Why eat sea vegetables? Well, for one thing sea plants contain between 10-20 times the minerals of land vegetables. In fact, ounce for ounce sea vegetables contain more minerals than any other food group.  That means you only have to eat a small amount of them to benefit nutritionally.  Sea vegetables are a good source of the minerals iodine, magnesium, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium and zinc. They also contain vitamin A, B, C, D, E and K.

Another good reason to eat sea vegetables is for their anti- inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer (specifically colon and estrogen related cancers) properties. There are also some cardiovascular benefits such as lowering overall cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. I could go on and practically write a book on the research and studies that have been done showing the health benefits of sea vegetables but there are already a few books out there on this topic so if you are interested you can read up for yourself. Suffice it to say this is some good -for -you stuff!

There are many different species of sea plants that are edible and several varieties can be found in health stores, mostly in a dried form which is perfect for long term storage. Some require a little soaking time before using but they can easily be incorporated into your diet by adding small pieces to your favorite soup, stir fry, salad or sandwich giving you the full benefit of their nutrients. Just follow the directions on the package for prepping the sea vegetables for use. A couple of easy ways I have found to use sea vegetables is when cooking beans add a strip of kombu to the cooking water. This will actually reduce the cooking time and make the beans more digestible. Another way is to use organic dulse or kelp granules or flakes that can be sprinkled over food in place of salt. I found some made by Marine Coast Sea Vegetables that I like.

Some of the most commonly used sea vegetables are:

Kombu: This is a very dark green/black plant that is dried and sold in sheets or strips. You can use it to flavor soup or add to the water when cooking beans.

Nori:  Nori is dark purple to black in color but turns green when toasted. Nori is most commonly used to make sushi rolls but can also be crumbled over salads or in soups.

Wakame: Green in color and most often used in miso soup.

Dulse: Dulse is a red/brown color and is great to chop and sprinkle into soups, stir fry or other vegetable dishes.

Arame: This is a good starter sea vegetable since it is milder than some of the others. It’s a shiny brown/black color and can be used as a seasoning or even baked in bread or muffins.

Kelp: Kelp is a good sea vegetable to have in flakes or granules to use as a seasoning or in place of salt. It is a brown/green color.

You most likely won’t want to jump right in and start munching on kelp in place of a tossed salad but try adding a little at a time in every application you can and start enjoying the benefits of this abundant ocean resource in your healthy life.

Kristy

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

 
  1. RoseAnne says:

    I had tasted some sort of seaweed that is sold in sheets as a snack at Whole Foods and I thought, “yuck”. But I never thought of just adding small quantities to soup, etc. Duh! Thanks for the idea.

    • Kristy says:

      RoseAnne, I soooo know what you mean. I bought some raw seaweed snack chips that tasted not so good as a chip but I crunched them up in a salad and they were great! Kristy

 
 

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