared to other sea vegetables, it’s also fairly low in minerals and other nutrients, but that just means you can eat even more of it. Try wrapping up gobs of tuna salad (tossed in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, sprinkled with kelp granules, perhaps) with your nori squares for a quick, healthy snack, or just eat them plain.
Also known as carrageen moss (yes, as in carageenan, the common thickening agent that makes up about 55% of Irish moss’ bulk), Irish moss grows along the rocky Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America. It’s also about 15% mineral and 10% protein, and it softens into a jelly-like substance when heated in liquid. Folks in the Caribbean boil Irish moss until it’s jelly, add flavoring like vanilla or cinnamon, and top it off with rum and milk. The concoction is supposed to fight impotence and confer aphrodisiac qualities. The Irish and Scottish boil the stuff to make a tapioca-like pudding dessert. It might be interesting to play with some Primal seaweed pudding recipes, which could be incredibly nutritious (Irish moss is high in iodine, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc, bromine, and other minerals) if you avoid sugar. Anyone game?
Sometimes called dabberlocks, badderlocks, or winged kelp, alaria esculenta is a traditional sea vegetable found in the far north Atlantic Ocean. Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and Ireland all count it among their traditional foods. It’s a brown seaweed with a large central rib, from which wavy membranes shoot out on either side. Alaria was traditionally dried, then added to soups and stews. A big strip of it goes well in a pot of chili and increases the mineral content considerably.
I understand that some people just don’t dig the flavor of sea vegetables, and that’s fine. Soups and broths are excellent ways to extract the bulk of the useful minerals and nutrients from sea vegetables; eating the stuff itself is entirely optional (although probably optimal). Still, give it a try. For my money, the texture of sea vegetables is unrivaled and incredibly unique.
One thing to keep in mind is that sea vegetables have historically been used as garnishes, flavorants, stock bases, and side dishes. You won’t see heaping piles of kelp replacing spinach or lettuce in salads in Japanese households, for example. Because they’re so incredibly nutrient-and-mineral-dense, sea vegetables can be eaten to excess. Our iodine RDA of 150 micrograms is low. The Japanese typically get upwards of 5-10 mg iodine daily without ill effects (in fact, their traditional health and longevity is rather excellent), but iodine toxicity does exist. Think of sea vegetables as a supplement, albeit a supplement to be used on a regular basis.
Warnings about heavy metal or pollutant toxicity due to consumption of sea vegetables are understandable. If sea vegetables soak up all the beneficial compounds floating around our oceans, it seems plausible that they’d also absorb the bad stuff – mercury, arsenic, lead, etc. Most studies have shown that heavy metal toxicity via seaweed consumption just doesn’t really happen. Only one type, called hijiki, has consistently been shown to possess levels of heavy metals, especially arsenic, that approach toxicity. Avoid hijiki and you should be okay.
I wish I could give accurate, precise figures for mineral and nutrient content of sea vegetables, but I can’t in good conscience. To me, though, that adds a bit of excitement to eating. You know it’s sustained multiple cultures over multiple time periods, and you know it contains the full range of essential minerals – you just do not have the hard numbers in front of you. Well, neither did Grok, nor the Vikings, nor the Pacific Islanders, nor the chronic disease-free Japanese villagers munching on this stuff on a daily basis. It was just there and it was edible and apparently nourishing. I’ll for one continue to get some of my veggies from the sea.
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About the Author
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.
What are sea vegetables? They are not among the most common food in the United States, but they are a staple in many other countries. Seaweed is not just something that tickles your toes at the beach – it’s also a complete protein food that is full of chlorophyll and minerals. Sea vegetables are also one of the most alkalizing foods on the planet. If you are still not totally sold on incorporating sea veggies into your diet, you can start with a good greens powder to add to smoothies or water, and a quality magnesium citrate supplement and go from there. But we think you’ll not only like, but actually end up craving, these vegetables of the ocean.
HOW DO I EAT THIS?
Obviously, most of us immediately jump to sushi, and that is a great way to eat sea vegetables, including healthy nori rolls and seaweed salad. However, sea vegetables are extremely versatile and can be easily incorporated into many dishes such as soups, salads, and stir-fries. Even yummy seaweed snacks are available now (just check those ingredient lists carefully).
Sea vegetables also contain a rich amount of vitamins helping improve the health of skin, hair, and nails. In fact, they have more minerals than most vegetables we find in the supermarket by a large margin. Sea vegetables can also help lower our risk of estrogen-related cancers, and the iodine in this resource is vital for healthy thyroid function. They also contain some omega-3 fatty acid, which can be a vegan alternative to a healthy fish oil supplement.
WHAT TYPES OF SEA VEGETABLES ARE THERE?
- Agar is generally a good option as a vegan substitute for gelatin, as it can be used as a thickening agent. It’s high in protein and comes from red seaweed.
- Arame is a very mild sea vegetable, making it a great one to try for the first time. It also tends to double in size when soaked.
- Dulse is known for its ability to improve thyroid function and vision. It’s also easy to add to foods and dressings, as it is available as flakes.
- Hijiki is a very versatile seaweed, and easy to prepare. It can help with our bone health due to the high amount of calcium.
- Kelp contains B vitamins, which can provide energy and also protects our nervous system. You can also eat kelp in the form of raw kelp noodles, which is a great gluten-free option when looking for a pasta or noodle substitute.
- Kombu is rich in iron, which helps protect us from anemia. Kombu is called the “king of seaweed” as it can be used to make dashi, or Japanese broth.
- Nori is one of the most popular sea veggies, as this is the one that wraps sushi rolls. You don’t need to stick to just sushi, you can wrap many things (including salad) in nori sheets.
- Wakame is a familiar seaweed, as it is often used in miso soups. It also is a good source of folate and vitamin K.
As with everything, quality is important. Many brands that sell seaweed products now offer information on their websites concerning sourcing and radiation prevention. It’s important to be informed and do a little homework, but very worthwhile.
Here is an easy recipe for a miso broth, which you can also consume on the 21-Day Clean Program, as fermented soy products in small amounts are fine. You can also choose chickpea miso as an alternative.
1 cup boiling water
2 Tablespoons of miso
1 TBS chopped nori, wakame or kombu
2 TBS minced green onions
1 TBS grated ginger
1 TBS garlic
Mix and simmer for 10 minutes, and enjoy! Written by Clean Team
If you like this article, you might also be interested in Healthy Green Smoothies to Increase Energy
Do you eat sea vegetables in your diet? Edible sea vegetables can come in all shapes and sizes and most of them are rich in important vitamins and minerals. According to World’s Healthiest Foods, the most common nutrients in sea vegetables include calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium, and zinc.
