Seaweed is regularly on the menu in many Asian countries, but in the West, it’s a superfood most people overlook. If you don’t eat sushi, it’s likely that you’ve never encountered seaweed on your plate before.
Seaweed is a member of the algae family and comes in a number of varieties, including green, brown and red. Brown seaweed, like kelp, is the most commonly eaten variety, followed by red seaweed, including nori, which is often used in sushi.
Seaweed contains vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, but the small serving size (just two tablespoons) isn’t enough to really benefit from these nutrients. What seaweed does contain that many other foods lack is iodine—this is its greatest benefit.
Iodine is essential for maintaining a healthy thyroid. When your thyroid is unbalanced, you may experience symptoms such as fatigue, muscle weakness and high cholesterol, as well as some more serious medical conditions like goiters, heart palpitations and impaired memory.
On the flipside, too much iodine can also be troublesome, so it's best to consume seaweed in moderation. One two-tablespoon serving of brown seaweed per week is all you need. Red seaweed contains less iodine, so it’s safe to consume more than a single serving in a week.
Studies have shown that seaweed contains plenty of antioxidants and can help prevent inflammation. Some research also suggests seaweed can also help to regulate hormones and potentially help reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Various forms of seaweed can be consumed in different ways. Here are a few of the most common:
- Nori is best known for its use in sushi rolls.
- Kelp, a brown variety, is available in supplement form.
- Dulse, another red seaweed, can be purchased whole or in flakes and is used as a seasoning on salads, vegetables and in soups.
- Arame is a great addition to grain dishes, stir-fries, soups, curries and salads.
- Wakame, a green seaweed, is best sprinkled in soups, stews or stir-fries.
Always look for certified organic seaweed that has been grown in pure, unpolluted waters.
Posted: 9/11/2015 by
Filed under: eating, healthy, ingredients, key, seaweed