The consumption of sea vegetables enjoys a long history throughout the world. Archaeological evidence suggests that Japanese cultures have been consuming sea vegetables for more than 10,000 years. In ancient Chinese cultures, sea vegetables were a noted delicacy, suitable especially for honored guests and royalty. Korea, Vietnam, and Malaysia are other Asian countries where sea vegetables are widely consumed. Yet, sea vegetables were not just limited to being a featured part of Asian cuisines. In fact, most regions and countries located by waters, including Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands and coastal South American countries have been consuming sea vegetables since ancient times.
If the only seaweed you’ve ever eaten is the nori wrapped around a sushi roll, then you’ll be excited to discover an abundant variety of sea vegetables! These super, dark green vegetable are extremely nourishing because they are grown. When naturally and organically grown, they provide a source of nutrient that is not available in foods grown in your garden. All see vegetable are excellent brain food. Sea vegetables are capable of binding with heavy metals and radioactive toxins in the body to safely escort them out of the body.
This include kelp, wakame, kombu, arame, hijiki, nori, sea moss, chlorella and spirulina. They contain Vitamin B12 and K, organic sodium, organic iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium, zinc and in some cases (like iodine) . The vanadium content of sea vegetables is an area of special interest with respect to their mineral content. While research in this area remain inconclusive, sea vegetables may be able to help us increase our cells’ sensitivity to insulin, help us prevent overproduction of glucose by our cells, and help us take existing blood sugars and convert them into storable starches. All of these factors would help us increase our blood sugar control, and lower our risk of type 2 diabetes. There are many reasons why I recommend sea vegetables as part of my healing programs — weight loss, cellulite control, detoxification, beautiful hair and skin, and more. Sea vegetables can transform your health!
Sea vegetables come in green, brown, red and blue-green algae. A quick profile:
Arame – This mild, almost sweet brown kelp is a great place to begin if you’re unaccustomed to eating sea veggies. It’s usually found in finely shredded strands that have a crispy texture. 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 – You’ll recognize nori as a common sushi wrapper. These “seaweed sheets” works great as wraps and taste delicious when toasted. you cal also purchase Nori already toasted. Thin, flat sheets of nori are typically used to make sushi rolls. It is an excellent condiment for rice, salads, soups, and casseroles. A powerhouse of beta carotene, vitamin C, folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, vitamin E, iodine, copper, iron, manganese, protein, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, zinc, sodium, omega 3.
Hijiki is called the “beauty vegetable” in Japan and is given credit for the long, lustrous black hair and beautiful skin of Japanese women. Research has shown that minerals are important to healthy hair growth, and hijiki has an incredible 34 grams of minerals per every 100 grams. It can also improve the strength and condition of one’s hair. 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 – Popular ingredient in miso soup and other Japanese dishes. just put a small strip in water and simmer for 45 minutes or longer on low heat. Now you have a wonderful mineral-rich broth. Now, simple cook veggies, soups. or your grain-like seeds in this broth. A great anti-aging tip. 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.
Wakame – Closely related to kombu, this variety was found to have fat burning properties that could fight obesity, according to research from Japan. Makes a great natural beauty aid. This very black sea veggies scares some people who are not used to black foods but please don’t back away from this nutritional powerhouse of beta carotene, vitamin E, folate, B1, B2, B3, B5, omega 3. 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.
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, phosphorus, organic sodium 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. It is recommended to correct mineral deficiencies, anemia, for poor digestion, enlargement of the thyroid because of its high iodine content and for proper gland function. Dulse is said to be beneficial for impotence and under-weight . 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.
Agar – Agar is wonderful for creating delicious sugar-free desserts. It is a vegetarian alternative to gelatin. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes and has mild laxative properties…so can be helpful for those who suffer from constipation.