Beyond being a rich source of everyday nutrients, sea vegetables are a versatile ingredient in your kitchen. While there are thousands of varieties of sea vegetables, only a handful are edible, each with their own unique flavor, texture, and culinary use. Nori, for example, is great for sushi but also makes a healthy snack. Hijiki shines in salads while kombu makes a delicious broth. Interested in learning about which sea vegetables to try? Read on for some of our favorite picks:
Kombu is a type of kelp commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is dark in color and comes packaged in large, dried sheets with a thick, almost leathery texture. Like most sea vegetables, kombu is a good source of calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium, and zinc. Kombu, in particular, is one of the highest sources of plant-based iodine.
Kombu is best used to make kombu dashi, a type of broth that is the base of many Japanese foods, like miso broth or nimono, a simmering technique. While dashi often includes bonito fish flakes, in shojin ryori, or Japanese Buddhist cuisine, it is made with kombu and dried Shiitake mushrooms. Learn how to make kombu dashi in this recipe for Kake Udon. Don’t discard the kombu after it’s been used — freeze it, because it can be used to make another batch of dashi (though the umami flavor won’t be as strong). Use dashi to make Japanese simmered vegetables, as the base for miso soup, ramen, and other noodle soups. You can also throw a small (1 or 2-inch) piece of kombu into a pot of dry beans, to help make them more digestible or at a piece to any soup or stew to add more savory flavor.
Look or kombu in the international aisle of your local grocery store. If you live near an Asian supermarket, you’ll likely be able to find it for a cheaper price. Or, you can pick up a pack of these Eden Kombu Strips for $10.69 per 2.1-ounce bag.
Most of us probably know nori as the thin, papery wrapping for sushi or more recently, seaweed snacks. On its own, nori is crisp with grassy, slightly umami flavor. Unlike kombu, there is a little more processing behind nori. It is actually made from shredded seaweed that is then pressed into paper-thin sheets. It is a good source of vitamin K and DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid commonly found in seafood, but regular consumption of nori may reduce blood pressure, so those taking blood pressure medication should avoid nori. Nori snacks may also be high in sodium, so if you are on a low-sodium diet, be mindful of how much you eat.
Beyond plant-based sushi, nori has other culinary uses. Large sheets can be used to make sushi burritos or to add fishy flavor to fish-free dishes, as in these White Bean and Jackfruit Fishsticks or this Hearts of Palm Calamari. Finely shredded nori can also add authentic flavor to chickpea “tuna” mash. Beyond that, plain nori can be enjoyed as a snack (try popping it into your toaster oven to crisp it up even more). Shredded nori or nori mixed into furikake also pairs nicely on top of plain rice or noodle soups like ramen.
As with kombu, nori can be found in the international aisle of the grocery store or at the Asian supermarket for a cheaper price. You can also pick up a package of this Nakai Deluxe Sushi Nori, which contains 50 sheets, for about $15.
Wakame is a type of edible brown seaweed common in Japanese, Koren, and Chinese cuisine that comes with the same spectrum of vitamins and minerals that you can find in other sea vegetables. When dry, wakame looks like thick brown shreds, similar to dried seaweed you might find washed up on a beach shoreline. When hydrated, it has a slightly chewy texture and umami flavor. Wakame is often the base of the seaweed salad you find on the menu at many Asian restaurants and is flavorful enough to eat on its own. For a salad, try this Edamame Seaweed Salad. It can also be used to make Vegan Fish Sauce, which is a seasoning or base in many Thai and Vietnamese dishes.
Beyond seaweed salad, wakame can be used to add fishy flavor to vegan seafood dishes. This Tofu Poke combines shredded wakame, soy sauce, sesame seeds, garlic, and ginger for a refreshing, fish-free poke and it is used in this Fillet-o’ Fishless Artichoke Sandwich to give it the right flavor.
Look for wakame in the same spots you would find other varieties of seaweed, or pick up a four-ounce package of this VitaminSea Raw Wild Wakame Flakes for about $15.
Hijiki is a type of Japanese brown seaweed that’s harvested from the country’s rocky coast before being dried, packaged, and sold. It is dark in color, resembles black tea in dried form, and has a slightly sweet, umami fragrance. When hydrated, it has an earthy flavor similar to mushrooms. There are also two different varieties —nagahijiki, which is the stems, and mehijiki, the leaves. Like other seaweeds, it is a good source of iodine, magnesium, calcium, and potassium.
One of the most popular ways to eat this savory seaweed in Japan is a dish called hijiki no nimono, or hijiki simmered in dashi, mirin, soy sauce, and sake. Simmered hijiki can also be tossed in salads, like this Spicy Cucumber Avocado Salad or this Chopped Detox Salad. It also pairs well with a salad with shredded carrot, edamame, and konyac or noodles, as in this Carrot and Soba Noodle Salad. Unlike the other sea vegetables mentioned above, hijiki is not ideal for marrying dishes with fishy flavor.
Hijiki can be on the pricier side at everyday grocery stores, so keep an eye out at the Asian supermarket. Or, pick up a four-ounce package of Wel-Pac Hijiki Dried Seaweed for about $4.50.
5. Irish Moss
Also called carrageen moss and sea moss, Irish moss is a type of red algae that grows on the rocky coasts of the Atlantic in both Europe and North America. In terms of nutrition, Irish moss is a good source of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, and zinc. It is most likely best known through carrageenan, an ingredient that is used as a thickener or stabilizer in many commercially sold non-dairy milks and vegan ice creams.
When dry, Irish moss is stringy, light brown or taupe in color, and covered with salt. A light brown color indicates that it has been harvested in the wild, while the lighter color means that it is farm grown. Historically, Irish moss has been used in Ireland and Scotland to make a pannacotta-like dessert made from vanilla, cinnamon, and brandy and it has also been used to make jelly desserts in East Asian cuisine. In Jamaica and Trinidad, Irish moss is boiled and combined with cinnamon and milk to make sea moss, a drink that is believed to be an aphrodisiac. You can often find sea moss drinks in Caribbean juice bars, where it is also offered as an add-in for smoothies. It is also said that Irish moss can be a useful ingredient in raw vegan “cooking,” specifically as a thickening agent for desserts, a binding agent for nut cheese, or as a thickener for a sauce.
One of the easiest ways to use Irish moss is to make a gel, which can be used to thicken smoothies. To do that, soak your Irish moss in filtered water overnight. Drain, then rinse the Irish moss to remove excess salt and sand, then place it in your blender or food processor. Use a 2 water to 1 Irish moss ratio, then blend until a thick gel forms. Transfer the gel to airtight containers or mason jars and add a spoonful or two to your smoothies.
