A little bit of info about this natural high performer
Seaweed is a nutrient dense food – it might come as a surprise, but it is often higher in nutrients than commonly used land vegetables.
Because it absorbs all the nutrients present in its ocean environment, all the minerals necessary for human life are present in seaweed. This remarkable vegetable contains around 70 minerals and trace elements, vitamins, amino acids and antioxidants. It is a good source of iodine and is also a source of calcium, magnesium, vitamin A and K, folate and fibre. People from coastal Asian cultures know the importance of edible seaweed as a staple of their diet. Blessed to live in beautiful New Zealand with so much accessible coastline and a huge fishing industry, it is easy to make the most of using this abundant and easy accessible sea vegetable. Seaweeds come in red, brown or green varieties and are all forms of marine algae. Some familiar common names are kelp (a.k.a. bladderwrack), karengo (our native purplish variety), nori, kombu, wakame and arame (all Japanese varieties).
Kelp forests are recognized as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth. Some fast-growing kelp plants increase by half a metre a day and reach 80 metres in length. In New Zealand, these forests are protected and no kelp can be cut from the wild natural supplies in our waters. Instead, it is collected by hand when it detaches from the kelp forests during storms.
How to use seaweed?
- A small handful of dried seaweed can be added to rice during cooking, or to stir-fries, soups, casseroles etc.
- It is used to make sushi using nori,
- Seaweed can be added to salads.
- Using kelp powder or granules is another easily available way to help optimise nutrition. It can be used as a condiment to replace salt or be mixed with a good quality sea salt or Himalayan salt.
It is beneficial to get into the habit of having a small amount of some type of seaweed every day, to help support healthy iodine levels.
- Due to its iodine content seaweed supports normal thyroid function. Through this, it also helps to maintain a healthy weight because normal functioning thyroid means a balanced metabolic rate and more balanced blood sugar levels. Just a word of caution though: seaweed may not be advised for all thyroid conditions. It is good practice to seek advice from a health professional.
- Weight management may also be supported by alginates (fibre) in seaweed: they balance breakdown of protein, carbohydrates and fats. Seaweed may have a regulating effect on intestinal and digestive health: It has prebiotic nutrients and therefore supports healthy gut flora and it helps to soothe intestinal membranes due to its alginate content.
- The alginates may also help to support detoxification pathways in the body by supporting excretion of heavy metals and toxins.
- Iodine and antioxidants in seaweed may also support breast health in women.
- Being rich in nutrients seaweed provides general tonic effects for overall wellbeing including healthy skin and hair.
So, with all this good support of health in mind, it makes sense to use this superfood for wellbeing, taking it as a supplement or incorporating it into the diet plan. Have a go and enjoy.
What’s your favourite way to eat seaweed?