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The Health Benefits of Sea Vegetables (Seaweed)

Sea greens, or seaweed, are nutrient-dense kinds of algae that develop in saltwater. The marine vegetation grows alongside shorelines world wide, however is usually utilized in Asian international locations as meals. If you’ve ever eaten sushi or had Japanese, Korean, or Chinese delicacies, you’ve possible had it.

Seaweed could be very versatile and can be utilized as a wrap in sushi rolls (maki) and a essential ingredient in soups and stews. Sea greens are additionally more and more widespread dietary supplements included in smoothies or multivitamin capsules. They’re chock full of vitamins, so that you solely want just a little to get lots of diet.

Sea greens pack a good provide of protein, fiber, polyunsaturated fat, and a quantity of necessary nutritional vitamins and minerals that may help in optimum performance and health for the physique. Sea greens are very simple to your physique to interrupt down, so they’re a extremely bioavailable and secure alternative—albeit in small doses—for an added increase of diet.

Types of Seaweed

There are a a number of sorts of edible seaweed, and they’re both pink, brown, or inexperienced. Red seaweed is essentially the most considerable kind of sea algae on the earth, however brown and inexperienced seaweed sorts are used extra usually for meals.

Some generally eaten varieties embrace:

  • Wakame: Wakame stands out as the most versatile sea vegetable, and is utilized in miso soup and seaweed salad. It is darkish inexperienced with a silky texture and has a really excessive dietary worth.
  • Kombu: This kind is broadly eaten in East Asia and is one of the three essential elements within the Japanese soup inventory “dashi.” It is greenish-brown seaweed, and it’s used to reinforce flavors, season sushi rice, or loved alone with soy sauce and mirin. The powdered kind can be used to brew kombucha.
  • Nori: Nori is likely to be essentially the most recognizable kind of seaweed for many Americans. It’s sometimes used to wrap sushi rolls and as a garnish on soups, essentially the most notable of which is ramen. It is a species of pink algae that’s shredded, then pressed into skinny dried sheets that find yourself wanting very darkish inexperienced or black.
  • Dulse: Dulse is a reddish-green sea vegetable that grows on the northern coasts of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, and researchers from Oregon State University have patented a pressure they are saying tastes like bacon when fried. Currently, it’s bought dried, flaked, and in entire leaf or powdered kind.
  • Arame: When soaked, this selection of seaweed appears like brown shoelaces and has a light, barely candy taste. It is often added to edamame beans or stir-fried into Japanese soba noodles.
  • Hijiki: Often served as an appetizer at Japanese eating places, it has been a component of the Japanese eating regimen for hundreds of years. It turns black after boiling, and is historically related to myriad health advantages. Hijiki, like most seaweed, shouldn’t be consumed in excessive quantities. Although there are completely different causes throughout the species, hijiki incorporates excessive ranges of inorganic arsenic.

Seaweed Benefits

Small quantities of seaweed can contribute to your health in large methods. Let’s check out some of the largest advantages it could have in your health.

1. Supports Thyroid Function

Seaweed could be very excessive in iodine, which is important for thyroid perform and could be missing within the American eating regimen at occasions. It’s sometimes present in desk salt in American households, however sea salt and different kinds of salt that aren’t iodized have turn out to be more and more widespread.

A wholesome thyroid is required to launch hormones selling progress, power, and cell restore. Iodine is required for optimum thyroid perform.

Because of its distinctive rising atmosphere, seaweed is one of the perfect sources of iodine on the planet. It absorbs iodine at a excessive price, with various ranges between completely different seaweeds. For instance, on common:

  • Kombu incorporates 2,524 micrograms (mcg) per gram.
  • Wakame incorporates 140 mcg per gram.
  • Nori incorporates 37 mcg per gram.

With the advisable day by day consumption of iodine being 150 mcg, kombu presents 1,682% RDI, with 93% for wakame and 25% for nori.

2. High Nutritional Value

Besides iodine, seaweed is a wealthy supply of many different nutritional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Adding some dried seaweed to a meal—even a really small quantity—can considerably increase its dietary worth.

A 100-gram serving of nori gives:

  • 356 mg of potassium
  • three g of fiber
  • 6 g of protein
  • 104% RDI for vitamin A
  • 65% RDI vitamin C
  • 10% RDI vitamin B6
  • 14% RDI iron
  • 11 % RDI zinc
  • 7% RDI calcium
  • eight% RDI potassium
  • eight% RDI phosphorous

These figures won’t look too spectacular, however in only a small sprinkling, a pair of occasions per week, they’ll actually add up.

Sea greens can be an amazing supply of antioxidants that may assist defend your physique towards irritation and injury by free radicals.

three. Promote Gut Health

Like leafy greens, seaweed may promote a wholesome intestine, though it might achieve this in a barely completely different means.