Irish moss can be tricky to find in stores, but it’s not impossible. Check with your local health food store to see if they carry it. If you can’t find it, then you can buy a five-ounce package of Terrasoul Superfoods Irish Moss for about $11.50 online.
If you’re interested in finding more scrumptious vegan recipes, then we highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 8,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to ten new recipes per day. Check it out!
Lead image source: Edamame Seaweed Salad
The Power of Sea Vegetables
For Love of the Sea……..Vegetables
‘Food that will become the catalyst for real change in your health and life’.
We all know that seaweeds purify and maintain the ecological balance of the ocean. They can perform the same purification process on your body too. Seaweed is said to possess an electrolytic magnetic action and so releases excess body fluids from the congested cells, dissipating fatty wastes through the skin pores. In addition, they also replace depleted minerals such as potassium and iodine, boosting thyroid activity and help to maintain adrenal regulation and hormone balance. Clients who enrol in my ‘Natural Woman Programme’ are introduced to the incredible benefits of adding seaweeds to their diet.
Therapeutic Properties of Seaweed
Seaweed therapy is also recommended by its proponents for those affected by insomnia or sleep apnoea. By improving the quality of sleep, it automatically enhances your immunity levels and helps you feel relaxed and fresh. Adding seaweed to your diet can help minimize cellulite development on the skin by purifying it and giving your body a healthy toned look.
Seaweeds are simple, elegant natural foods that will nourish your body. Seaweed dishes are quick and easy to make and taste delicious. With an array of dressings to choose from you will be spoiled for choice. These ancient superfoods are loaded with nutrition! In fact, the phytonutrients present in them are so concentrated that you only need to eat a small amount to get their health benefits
Why Seaweeds Rock?
In a nutshell, Seaweeds are nature’s secret for a long and healthy life. What is more, the minerals in sea vegetables exist in a chelated, colloidal form that makes them readily ‘bioavailable’ for use in crucial bodily functions…….(in plain English) this simply means they are easier to digest and absorb.
Population studies show that people with a regular intake of sea vegetables show few symptoms of mineral depletion and the longevity of the people of Okinawa is believed to be partially due to their regular consumption of sea vegetables. Over the last few decades, medical researchers have discovered that a diet rich in sea vegetables reduces the risk of some diseases and helps the body eliminate toxins.
Sea Vegetable Consumption
The consumption of sea vegetables has a long history throughout the world and the health benefits of consuming seaweed were recognized over 3000 years ago particularly in Asia, where marine algae are still prized for their nutritional content. It is thus clear that sea vegetables have long been important to humans for food and other uses and are not just a modern health fad. Sea vegetables have traditionally been used in Asia to treat cancer, heart disease and thyroid problems. Japanese being the greatest consumers of seaweeds, most seaweed or sea vegetable varieties are best known by Japanese names.
Clearspring Foods have the best variety and delicious tasting sea vegetables. I have always been impressed by their high standards and continued commitment to making available genuine organic foods that taste amazing. I recommend you acquire a taste for this incredible food source that will make for strong blood, bones and vascular health.
Health & Longevity
Nori, Wakame, Kombu, Dulse, Arame, Hijiki, and Agar, all plants of the sea, are multicellular algae. Some are green, others are brown, or red, or even translucent. What they all have in common, besides growing in seawater, is that they’re all very nutritious, very high in iodine, minerals, protein, and lignans, the plant compounds with cancer-protective properties.
I have been eating sea vegetables since my teens and over the past three decades, I have introduced these superfoods via my women’s health seminars that I teach in many countries around the world. I have always been hugely enthusiastic about spreading the word on the benefits of sea vegetables. First and foremost, because of the incredible results I know I have achieved with my own health by having seaweeds as part of my diet. I cannot emphasise the value of these foods enough. I wax lyrical about them to everyone, perhaps I was a mermaid in my last life!!!! Seriously, the health benefits of these foods for bone health alone is unbelievable. My vision is to see these amazing superstar foods advertised en masse. Why? Because the incredible turn around I see in women’s hormonal and health problems when I incorporate sea vegetables into their diet is tremendous. ‘Food is our Future’ and Sea Vegetable dishes should be a part of that.
Sea Vegetable Recipes
I receive many requests for sea vegetable recipes and as many questions asking to explain the health benefits, and how often to use them, my answer is little but often. I use a small amount daily because I know that the mineral-rich content from the seaweeds is creating strong blood. That blood creates my cells, these cells create my tissue, my tissue creates my organs and hey presto, I have a strong body with great vitality and have the energy of someone half my age. What’s not to love about that?
Varying your sea vegetables just like those from land will give you the full spectrum of what they have to offer. Having miso soup daily is the perfect start to incorporating sea vegetables into your diet. The delicious stock made with Kombu or wakame delivers a power-packed nutritional punch. Sea vegetables come in many varieties and they all offer something special to our health. Calcium-rich hijiki and arame, antioxidant-rich wakame/kombu/kelp, potassium-rich dulse and magnesium-rich nori are the most commonly used and easily found sea plants.
Gifts From The Ocean
Nori used in sushi is rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, vitamin A, C, B2, and of course, iodine. Nori has the highest protein content 48% of dry weight and most easily digested of the seaweeds, rich in vitamins A, B1, and niacin, decreases cholesterol, high blood pressure, fatty cysts under the skin, warts, aids in digestion, especially with fried foods.
Wakame is another seaweed you might have encountered since its most commonly used in miso soup that is also served in Japanese restaurants. Wakame is high in B vitamins and essential fatty acids, which means it’s very good for your skin. This incredible sea vegetable has an inhibitor of the substance that breaks down the collagen so this food helps keep the collagen strong. Silky in texture and rich in Vitamin A calcium, minerals, and fibre. An amazing healthy food, it also lowers cholesterol and blood pressure.
Kombu a brownish-green sea vegetable, is used to treat thyroid conditions and is very rich in minerals and folate. I always add a small piece of Kombu to the pot when I am cooking beans. Both Kombu and kelp are excellent added to beans, as the minerals help to balance the protein and oils in them and increase digestibility. They also soften and break down tough fibres in beans and other foods cooked with them.
Dulse has a beautiful deep rosy-purple colour and is also commonly added to soups or, in a powder form, used as a thickening agent. It’s exceptionally high in iron, magnesium, beta carotene, and protein! It’s also a delicious snack, roasted for a few minutes until crisp.
Arame is a mild tasting sea vegetable that can be added to salads and almost anything else you wish to try it with. The dark brownish strands are rich in calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, folate, and vitamins A, and K.
