Sea Vegetables: Health Benefits of Seaweed
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Sea Vegetables: Health Benefits of Seaweed

What are the type of edible seaweeds? What are the health benefits of seaweeds or sea vegetables?

  Algae, edible seaweed, can be eaten as well as used in the preparation of food. Seaweed may belong to one of several groups of multicellular algae: the red algae, green algae, and brown algae. Kelp, also known as seaweed, is a green marine plant that is used in various culinary applications. Kelp is called a "miracle plant" because of its huge therapeutic properties, kelp is the best natural source of trace minerals

Used extensively as food in coastal cuisines around the world. seaweed has been always been a staple diet in China, Japan, and Korea cultural cuisine since prehistoric times. It is know as the “secret” for a long and healthy life Seaweed is sometimes referred to as the perfectly balanced natural food. Packed with minerals and trace minerals, have access to all 92 minerals that sea water naturally contains. Seaweed contain 10 to 20 times the minerals of land foods, with an abundance of vitamins and other elements for metabolism.

Seaweed contain the minerals required by human beings, to include calcium, sodium, magnesium, potassium, iodine, iron, and zinc are present in sufficient amounts. Edible plants from the sea also contain important vitamins including vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), B1, B2, B6, niacin, vitamin C, pantothenic acid, and folic acid. Analysis has shown trace amounts of vitamin B12, which rarely occurs in land vegetables.

Edible Sea Vegetables (brown algae)

  Arame

A species of kelp best known for its use in Japanese cuisine. Arame is high in calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, and vitamin As well as being a good dietary source for many other minerals.

  Hijiki ( hiziki )

Known to be rich in dietary fiber and essential minerals such as calcium, iron and magnesium. According to Japanese folklore, Hijiki aids health and beauty, and thick, black, lustrous hair is connected to regular consumption of small amounts of Hijik

  Kombu or haidai

Kombu is the Japanese name for the dried seaweed. In China, haidai is regarded as a health vegetable because of its mineral and vitamin content, especially in the north, where green vegetables are scare in winter. It is usually cooked in soups with other ingredients. In Japan, it is used in everyday food, such as a seasoned and cooked kombu that is served with herring or sliced salmon. 

  Wakame, quandai-cai

Has a subtly sweet flavor and is most often served in soups and salads.

Wakame has a high total dietary fiber content, higher than Nori or Kombu.

Like the other brown seaweeds, the fat content is quite low. Hailed as the next wonder anti-aging ingredient, its known to provide high levels of vitamins A, C and E along with essential amino acids and other natural minerals, and is used in many skin care products thanks to its natural ability to help restore balance to skin’s moisture levels.

The Republic of Korea is the largest producer of Wakame and enjoy it as an ingredient in soybean and other soups, as well as vinegar based seaweed salads.

New studies conducted at Hokkaido University have found that a compound in Wakame known as fucoxanthin can help burn fatty tissue. In Oriental medicine it has been used for blood purification, intestinal strength, skin, hair, reproductive organs and menstrual regularity.

  Nori

Nori is a type of red algae seaweed that has been harvested and eaten for over a thousand years Nori is a thin, natural seaweed sheet that is roasted or dried and used in oriental cooking as wrappers for making rolled sushi dishes, for rice balls and as a topping or condiment for various noodle and seaweed soups.

Nutritional vitamins can be found in Nori seaweed including vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, and E. It has more vitamin C than oranges. Vegans, in particular, can benefit from the high quantities of B12. Nori is one of the most nutritious seaweeds reported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Department. From thirty to fifty percent of Nori is protein from a mixture of amino acids. Being a plant which is high in iron also makes it a suitable alternative for fish and meat in the healthy diet.

Nori seaweed is an excellent source of dietary iodine. Iodine is a trace mineral that is converted to iodide by the human body. The helpful effects on health include stimulating the thyroid to supply hormones necessary for metabolism. This makes it well-liked for use as a weight loss agent. It is also used to treat goiter, radiation sickness and fibrocystic illnesses. The appropriate amounts of iodine generally are considered necessary for the vigorous development of nails, the teeth, epidermis and hair.

Other Health Benefits of Seaweeds : Kelp

Seaweed have been shown to cleanse the body of toxic pollutants. Specifically, scientific research has demonstrated that these plants, which are abundant in alginic acid, bind with any heavy metals in the intestines, render them indigestible, and cause them to be eliminated from the body.

Seaweed feeds the shafts and the ducts of the scalp to help improve the health of the hair.

Other health benefits, according to Carlson Wade’s book Health Secrets from the Orient, include regulating the hormones, enriching the bloodstream, assisting in metabolism, promoting a youthful skin color, and helping to warm the body to promote mental youthfulness.

  Kelp is also referred to as large seaweed, which belongs to the brown algae. Kelp is a good protective food, valuable in overcoming poor digestion, preventing and overcoming goiter (because it is the richest source of iodine), and rebuilding and maintaining the proper function of all glands.

  • Helps to correct mineral deficiencies
  • Reported to aid in brain development.
  • Offsets deficiencies of an inferior diet.
  • Kelp helps prevent osteoporosis.
  • Beneficial for those suffering from impotence, anemia and emaciation.
  • Helps to detoxify the body.
  • Helps to increase metabolism.
  • May help in controlling obesity because it dissolves fatty wastes through the skin.
  • Seaweed bath helps maintain hormone balance for a more youthful body.

There is a broad range of health benefits from the minerals provided by sea vegetables that make it a great addition to your healthy diet and lifestyle. Experiment with the many and varied recipes, adding sea vegetables to your favorite vegetable dishes, salads, and soups for quick, easy and nutritional meals.

Resources:

Seaweed Health benefits - A Complete and Natural Whole food - http://www.detox-for-life.com/seaweed-health-benefits.html

SEAWEEDS USED AS HUMAN FOOD - http://www.fao.org/docrep/006/y4765e/y4765e0b.htm

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Comments (8)

Thanks FRANCINA for the informative and well written article.

Thanks, Guys...

Ranked #1 in Nutrition

We have fresh green seaweeds here and i always mix it with onions and tomatoes, a little salt and apple cider vinegar, my own lazy salad, but I clean the weeds very well. Comprehensive healthy article on seaweeds.

92 minerals you say? I'm having sushi this evening... *Grins*

Yeahg! sound like Ron has a good recipe, now if I can get y kids to try it.

Extremely interesting. I've actually always fancied trying it.

lots of great info about sea vegetables and their nutrition. Its a pity they are relatively underutilized in the west.

Hi Peer, Seaweed is abundant on the west coast, especially Northern California. I believe that most people don't like it because they may not know how to properly clean it, it can be a little salty, but it's great when paired with honey, white wine vinegar, and sesame oil. the sweetness of the honey and the acidity from vinegar balance out the saltiness. I am going to put up a stew of sorts using Wakeme Seaweed and Yukon Gold Potatoes.

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