Health Magazine

Nutrition From the Sea

By Staceycurcio @staceymccosker

 Nutrition From the Sea

Sea vegetables are neither plants nor animals – they are actually classified as ALGAE. Why would anyone want to eat algae you ask? Because edible seaweeds and algae are unique , tasty and are a highly medicinal food group! Western cultures are only recently beginning to enjoy and appreciate seaweed, which has been a staple of the Japanese diet for a very long time indeed.

What makes them so good?

  • They contain a variety of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds, putting them under the spotlight for cancer research.
  • As seaweed is naturally high is sodium,  it has a yummy salty flavour which means you don’t need to add so much salt to your cooking.
  • Very high in a range of minerals – especially Iron, Iodine, Calcium and Magnesium
  • Very high in a range of vitamins – especially Vitamin K, Folate, B12 and C
  • Super low in carbs and calories!
  • Very early studies suggest that the sulfated polysaccharides from seaweeds can have a profound effect on enhancing our health in a variety of ways

What’s the catch (pardon the pun)?

Seaweed is very clever and acts as a powerful ‘sponge’ which absorbs heavy metals in the ocean and environment. This means they’re susceptible to containing heavy metals – especially arsenic, lead and cadmium. Now, before you panic, the levels have been found to be relatively low, and these heavy metals can be avoided by purchasing certified organic sea vegetables when possible. In my humble opinion, the benefits out way the risks…. but be aware of this, and choose certified organic seaweeds when you can.

Bottom Line…

There are many different kinds of seaweeds, some are chewy, some are soft, some are salty and some are mild. Commonly consumed seaweeds include nori, wakame, kelp, arame, kombu, and dulse. You can get a range of seaweeds from most health-food shops and/or Asian grocers. Spirulina and chlorella are also an algae’s, so many of the benefits listed above also apply to these.

To get some sea vegetables in your diet…pop some Nori into stir-fries, scrambled eggs or miso soup; always opt for a seaweed salad with sushi; and sprinkle some seaweed salt over your salads. Seaweeds can not only add variety to soups, salad and stir-fry’s; but also a massive nutritional boost! 

Until next time, Stacey.

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