Hijiki has a cooling thermal nature is a natural diuretic, resolves heat induced phlegm, detoxifies the body, softens hardened tissue areas and masses, benefits the thyroid and moistens dryness. I use Hijiki for menopausal issues with clients. Hijiki also hosts an excellent source of calcium, iron, and iodine, richly supplied in vitamins B2 and niacin, helps normalize blood sugar level, aids in weight loss, builds bones and teeth, soothes nerves, and supports hormone functions.
The Skinny on Seaweeds
Benefits of Seaweed for Women’s Health
- Harvard University has published a paper proposing that kelp (kombu and wakame) consumption might be a factor in the lower rates of breast cancer in Japan. They are now researching the effects of sea vegetables as a natural alternative to HRT. Sea vegetables are very high in lignans, plant substances that become phytoestrogens in the body, meaning that they help to block the chemical estrogens that can predispose people to cancers such as breast cancer.
- Nutrient-rich seaweeds help to slow down the process of ageing via their rich mineral content. Studies show that people with a regular intake of sea vegetables show few symptoms of mineral depletion.
- Seaweeds promote stable blood sugar levels. This mineral rich food also helps the body to keep its alkaline/acid balance in its unique range of polysaccharides removes pollutants and toxins and heavy metals, special pigments including chlorophyll clean the kidneys, better food absorption keeps us ‘clean”
- Seaweeds form new cells and are great to combat the effects of using antibiotics. Sea vegetables destroy harmful anaerobic bacteria due to its antibiotic activity. They strengthen the immune system, central nervous system and the lymphatic system which needs minerals to work well. These minerals come in abundance in seaweeds.
- Seaweeds are rich in antioxidants the antioxidant content of sea vegetables also deserves mention with respect to its health benefits. While sea vegetables do contain measurable amounts of polyphenols like carotenoids and flavonoids, they also contain other phytonutrient antioxidants, including several types of alkaloids that have been shown to possess antioxidant properties. Coupled with measurable amounts of antioxidant vitamins (like vitamins C and E) and antioxidant minerals (like manganese and zinc), sea vegetables can be expected to help us reduce our risk of unwanted oxidative stress and many types of cardiovascular problems that are associated with poor antioxidant intake.
- Seaweeds are very filling and satisfying, which aid in natural appetite suppression, and balances daily dietary intake, which in turn assists the body with weight loss efforts. Another great benefit to health is the anti-inflammatory properties due to the correct balance of acidity in the body, as seaweeds are highly alkaline.
- Seaweeds facilitate detoxification by cleansing the body of toxic pollutants. Every day we expose our body to environmental toxins and food additives. We breathe in, eat, drink and touch toxins – every day. Toxins are the unwanted or unfriendly visitors our bodies receive. Air pollution, chemical additives in our food and drinks, solvents in our homes. Toxins affect the proper functioning of our internal system. So even if we eat a healthy diet, the assimilation of nutrients in the body gets derailed as toxins build up along the intestinal walls. The result? Toxic “sludge” or debris.
Detoxing with Sea Vegetables
We need to “cleanse” our body, to flush out harmful toxins, so we stay healthy and rejuvenated. An effective system cleansing focuses on proper elimination (colon) and detoxification (liver). Fibre provides the “bulk” that aids in regular bowel movement and one of the best sources of fibre (aside from grains, beans, fruits and land vegetables) are sea vegetables. These astonishing sea vegetables help rid the body of heavy metals like lead, mercury and other pollutants. These toxic elements are converted into harmless salts that our bodies simply flush away.
Kombu is one of the most common types of seaweed which is believed to rid the body of toxins and heavy metals that cause a variety of health problems such as obesity, arthritis, skin problems and high blood pressure. Over and above the incredible benefits of seaweed foods, baths, body wraps, and medicinal teas are methods that I have used with clients for decades on my detoxification programmes. Kombu is my number one ingredient in the many ‘medicinal’ and ‘weight loss’ teas I create using Clearspring products. The benefits are innumerable and detoxing with seaweed is the safest and least harmful to your organs.
A seaweed mask draws out the impurities in our skin making us feel better, look better and rested. Regularly adding this as a ritual does wonders to our wellbeing. You will feel younger, with beautiful skin as you clean from the inside out with nature’s most powerful plants.
- Nori Seaweed Strips are readily available and can be consumed as a snack or as a supplement to your meals, with rice, in sandwiches, in salads, with soup, or on its own; they are simply irresistible and delicious. I always have Clearspring Nori Strips with me as my ‘snack attack’. Seaweeds break down and digest slowly compared to processed foods.
- Seaweed feeds the shafts and the ducts of the scalp to help improve the health of the hair. Hair becomes shiny, glowing, and full of body; nails become strong and even undergo a rapid growth process; the skin is softer, smoother, firmer and more toned. The number of minerals in their high concentrations found in the sea vegetables far surpasses that which is found on land in any one plant, and these minerals also represent as a whole, the most vital and complete combination for human beings
- For Weight Loss – Seaweeds are high in fibre and next to no calories. Research shows that seaweed is not only healthy but speeds up weight loss by blocking fat intake and promoting fat burning. There are countless claims for miracle cures for weight loss but only a few cases offer sound scientific evidence to back up these claims. It’s a proven fact that alginates (found in seaweeds) significantly reduce fat digestion. Seaweeds are also nutrient dense and loaded with minerals; (when your diet is rich in trace minerals you have fewer cravings.)
- For Digestive Health – Seaweeds break down and digest slowly compared to processed foods. This actually allows hormonal balancing to occur. Hormonal imbalance is the cause of weight gain. I suggest that you include at least one seaweed, in your daily diet plan.
- The nutrient density of seaweeds means a wealth of vitamins and minerals are distributed throughout your body delivering strength and energy. Many types of sea vegetables require only soaking for 5-10 minutes before adding to your dish. Other types of sea vegetables such as nori and kelp flakes can be used without soaking. Sautéing arame or hijiki with some sweet vegetables is an absolute treat.
Enjoy the gifts of the ocean.
In good health
List of Sea Vegetables
What an amazing nutrient profile this list of sea vegetables has. When compared with land vegetables we see they have 10 to 20 times the mineral content including iodine, calcium, and iron. Generally you won’t be consuming large portions of these nutritional power houses, although I have sat down to large bowls of soaked and rinsed dulse as a nice chaser to a green salad. And many times after rinsing I’ll mix large handfuls into my salad.
The list below contains varieties that can be found and eaten raw. There may be others, but this is a nice start. Many varieties of sea vegetables are quite tough and need to be boiled to make them digestible, so read labels carefully when you do your shopping. Check to see if it is sun dried or dried below 108 degrees, and if it’s been tested for toxins. After you find some varieties you like buying in bulk will save you money.
