Using Sea Vegetables for Health

Vegetables don’t just grow on land; sea vegetables make a tasty and nutritious addition to all kinds of meals: quiches, sauces, soups, stews, casseroles…

The different types of seaweed are rich in minerals – particularly magnesium, iron, iodine and zinc; B-vitamins, antioxidants, long chain fatty acids (omegas 6 and 3), prebiotic fibres and certain types of carbohydrates called fucans. 

Fucans have been shown to possess a range of positive effects including:

– reducing inflammation

– supporting immunity through anti-viral actions

– supporting healthy blood flow and circulation

– helping to maintain our friendly gut flora through modulation of intestinal pH, short chain fatty acid production and the gut mucous secretions.

(Lordan S et al (2011) Marine Bioactives as Functional Food Ingredients: Potential to Reduce the Incidence of Chronic Diseases Marine Drugs vol 9(6):1056-1100)

You don’t need to eat vast quantities of seaweeds to gain these benefits.  In traditional Japanese meals, small amounts of sea vegetables are used to lift and strengthen the flavours of the meal and enhance digestion.

Nori flakes, mixed sea vegetable flakes and kombu strips are the easiest ones to start with.  The flakes can be sprinkled over soups, casseroles, scrambled eggs and even mashed potato!  Add a 2″ piece of kombu to the pan when simmering beans or pulses; the seaweed nutrients help to breakdown some of the tough starches in the legumes, making them easier to digest (i.e. they will cause much less flatulence!).

Sheets of nori are used to make sushi and also offer an interesting alternative to bread for making sandwiches – ideal for a gluten free option!  Simply place your filling on the sheet and roll it up, adding a dab of water to stick the end of the roll in place.

The mixture of minerals found in sea vegetables makes them ideal for optimising energy and wellbeing – particularly if you are struggling with an under active thyroid.  The iodine, zinc and magnesium found in sea veggies support thyroid hormone formation and function, giving your thyroid gland a much needed boost!