Kelp – A brown algae, kelp grows in nutrient-rich ocean water and is packed with vitamins, minerals and iodine. Kelp is thought to be especially useful for prostate, pancreas and digestive health. If you have a thyroid disorder like hypo-thyroid, hashimoto’s ( an autoimmune issue) and even hyperthyroid kelp is frequently recommended. Your thyroid needs minerals (like the ones found in ocean veggies) and certain fats to work well. A powerhouse highly mineralized including trace minerals, folate, B2, B5, vitamin K, vitamin E, iodine, copper, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, sodium
Spirulina (an algae) – a true super food, chlorophyll rich, easily digestible, immune booster, anti-fungal, antibacterial, brain food, protein, GLA, RNA, DNA, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, folate, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin, copper, iron, sodium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, selenium, calcium, omega3, omega 6
Chlorella (an algae) – a true super food , chlorophyll rich, anti-cancer, heavy metal and synthetic toxin removal, RNA, DNA, protein, mineral rich. Chlorella is a single-celled algae originally produced as a source of protein for populations that could not afford animal protein foods. Yet chlorella offers more than protein. Miraculous stories have surfaced of people getting noticeable improvement in health and well being when consuming chlorella. When you realize that chlorella contains carotenoids, magnesium, and the super detoxifier chlorophyll-the health benefits of which have been well documented-we begin to understand chlorella’s healing power. Americans are chronically low in magnesium and in great need of detoxifying. Chlorella may be the perfect antidote to our refined foods, nutrient-poor diets and toxic environment.
Other types of edible seaweeds that can be added to your diet are;
Aonori- also known as green laver, is a type of edible green seaweed, including species from the genera Monostroma and Enteromorpha of Ulvaceae. It contains rich minerals such as calcium, magnesium, lithium, vitamins, and amino acids such as methionine. It is used in its dried form for Japanese soups, tempura, and material for manufacturing dried nori and tsukudani. It is also used in a powdered form, often blended with Ulva species of Ulvaceae as its production is limited. It is used commonly for flavouring of some Japanese foods, usually by sprinkling the powder on the hot food, for its aroma:
Alaria- belongs to the genus Phaeophyta, which is a brown algae comprising around 17 species. This is one of the rare edible types of algae, which is found on the coastal British Isles, eastern Asia and south America. Alaria is an iodine rich seaweed and an excellent source of protein. The best thing about this type algae is that it is low fat and rich with various vitamins and minerals that make it as healthy as the terrestrial vegetation. Alaria is one of the best foods high in iodine and it is a common food item in the countries like Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Denmark, and the far east Asian seaweed consuming countries. Midribs of Alaria are not consumed while leaflets and blades are widely consumed.
Bladderwrack - Primary chemical constituents of this plant include mucilage, algin, mannitol, beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, iodine, bromine, potassium, volatile oils, and many other minerals. The main use of bladder wrack (and other types of seaweed) in herbal medicine is as a source of iodine, an essential nutrient for the thyroid gland. Bladder wrack has proved most useful in the treatment of underactive thyroid glands (hypothyroidism) and goitre. Bladder wrack has been shown to help women with abnormal menstrual cycling patterns and/or menstrual-related disease histories
Carola-(Callophyllis variegata is a type of edible marine seaweed, a member of red algae known in Concepción de Chile and other parts of South America like Peru, the Falkland Islands, Tierra del Fuego. But also in New Guinea, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Alaska, St. Paul Island (Indian Ocean), Antarctic and subantarctic islands such as the Graham Land, the Kerguelen, the Macquarie Island, South Georgia, the South Orkney Islands.
Dabberlocks (winged kelp)- is an edible seaweed, also known as dabberlocks or badderlocks, or winged kelp. It is a traditional food along the coasts of the far north Atlantic Ocean. It may be eaten fresh or cooked in Greenland, Iceland, Scotland and Ireland. It is the only one of twelve species of Alaria to occur in the British Isles.