Sea vegetables are capable of binding with heavy metals and radioactive toxins in the body to safely escort them out of the body. When my dentist found an amalgam filing underneath an old crown that was being replaced he had me take some chlorella before he proceeded. Now that’s holistic dentistry. Perhaps now you’re beginning to see why this list is so important for good health to so many.
Out of this list of sea vegetables I would say dulse is the one that people enjoy the most. It’s very soft on the palate and actually melts in your mouth. It can be added to virtually any type of dish or eaten as a side to boost the overall mineral content. It can be used as a salt replacement when added to dishes, however if you intend on having larger quantities I would suggest rinsing it briefly to remove some of the sodium from the outside.
This list of sea vegetables also contains the algae chlorella and spirulina. These algae absorb toxins better than any other natural food and contain nine essential amino acids in a balanced and very easily digested form. They are both very high in chlorophyll, a very important nutrient. Chlorophyll is also a great purifier and works throughout the digestive tract to do just that. Adding a tablespoon of these algae to a green smoothie is a wonderful way to take them.
Some in the raw food movement don’t agree with eating sea vegetables, but it’s documented that humans living near bodies of water have included sea vegetables in their diets for thousands of years and perhaps much much longer. The Aztecs were one of the many ancient civilizations that consumed spirulina. I suggest you try the list of sea vegetables to find out what works well for you. And just as with all the foods you eat, choose quality when selecting sea vegetables or algae.
Chlorella (an algae) – a true super food , chlorophyll rich, anti-cancer, heavy metal and synthetic toxin removal, RNA, DNA, protein, mineral rich
Dulse – a nutritional powerhouse, alkaline, beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and most of the B vitamins, including B6, contains high levels of iodine, as well as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium and zinc. A quarter-ounce of dulse provides about 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance of iron, and one cup of dulse can provide 4 to 6 grams of protein.
Wakame – beta carotene, vitamin E, folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, omega 3
This is the end of this list of sea vegetables. To see other lists of raw foods go to the links below.
Raw Foods Home > List of Raw Foods > List of Sea Vegetables
Sea Vegetable List – A Few Favorites For You To Try
The following sea vegetable list includes some of the most popular varieties of sea vegetables. It is not all-inclusive, however. If you have a favorite that is not shown here, please share it with us in the comments section directly below this article.
You may think it strange to eat sea vegetables but these superfoods should become part of your diet. Sea vegetables have a rich, salty taste of their own and they make a great addition to salads, soups, pastas, stews, grains, and other vegetables. Below is a list of sea vegetables that you may want to try. You’ll be surprised to discover how good they can be.
- Kelp – As one of the most nutritious sea vegetables you can eat, kelp offers the most vitamin and mineral content compared to other foods. Virtually every essential nutrient can be found in sea kelp. In addition to being a good source of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, kelp contains the all-important mineral iodine. Although iodine is incredibly important for health, both physically and mentally, most of us are deficient in it. Kelp noodles are a popular way to enjoy the benefits of this food and the sea vegetable supplement Emerald Sea lists organic Norwegian kelp as it’s first ingredient.
- Wakame is a deep grayish-green sea vegetable that requires soaking before adding to your dish. After soaking for about 10 minutes in water, wakame expands up to seven times its original size. When cooked, wakame becomes silky soft and almost melts in your mouth. This sea vegetable supplies dietary fiber and potassium. It can be eaten raw as a snack or added to soups, stir fries, salads or stews. It’s a delicious way to add vital minerals to your favorite foods.
- Arame is an important addition to your sea vegetable list. This sea vegetable looks like thin, wiry black threads. Arame needs to be rinsed and then soaked in warm water for about 15 minutes. It can be added raw to a garden fresh salad. Arame has a sweet, mild flavor and is rich in calcium, potassium, iodine, Vitamin A and dietary fiber. You can try it in omelets, stir-fries, or pasta salad.
- Nori may be an item in the sea vegetable list that you will easily recognize. It comes in dark purple to marine green. Thin, flat sheets of nori are typically used to make sushi rolls. Nori contains protein, Vitamin C and iodine. It is an excellent condiment for rice, salads, soups, and casseroles.
- Dulse comes in the form of flakes or whole stringy leaves. This reddish brown sea vegetable is full of potassium and protein. Dulse flakes lend a nice salty flavor to salad. It turns feather light and crispy when pan fried in oil. Dulse can also be eaten straight out of the package like jerky.
- Hijiki is called the “beauty vegetable” in Japan and is given credit for the long, lustrous black hair and beautiful skin of Japanese women. This sea vegetable looks like black angel hair pasta and requires soaking before it is added to vegetable dishes. It also goes well with fish. Hijiki is rich in dietary fiber, calcium, iron and magnesium.
- Kombu gives a nice salty flavor to soups. This sea vegetable has an attractive dark purple color and adds protein, calcium, iodine, magnesium and iron to your diet. It also contains alginic acid that absorbs toxic heavy metals out of the body. Kombu can be added while dry to the cooking liquid for soups, beans or rice. It doubles in volume when it soaks up water and turns soft as it cooks. A strip of kombu cooked with beans helps reduce gas.
Want to help us make this sea vegetable list even better? Add your favorite in the comments section below…
Categories : Sea Vegetables
These sea vegetables must be tried out!
Bored of eating regular vegetables and fruits? Well, here is something interesting, which you might have not known… Sea Vegetables! What’s more, they are yummy too! They are also simple to cook and are a storehouse of nutrients. However, there are only numbered varieties of the same. Hansa Venkateswaran takes you on a cruise:
What are they called?
Alaria/Dabberlocks/Badderlocks/Winged Kelp Sea Lettuce Spirulina
Carrageen Moss/Irish Moss Chlorella Digitata Kelp/Oarweed
Agar Agar/Kanten Aonori Bladderwrack Mozuku
Ogonori Rockweed Sea Grape Laver/Gim/Kim/Nori
Kombu or kelp
– Contain iodine, which helps thyroid gland in producing thyroid hormone that helps maintain proper metabolism in the body. This is a good cure for goitre.
– Contain biochemical called fucoidan, which has anti-inflammatory properties. It helps treat chronic diseases.
– Contain alginate, which help in treating heavy metal & radiation exposure. Helps prevent DNA damage.
– Contain lignans which binds and blocks estrogen in the body. Good cure for breast cancer.
– Very good source of potassium. They play a vital role in maintaining blood pressure. Help reduce heart ailments and hypertension.
– Excellent source of folic acid. Help prevent birth defects like spinabifida.
