Health Benefits Of Sea Vegetables
The health benefits of sea vegetables often overlooked by people who are searching for ways to improve their health. And a lot of this may be that they confuse “sea vegetables” with “sea monsters.” Sea monsters offer no health benefits whatsoever, only terror, doom and an apocalypse. The health benefits of sea vegetables, however, are as legit as any superfood we’ve ever consumed.
Sea vegetables are a fully-loaded superfood. In fact, they may well be the most loaded superfood available for human consumption. They are stacked with the highest mineral density of any food on earth. They sponge up all the goodness found in the oceans, and when we eat them, that goodness is absorbed into our own bodies.
What Are Sea Vegetables?
Well, just like sea vegetables aren’t sea monsters, they also aren’t really plants, as most of us likely believe. I mean, they are called “sea vegetables,” so the path to our assumption isn’t exactly an unreasonable or illogical one. And few stores selling various sea vegetable supplements market them as algae, likely because many consumers would not be receptive to buying algae. It just isn’t a marketable term. But algae, my friends, is a potent vitamin and mineral source that mostly can be consumed by humans.
Sea vegetables are, in reality, algae. And within the family of algae exist thousands of differing types. Sea vegetables are super expansive and complex.
I used the picture of a scientist pulling some Hijiki seaweed out of a tide pool for article effect. Feels more powerful now, doesn’t it? Well, Hijiki seaweed doesn’t need a cool picture to lend it any more power than it already has. Hijiki seaweed is loaded with calcium, magnesium, vitamin K, fiber, iron, and iodine. When placed on dishes, it looks very stringy and has a very bold taste.
Another stringy variation of algae, this seaweed has a sweeter taste than other seaweed varieties possess. This seaweed is highly consumed by Asian countries with people who live super long lives. It is loaded with vitamin A, calcium, iron and so much more.
Dulse Seaweed Health Benefits
This seaweed is known by foodies to be chewy. It also looks super cool. Dulse is known to help humans strengthen bones due to its compilation of magnesium, calcium, and iron. It also has a good amount of potassium in it.
Nori Seaweed Health Benefits
This is the seaweed we are typically most familiar with due to its use on sushi rolls. It is typically baked and will have a green hue to it when delivered to your table. You usually see this seaweed wrapped around what are known as “hand rolls.” If you like sushi, you probably love hand rolls. The good news is, you’ve been getting a solid shot of health each time you’ve consumed them. Nori is loaded with essential B vitamins. It also contains healthy fatty acids and amino acids. And it is said to be anti-cancer.
You can also find Nori seaweed baked in little chip bags. Most grocery stores have them. They are usually slightly salted and taste rather refreshing. They are perfect little midday snacks.
Wakame Seaweed Health Benefits
This seaweed almost looks like taffy and is typically found in Asian soups. It is loaded with magnesium, a mineral that many of us simply don’t get enough of.
Kelp Seaweed Health Benefits
Kelp is a great source of vitamin C, which has been proven to fuel our immune system responses. Its color varies from greens to browns.
More Seaweed Health Benefits
The health benefits of sea vegetables is a never ending rabbit hole. Iodine that’s found naturally in seaweed can reportedly help people suffering from thyroid conditions. Seaweed is known to help reduce blood pressure (so many variations are high in magnesium which is essential in this process). Fucans, often found in seaweeds, are considered highly anti-inflammatory.
Seaweed is notably low in calories. Even if you pile the seaweed into a soup, you aren’t likely to break 30 additional calories.
One of the oldest populations in the world is the Okinawans. And guess what they consume a ton of? Yep, seaweed. These peoples have low rates of heart disease and cancer. Their arteries are as open as the Audubon. And they seem happy, at least in the videos I’ve seen of them.
Seaweed is reportedly high in what’s known as lignans. An ugly word, sure, but a super powerful addition to your health. In the body, lignans become phytoestrogens. They are what researchers relate to the lowered breast cancer incidents in Japan. When it comes to seaweed, science is our friend.
In the Caribbean, seaweed soups are often consumed medicinally.
Seaweed Health Benefits and Vitamin B12
One of the most touted health benefits of seaweed is that seaweed can supply us with vitamin B12. But can it really? To understand why this is a big deal, you must first realize that B12 is only available to humans via meat. This is why vegans typically supplement with vitamin B12. B12 being found in any non-animal source is a huge deal for any person attempting to avoid or lower meat consumption. Vitamin B12 is vital to our survival. It helps us with keep healthy nerves. It synthesizes vital red blood cells.
Seaweed can be a source of vitamin B12, but it is not a dependable source. The amount of B12 present in seaweeds varies greatly. According to one study, dried green lavar and purple lavar have been shown to possess vitamin B12. But these aren’t the typical seaweed sources we include in our western diets.
So yes, B12 is found in some seaweed, but it should not be considered a vital source for it.
The Health Benefits of Sea Vegetables Include Being Anti-Cancer
Cancer is our culture’s deepest reaching travesty. It was estimated that in 2016, over 500,000 people would succumb to the tragedy we know as cancer. Superfoods are one way we can help to protect us from it. One study showed that breast cancer may be reduced by consumption of sea vegetables, specifically Nori seaweed. Nori seaweed was potentially linked to changing estrogen metabolism through improved female gut health, thereby resulting in lower breast cancer incidents.
Dried Seaweed Health Benefits
This is where the seaweed health benefits news gets “not so great.” Like any natural food, chemistry is always at play. When you cook, or freeze, or expose any food, you risk changing that food’s original chemistry. Vitamins and minerals can be harshly effected by these changes. Because of this, dried versions of seaweed can’t be guaranteed to be 100% the health benefits touted. Eating whole seaweed or verifying your seaweed supplement source can help alleviate such concerns.
Seaweed Heavy Metals
Seaweed’s nutrient density power comes from its ability to absorb minerals. It really is a truly powerful health sponge. But this beneficial attribute might also contribute to a seaweed danger. Seaweed can also absorb toxins, particularly arsenic, from nasty ocean waters. You really want to buy organic when you buy seaweed. To be fair, scientists remain divided as to how much arsenic is contained in non-organic versions, but it might be a good idea to limit your risks nevertheless.
I am not a person who should be giving cooking or food preparation advice, but I can probably get you started on some simple seaweed recipe ideas.
Two tablespoons of sesame oil and three quarters cup of rice wine vinegar and a dash of sea salt and a few sheets of nori seaweed and you can make some pretty good salad dressing. It’s a good raw way to get some nori seaweed into your diet. Essentially, just take baked nori sheets and break them up. Put them in a blender with the rest of your ingredients and furiously blend.
Here is some Korean style seaweed action.
Make your own raw seaweed wrap.
In the end, the health benefits of sea vegetables is a physiological labyrinth. Adding this algae into your diet can only benefit your overall health. As we’ve shown, adding sea vegetables into your diet isn’t complicated stuff. And they taste splendid, particularly when their baked consistency is paired with other food combinations. So enjoy your sushi and devour your afternoon sea snacks, my friends, you are only doing your health a favor.
Read our top 10 green drink reviews for more information on green superfood drinks, many of which contain seaweed.