Gim- is known to be abundant in protein and vitamins, especially vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and B12. It is also known to have a high content of mineral salts, particularly iodine and iron, and essential amino acids and properties that dispose of cholesterol, earning its reputation as a “healthy food. Gim is known to grow well in sea water between 5 °C and 8 °C, so gim collection is usually done between December and January. Gim that has been grown for 50 days is considered best for consumption, as the color and flavor are at their best. Cultivation is done mostly in the regions of South Jeolla and South Gyeongsang, with the gim from Wando being the most famous
Irish Moss- is a red algae or purple seaweed super food that is a great energy booster. It revitalizes and strengthens the body and is good for thyroid disorders. It is a good source of calcium, magnesium, chlorophyll, phosphorus, potassium, iodine, and sulfur. Not only do sea weeds provide iodine, they have a mucilaginous and bulking effect in the colon which helps to clean the colon and aid in the formation of stools, and very importantly, suppresses hunger (or appetite), something obese people need in order to lose weight
Laver- which is also called lava, is a type of kelp which is often included in the iodine rich foods list. It has higher levels of mineral salt and iron. Along with being one of the iodine rich seaweed types, laver is also a rich source of protein, vitamin A, vitamin B2 and vitamin C. Laver is used for making the tasty laverbread which is a traditional Welsh dish. Laverbread is traditionally served with cockles and fried bacon. Laver is also consumed in the form of salad, along with mutton and especially lamb.
Mozuku- is a type of edible seaweed in the genus Cladosiphon, naturally found in Okinawa, Japan. Most of the mozuku now is farmed by locals, and sold to processing factories. The main use of mozuku is as food, and as source of one type of sulfated polysaccharide called Fucoidan to be used in cancer treatment aid health supplements.
Ogonori- also called ogo or sea moss, is a type of edible seaweed eaten along the coasts of Japan, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Ogonori is typically eaten cold and is a source of the thickener agar.
Sea Grape - is a genus of seaweeds in the family Caulerpaceae (among the green algae). They are unusual because they consist of only one cell with many nuclei, making them among the biggest single cells in the world. A species in the Mediterranean can have a stolon more than 3 metres (9 ft) long, with up to 200 fronds. Some species (especially Caulerpa lentillifera and Caulerpa racemosa) are eaten under the names sea grape or green caviar or umi-budo in Okinawa. They have a peppery taste. Seagrapes are eaten in Indonesian cuisine, sometimes fresh, and othertimes coated in sugar. They are raised in Cebu, for domestic consumption in the Philippines as well as export to Japan.
Sea kale- a halophytic perennial plant in the genus Crambe that grows wild along the coasts of Europe, from the North Atlantic to the Black Sea. It has large fleshy glaucous collard-like leaves and abundant white flowers. The seeds come one each in globular pods. The plant is sometimes grown as an ornamental but its most common use is as a blanched vegetable. Along the coast of England, where it is commonly found above High Tide Mark on shingle beaches, local people heaped loose shingle around the naturally occurring root crowns in springtime, thus blanching the emerging shoots. The shoots are served like asparagus: steamed, with either a bechamel sauce or melted butter, salt and pepper. It is apt to get bruised or damaged in transport and should be eaten very soon after cutting, this may explain its subsequent decline in popularity.
Sea Lettuce- Sea lettuce is eaten by a number of different sea animals, including manatees and the sea slugs known as sea hares. Many species of sea lettuce are a food source for humans in Scandinavia, Great Britain, Ireland, China, and Japan (where this food is known as aosa). Sea lettuce as a food for humans is eaten raw in salads and cooked in soups. It is high in protein, soluble dietary fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially iron.
Sloke- edible seaweed that has a high mineral salt content, particularly iodine and iron. It is used for making laverbread, a traditional Welsh dish, as well as eaten as a complement to rice in Japan (where it is called nori) and Korea (where it is called kim or gim). Particularly in Korea, it is sometimes roasted with sesame oil and further flavored with salt and sometimes MSG. Laver is common around the west coast of Britain and east coast of Ireland along the Irish Sea as well as along the coasts of Japan and Korea. Laver is unique among seaweeds because it is only one cell thick.
Sea Palm (Postelsia Palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific Coast of North America. One of my favorites, it has a sweet, salty taste that goes especially well as a vegetable, rice or salad topping.