– Contain magnesium, pantothenic acid & riboflavin, vital for production of energy. Help prevent chronic fatigue, bad immunity, infection and anxiety.
13 Anti-Aging Sea Vegetables You NEED To Try
The word seaweed often turns people off; however, weeds are some of the earth’s most nutrient-dense foods. Weeds are wild plants that have taproots up to over 100 feet deep, which make them incredible survivors. These roots allow them to soak up nutrients deep in the earth, reaching beyond the nutrient-depleted soils from modern farming.
In a similar way, seaweeds are survivor foods. Aside from wild earth weeds, they are some of the most nutrient-packed foods you will encounter. These foods have the ability to survive in the increasingly toxin-laden environment of the ocean. If you want to be a strong survivor, eat strong-surviving foods.
Ocean or sea vegetables sounds a lot nicer than seaweed so we’ll stick to that term for the remainder of the article. I want to encourage you to give these foods a try and I will explain why.
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Why Sea Vegetables?
Have you ever noticed how young and beautiful the people of Japan are? I surely have and it was only right that I explored why. It’s not really difficult to find out why people get certain results; look at what they think and do on a consistent basis.
If you examine the Japanese diet you will notice sea vegetables are a staple part of their diet. After careful consideration and investigation I found that many other icons of health and beauty, such as Donna Gates of Body Ecology, recommend these miraculous foods. Seeing the results, it took me no time to give these foods a try and I suggest you do too!
With a little bit of research, it turns out that these plant foods are unbelievably mineral-rich. And minerals are the beauty nutrients. Without minerals we do not properly absorb other important nutrients that grow our hair and reproduce new skin cells. Not to mention, they are surprisingly versatile in recipes and taste delicious. However, being honest, it’s their vast health and beauty benefits that keep me coming back for more. Here are just a few of them:
Benefits of sea vegetables:
- Prevent aging
- Promote the growth of healthy hair
- Maintain youthful elasticity in skin
- Promote healthy cholesterol levels
- Resolve mineral deficiencies
- Detoxify the body of heavy metals, pollutants and carcinogens
- Inhibit the overgrowth of pathogenic viruses, yeast and bacteria
- Balance thyroid function
- Lubricate the digestive tract for healthy elimination
The Many Different Sea Vegetables
If you’ve ever eaten sushi, then you’ve had seaweed. The blackish green wrap that surrounds the fish and vegetables is known as nori. This is a common sea vegetable as it has a very neutral taste with a pleasant crunch. If this is the only sea vegetable you’ve ever tasted then you may be interested to discover a variety of other sea vegetables that are equally as delicious and nutritious.
Here are 12 other popular sea vegetables worth trying:
This brown seaweed is part of the kelp family. It is almost sweet in taste and is a great place to start if you are new to eating sea vegetables. It is usually packaged in shredded form and has a crispy texture when dry. To eat, simply soak in water for a few minutes and it will expand like chia seed does. You can just toss it into a salad and voila, you have a truly beautiful salad with a protein- and mineral-rich addition.
This is a popular ingredient in miso soup, if you’ve ever had it. It’s also a great addition to just about any soup. Simply take a small strip and add it to your homemade soups, and you have some 70+ trace minerals now all working to reverse aging in your body! As a great anti-aging tip, I suggest making kombu a kitchen staple as you would sea salt.
Closely related to kombu, this variety is said to have metabolic properties. Perhaps seaweed is part of the secret to Japan’s low rates of obesity?
Probably one of the most sacred of seaweeds, this black seaweed makes a great natural beauty aid. This very black sea veggie looks scary at first, as most people do not eat many black foods. However, you should embrace this food. It is the phenomenal amount of minerals that gives it its black pigment. It is said in Traditional Chinese Medicine that this food is responsible for the dark, beautiful hair of Japanese folk. Want lush locks? Try this small-cut seaweed in your next salad. Or my personal favorite, soak it and mix with slow-cooked carrots.
This is my personal favorite. Dulse makes such a great snack, as it needs no cooking or soaking. It comes ready to eat with a chewy, salty and slightly sweet taste. It’s also jam-packed with protein and iron, making it wonderful for thicker, shinier hair.
Agar is my secret ingredient for creating mind-blowingly delicious sugar-free desserts. It is a great vegetarian alternative to gelatin as it has the same consistency when soaked and provides ample amounts of collagen. Irish moss is another gelatin alternative. However, this can be used in savory dishes as well for a thick gravy base. Careful, as too much of it has mild laxative property. However, this makes it wonderful for those prone to constipation. This is a great beauty food as constipation leads to toxicity causing skin problems like acne.
Perhaps the most popular brown seaweed, kelp is actually an algae. It grows in the more nutrient-rich ocean waters, which gives it its vitamins, minerals and iodine content. Kelp is thought to be especially beneficial for the prostate, pancreas and digestive system, all of which (when they are in great shape) contribute to youthfulness and splendor. Many of the beauty-related health issues such as dry skin, brittle nails and hair loss are related to the thyroid. Those with thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune issue) and hyperthyroid could greatly benefit from this sea vegetable. Your thyroid needs minerals, especially the ones found in sea vegetables. Eating kelp is a much safer way to get minerals and iodine than most supplements, as it’s difficult to overdose with food sources.
Here are some other wonderful, yet less popular sea vegetables:
08. Laminaria Japonica
This sea plant is special in that it works particularly well for cleansing the body of heavy metals. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals that aid the thyroid and detoxify the body from heavy metals, which wards off disease and keeps the body young.
09. Sea Lettuce
You guessed it; just as the name suggests, this one looks just like lettuce – despite its strong seafood taste and odor. However, once dried it becomes very flaky in texture and makes for a great topping for foods.
Also known as Irish Sea Moss, this is an incredible source of collagen. If you didn’t know, collagen is one of the building blocks of youthful skin. One of the main reasons people get wrinkles as they age is that they stop producing collagen. By consuming Irish moss daily you are ensuring that you can maintain that baby face for a lifetime! This one is more typically eaten cold and makes the most wildly good raw cashew cheese! It makes an even better flan-like dessert. Yum.
You will find this sea veggie in many thyroid support supplements. Rather than buy an expensive pill, just eat the stuff! It is commonly used as an additive and flavoring in Europe as it helps preserve food and add great flavor. Bladderwrack has proved most useful in the treatment of underactive thyroid glands (hypothyroidism) and goiters in many studies.
This is pretty much the parent algae to nori and wakame. It’s a brown algae that is common along the entire North Pacific coast of America. Therefore, it can be found domestically and is popularly foraged for. This is a great place to start with wild foraging, which will be a part of one of my next blogs – stay tuned!