Not solely an amazing supply of fiber, seaweed can help intestine health with a singular polysaccharide sugar that may promote the expansion of new, wholesome intestine bacterial strains. These sugars, known as sulfated polysaccharides, may promote the expansion of short-chain fatty acids to supply help and nourishment for intestine micro organism.

Interestingly, seaweed could act as a prebiotic and probiotic multi functional!

four. May Promote Healthy Weight or Weight Loss

Because it’s an amazing supply of fiber, seaweed could provide help to really feel fuller for longer intervals. But the profit doesn’t cease there. Animal research have prompt that seaweed could have anti-obesity results, triggered by a compound known as fucoxanthin.

Fucoxanthin, present in brown seaweed, may need the power to burn physique fats, though additional research are wanted, notably in people, to see if it has the identical impact.

5. Could Potentially Help with Diabetes

One Japanese examine confirmed that fucoxanthin could assist enhance blood sugar management. When given doses of both zero mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg of seaweed oil, examine contributors who received 2 mg had decrease blood sugar ranges than these taking zero.

Another substance in seaweed which will thwart blood sugar spikes is known as alginate. Animal research have proven it’d sluggish sugar absorption within the bloodstream.

6. Might Influence Heart Disease Risk

Seaweed, as a result of of its fiber and antioxidant content material, could decrease the chance of coronary heart illness. Research on rats has proven that seaweed supplementation can cut back “dangerous” LDL ldl cholesterol and decrease complete triglycerides. A substance in seaweed known as fucans may additionally stop blood clotting, which can cut back the chance of coronary heart assault.

So far, the findings for seaweed’s affect on coronary heart health are preliminary, and human trials should be carried out.

Seaweed Precautions

There’s little doubt that seaweed gives a ton of diet and could be a actual help to your eating regimen. But it can be very harmful for those who eat an excessive amount of of it.

Because of the excessive doses of iodine and heavy metals, extra consumption may result in toxicity and sickness. Therefore, it’s greatest taken in small quantities or eaten with meals that inhibit the uptake of iodine within the thyroid. Such meals embrace , , and cabbage.

Cooking seaweed, and notably boiling it, can considerably cut back iodine content material. A 15-minute boil can decrease it by as much as 90%.

Too a lot iodine can result in an overactive thyroid, a situation referred to as hyperthyroidism. Symptoms can embrace swelling across the neck, a excessive temperature, starvation, and weight reduction. The good factor is, reducing consumption of iodine-rich meals can often restore common thyroid perform.

The subsequent precaution is heavy steel content material. Seaweed absorbs and shops minerals at very excessive charges, and may due to this fact include massive quantities of mercury, cadmium, and lead. Some varieties may include increased ranges of arsenic.

Consuming seaweed in small quantities protects you from the potential risks of heavy metals, and analysis has proven that the heavy steel presence in common seaweed serving sizes is decrease than the max concentrations most international locations enable. Still, consuming it greater than a pair of occasions per week could trigger heavy steel to build up within the physique over time.

Seaweed Recipes

1. Deconstructed Sushi Bowl

Prep Time: 15 minutes            Cook Time: 20 minutes           Servings: 1 sushi bowl, four servings sauce


For sauce:

1 knob recent ginger (inch-long), peeled and chopped

2 carrots (medium-sized), chopped

three garlic cloves

2 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil

1 tbsp honey


For sushi bowl:

1 filet wild-caught salmon, cooked (or sushi-grade uncooked)

1/2 avocado, sliced

1 sheet nori

1 cup rice, cooked

2 inexperienced onions, finely sliced

2 tsp rice vinegar



For sauce:

Using a high-speed blender, combine all elements collectively till easy. Portion out sufficient for a sushi bowl and retailer the remaining quantity within the fridge in an air-tight container for as much as two days.

For sushi bowl:

  1. Cut the sheet of nori into small strips.
  2. Transfer the chopped nori to a bowl and add cooked rice, sliced inexperienced onions, and vinegar. Toss to mix.
  3. Top with salmon filet, sliced avocado, and carrot-ginger sauce.

2. Seaweed Salad


For vegetable base:

1/three cup nori, minced

1/three cup dulse, minced

1/three cup pink onion, minced

30 g orach, minced

30 g seashore plantain, minced

30 g sea beans (Salicornia), minced

20 g Irish moss, minced

10 g inexperienced onion in brine, minced


For dressing:

2 tbsp pink wine vinegar

powdered knotted wrack, to style

sea salt, to style



Combine all minced veggies in a bowl. Add a pinch of the knotted wrack and sea salt and pink wine vinegar. Stir effectively.

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