You’re familiar with the use of sea vegetables (read: seaweed) in sushi and nori rolls, but you really should be using this nutrient dense food more often!
Sea vegetables or sea “weed” is recognized in many cultures as a highly nutritious food that promotes health and longevity. Sea vegetables are greens grown in the sea. They are low in fat and have little or no caloric energy. Sea vegetables come in green, brown, red, and blue-green algae. They are very rich in nutrients and phytochemicals.
Sea vegetables are scientifically proven to be rich in vitamins A1, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, E, K, pantothenic acid, folate, and niacin. They are loaded with chlorophyll and fiber, are an important supply of sixty trace elements, and are an excellent source of over twelve minerals, especially potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, zinc and manganese, all of which our bodies require to function optimally.
Some of the most common sea vegetables you’ll see at the market and can include in your diet are dulse, nori, wakame, kombu (kelp), and algae (spirulina, chlorella, E3live).
More importantly, here are seven good reasons you should eat them on a regular basis.
7 Reasons Why You should Eat Sea Vegetables!
Protein in Sea Vegetables
The protein content of sea vegetables ranges from 16% to 28%. Sea veggies provide higher quality protein than certain grains and beans that are lacking one or two essential amino acids. The amino acid composition of sea veggie protein is generally well balanced, and some contain all or most of the essential amino acids that the body cannot produce.
Fats in Sea Vegetables
Sea vegetables, while low in fat, have significant amounts (1–3%) of omega-3 fatty acids. The ratio of omega-6 and omega-3 essential fatty acids in sea vegetables is close to the optimal ratio recommended.
Fiber in Sea Vegetables
Sea veggies have their own unique fiber with interesting medicinal properties. For instance, alginic acid in kelp has been shown to be an important detoxifier for radioactive isotopes and heavy metals.
Vitamins in Sea Vegetables
Most sea vegetables are excellent sources of thirteen known vitamins (A, Bs, C, D, E, and K). Sea vegetables contain significant amounts of vitamins, especially the B vitamins.
Minerals in Sea Vegetables
Sea vegetables present these essential nutrients to your body in a chelated, colloidal, optimally balanced form so they are bio-available.
- Calcium - for skeletal health, healthy heartbeat, nervous system function
- Magnesium - activates enzymatic activity, essential for healthy heartbeat
- Potassium - naturally prevents high blood pressure, provides cellular energy
- Sodium - essential for the correct balance of body fluids
- Iron - hemoglobin, transports and distributes oxygen to all your cells
Trace Minerals in Sea Vegetables
Trace elements are essential to the countless enzymatic functions constantly occurring in your body.
- Chromium - works with insulin to regulate blood sugar
- Iodine - thyroid health
- Copper - protects nerve sheaths, builds supple arteries, required for iron absorption
- Also included are lithium, manganese, selenium, vanadium, and sulfur
Sea Vegetables and Iodine
Sea vegetables are the best natural food sources of iodine. We need between 150 and 1,100 micrograms in our daily diets to keep our thyroids healthy.
10 Ways to Incorporate Sea Vegetables into Your Diet
It is really easy to add these nutritionally dense power plants into your diet. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Wrap and roll veggies in nori
- Use kombu (kelp) in soups or stocks
- Toss them in salads
- Order miso soup at Japanese restaurants and get your wakame
- Add algae to smoothies and green juices
- Shake it, baby shake it, with seaweed seasoning
- Replace traditional noodles with kelp noodles
- Make seaweed crackers
- Use agar or Irish moss seaweed instead of gelatin in desserts
- Eat it straight from the package