Where To Find Sea Vegetables
If you live in the United States, you can find many of these healing foods in health food stores and even Whole Foods. If you have a local Asian market you trust then you will likely find them for a great price there.
You can also order sea veggies online. There are many great online sources; some of my personally used sources are JustSeaWeed.Com and SeaVeg.com. Both of these sites source some of the finest, wildest and cleanest seaweeds available in the great big sea!
In conclusion, choosing to make sea vegetables part of your diet is a tried and tested idea. Sea veggies have benefited the health and beauty of the Japanese culture alone for thousands for years. I’ve noticed for myself and you may notice yourself that by eating them you start feeling younger and healthier, as well.
Don’t just take my advice for it; give them a try for yourself! See what happens after some time of consistently eating these miraculous foods and come back and drop me a note. I am always excited to hear about people’s experiences.
Did you know that the key to reducing wrinkles, tightening skin, and recovering your youthful glow is what you eat? It’s true. You can start by adding this weird green fruit to your diet.
Did you know that the key to reducing wrinkles, tightening
skin, and recovering your youthful glow is what you eat? It’s
true. You can start by adding this weird green fruit to your diet.
Did you know that the key to
reducing wrinkles, tightening
skin, and recovering your
youthful glow is what you
eat? It’s true. You can start by
adding this weird green fruit
to your diet.
Sample a Sea Vegetable
Dulse (Palmaria palmata). Often eaten as a healthy snack right out of the bag, dulse has a salty flavor yet is relatively low in sodium, compared with other sea vegetables. Its tangy marine flavor works well in salad dressings, soups and sautés. Some people eat it fresh by grabbing a handful off the coastal rocks to which dulse attaches itself. If that’s too adventurous for you, try it baked, fried or simply sun-dried. It comes as whole fronds as well as flakes or powder.
Brown Sea Vegetables for Real Marine Character
Brown sea vegetables can have a distinct marine, or “fishy,” flavor, so they should be used with a light hand. Some types are mild and are ideal for newcomers to sea vegetable cuisine.
Kelp (Laminaria spp.). Kelp’s ribbon-like fronds have a strong flavor. Kelp can be eaten whole or chopped, but is best known in North America as a dietary supplement and for its MSG-like tenderizing action on meats. Uncooked, kelp tends to be salty and acrid, but frying or toasting tones down the marine taste a bit for sautés, stir-fries and soups. Kelp is excellent as seasoning flakes instead of salt. An Asian type known as kombu (L. japonica) frequently is added to cooking liquid for rice, beans and soups to enhance their flavor. A stamp-sized piece of dried kombu cooked with beans will help make them more digestible.
Milder-tasting members of the kelp family include ocean ribbons (Lessoniopsis littoralis), which cooks quickly for Asian stews and tamari dishes; wakame (Undaria pinnatifida); and alaria (Alaria spp.). All are great choices for the first-timer. Wakame and alaria are good in miso soup, or tossed with orange slices and chopped scallions into a salad. First-timers also might enjoy arame (Eisenia bicyclis), whose thin black strands can be simmered with tamari, lemon juice and rice wine, then sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds; or sea palm (Eisenia arborea), whose fronds are delicious raw or added toasted to trail mix, granola, quiches or omelets.
Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus). A common food in Japan, bladderwrack also is used as an additive and flavoring in many European food products. In North America, it typically is used in kelp nutritional supplements and teas, although “kelp” technically refers to a different seaweed species. You’ll see bladderwrack in some oral over-the-counter products for heartburn—its alginic acid (in this and some other seaweeds) swells upon contact with water and helps seal the top of the stomach during digestion. The same constituent also functions as a laxative.
Sea Lettuce: A Novel Take on Salad
Bright green sea lettuce (Ulva lactuca) grows in thin, frilly sheets that really do resemble terrestrial lettuce. It adds flavor and color to many dishes, and can be used raw in salads, toasted and crumbled into soups and sauces, or even as an ingredient in ice cream. Sea lettuce can be stored in the fridge for two to three weeks or frozen for up to six months without losing its flavor.
Despite its positive culinary attributes, however, you won’t find many fans of sea lettuce among water resource managers. Although under natural conditions sea lettuce plays an important role in the ecosystem for small fish and birds, today it tends to multiply quickly in polluted areas and can stifle other aquatic plants. So check the origin of your product before purchase—it should provide assurance that it comes from a non-polluted environment, preferably by making results available from analyses of chemical residues.
Sea vegetables—especially kelps—are excellent sources of macrominerals, trace elements and some vitamins, with notably high levels of iodine, magnesium, vitamin K and folate. They are rich sources of dietary fiber, essential amino acids and essential omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid, which can be as high as 50 percent of total fatty acid content. (In fact, fish get their omega-3s from eating seaweeds, since they don’t make their own.) A recent report in Food Chemistry indicates that various types of seaweed were found to contain a nutritionally ideal balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids.
Seaweeds—typically kelps in whole or supplement forms—traditionally have been promoted for treating hypothyroidism. However, caution is needed because, while they can help if there is an iodine deficiency, taking excessive iodine when you don’t need it might disturb normal thyroid function. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends 150 micrograms of iodine daily for adults, which is present in about 4 teaspoons of kelp.
Brown Seaweed—Cancer’s Foe?
For centuries, certain sea vegetables have been used in Japanese and Chinese medicine for the treatment of cancer. Several laboratory studies have stoked interest in seaweed’s anti-cancer possibilities, but results from human clinical trials are not yet available.
Fucoidans, which are complex polysaccharides found in the cell walls of many brown seaweeds, have anti-cancer actions. For example, they can prevent tumor cells from latching onto other parts of the body, thereby stalling metastasis. And they boost the activity of natural killer cells which destroy tumor cells.
Fucoidans might hinder other invaders, too, such as viruses. Lab research with kelp points to antiviral action against influenza, herpes simplex and HIV. Fucoidans can induce viral cells to self-destruct, as shown with the virus that causes human adult T-cell leukemia.
Another polysaccharide, carrageenan—prevalent in red seaweeds such as Irish moss—has been shown in lab tests to fight the human papillomavirus (HPV), which is linked to cervical cancer. Carrageenan is used as a thickening agent in many everyday foods (e.g., coffee creamer, yogurt, chocolate milk and desserts), but whether the small quantities used are sufficient to provide anticancer benefits is not known.
Seaweeds Bind Heavy Metals
Seaweeds have long been known to bind dangerous heavy metals in the body that contribute to cancer and a host of other problems. Alginates, for instance, which are polysaccharides found in brown seaweeds, can bind and reduce the amount of the radioactive element strontium-90 absorbed by the human body.
The flip side is that seaweeds also can concentrate heavy metals and other contaminants from the sea and expose them to your body. Reliable seaweed suppliers (such as Maine Coast Sea Vegetables in Franklin, Maine; www.SeaVeg.com) test for residues of heavy metals, pesticides, herbicides, PCBs and other contaminants, and make their results available to buyers.
Ensure Best Quality
You can buy sea vegetables in health-food stores, fish markets, Asian markets, specialty sections of your local grocers and on the Internet. Look for tightly sealed packages with no excessive moisture, and store items tightly sealed at room temperature. Dried sea vegetables will keep for several months.
“Organic” products are available, but since it is impossible to fully control the growing environment of wild sea vegetables, organic certification governs mainly harvesting and handling practices and quality testing (e.g., for chemical residues). Look for certification from a recognized body such as the internationally based Organic Crop Improvement Association.
Overall, sea vegetables can be an exciting addition to your cookery. But buy from a reputable supplier, read quality test results, and consume only small servings (typically less than 1/4 cup). Remember—a little seaweed goes a long way!
Gina Mohammed, Ph.D., is a plant physiologist in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. She is the author of Catnip and Kerosene Grass: What Plants Teach Us About Life (www.CandlenutBooks.com).
The reference list for this article is extensive. If you would like a copy, please send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to “Sea Veggies,” Herbs for Health, 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, KS 66609; or e-mail us at [email protected]
Sea Vegetables 101
Edible seaweeds, also referred to as sea plants or sea vegetables, naturally grow in the ocean and are highly mineral-rich foods. In fact, the mineral content of seaweed outperforms terrestrial, or land-grown, plants by up to 20 times the amount by weight. Importantly, these rich nutrients are those that are commonly under-consumed in the diets of Americans (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, 2015; Brown et al., 2014; Pitchford, 2002).
While different species of sea vegetables have some nutrient variability, all varieties of seaweed are rich sources of essential macrominerals, such as calcium, sodium, magnesium and potassium, and trace elements, including iodine, iron, zinc and fluorine (Pitchford, 2002; Ruperez, 2002). Additionally, sea vegetables are rich in dietary fiber in the form of soluble and insoluble polysaccharides, which support overall digestive health and the gastrointestinal microbiome (Ruperez, 2002). Some population-based evidence from evaluation long-term dietary patterns in Asian cultures, has also revealed possible protective benefits for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis with regular consumption of edible seaweed (Brown, 2014). Taken together, even in relatively small, condiment-size amounts, seaweeds can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet.
The Whole is Greater Than its Parts
Isolated nutrient components of seaweeds are surging to the forefront for food and supplement companies interested in developing functional foods, which are foods that confer a health benefit to the consumer, and nutraceuticals, which are foods containing medicinal-like benefits (Holdt, 2011).
As with many foods, the processed components may be problematic. Extracts from sea vegetables, such as carrageenan, are now used as food additives. The most common function of carrageenan in the food supply is to act as a stabilizer in non-dairy milk alternatives, which has shown negative health-effects in animal studies (Tobacman, 2001). While consuming approved food additives in small amounts is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), eating sea vegetables in their whole form has a long-standing history of safety and continues to be recommended as a part of a balanced, healthy diet.
Cooking With Sea Vegetables
Traditional pairing of fermented or cultured soy products with sea vegetables relied on cultural wisdom and likely flavor. Today, scientific evidence supports the partnering of soy foods with sea vegetables that are rich in minerals to create an optimal, mineral balance (Lair, 2008). Furthermore, culinary uses of sea vegetables are now expanding beyond sushi and soy foods due to their ability to add flavor, color, texture and nutrients to a wide range of foods.
The most commonly available edible seaweeds for use in cooking include nori, wakame, kombu, dulse, arame, hijiki and agar-agar. At its most basic level, classification of seaweeds is done by color and varies between browns, reds, greens, blue-greens and yellow-greens (Pitchford, 2002).
Seaweeds are readily available for purchase in their dried from, typically in the ethnic or macrobiotic section of most natural grocery stores. A variety of other dried options can be found online, possibly at local co-ops, and in most Asian markets. These foods can be stored indefinitely in a sealed container kept in a cool, dry, dark place (Lair, 2008).
For culinary uses, most seaweed species can simply be reconstituted by soaking for a short period of time in water. The only exception is nori, which can be used in the dried state. Although arsenic is commonly found in marine foods, the most popular edible seaweeds have not been found to contain meaningfully concerning amounts. Additionally, the process of soaking seaweeds has been shown to significantly reduce possible arsenic content, and therefore not a significant health concern (Mania et al., 2015).
Three Easy Ideas for Adding Seaweed to Dishes
- Add a small amount reconstituted dulse to broth-based soups right before serving, just as you would add spinach or other leafy-green vegetables.
- Mix reconstituted wakame or arame with whole grains, noodle or mixed vegetable dishes.
- Add a 1-inch piece of dried wakame or kombu to stocks and dried-bean recipes to help break down tough plant fibers and increase digestibility. Discard seaweed before consuming beans or stock.
Three Easy Seaweed Recipes
Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice or cut sheets of nori into strips and place in a single-layer on a baking sheet. Brush with olive or sesame oil and season with sea salt. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes and eat like a chips.
Add 4 cups of plain fruit juice to a saucepan over medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons of agar-agar flakes and simmer until flakes dissolve (avoid stirring as agar-agar can be sticky). Add in 2 cups of fruit of choice and pour mixture into molds, trays or cup of choice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before eating.
Rinse and soak 2 ounces of hijiki or arame seaweed in 1 cup of water for 10-20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat sesame oil in a large pan (use one that has a lid) and sauté thinly sliced yellow onions, uncovered for about 2 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons mirin and reconstituted seaweed with about ½ cup of soaking water and 1 shredded carrot. Simmer for 20 minutes, covered, and then toss with tamari and cooked edamame beans. Garnish with pumpkin seeds to serve.
Brown, E.M. et al. (2014). Seaweed and human health. Nutrition Reviews, 72, 3, 205–216.
Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (2015). Dietary Guidelines for Americans Part D. Chapter 1: Food and nutrient intakes, and health: Current status and trends—Nutrient intake and nutrients of concern.
Lair, C. (2008). Feeding the Whole Family, 3rd ed. Seattle, Wash.: Sasquatch Books.
Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing With Whole Food, 3rd ed. Berkely, Calif.: North Atlantic Books.
Ruperez, P. (2002). Mineral content of edible marine seaweeds. Food Chemistry, 79, 23-26.
Tobacman, J.K. (2001). Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments. Environmental Health Perspectives, 109, 983–994.