Seaweed is a nutrient-dense superfood full of vitamins and minerals. Add one of these healthy seaweed recipes to your diet and taste the benefits!
Today I'm diving into one of the lesser talked about ingredients in the food world - seaweed. Sure, you know that your sushi gets wrapped in it, and you've probably even had a seaweed salad with that sushi. If your seaweed consumption stops there, you're not alone. Today I want to dive deeper and tell you about some of the amazing benefits of seaweed and also give you some healthy seaweed recipes to switch up your intake.
What is Seaweed?
Seaweed is in the algae family. It grows in the sea and is considered a sea vegetable. Yes, even the ocean has its own veggies.
While seaweed grows in every sea and ocean around the world, China, Japan and Korea have been using it for thousands of years. Japan has been cooking with several types of seaweed from as far back as 800 A.D. China reportedly served seaweed to visiting dignitaries and guests in 600 BC. If it's good enough for royalty, it might be good enough for you.
Health Benefits of Seaweed
Seaweed has been used for food, medicine, and even fertilizer since it was first cultivated. Here are just a few of the many health benefits of eating seaweed.
Seaweed is packed with:
- Vitamins and Minerals like A, B, C, E, K and selenium, iron, magnesium, and calcium
- Omega-3 fatty acids
A word about iodine. Many of us are deficient in iodine, and a deficiency can lead to thyroid issues. That would be me. So eating seaweed can be beneficial for those of us with thyroid problems, but too much of a good thing can also move the needle in the opposite direction. So be sure to monitor your iodine levels if you decide to start eating more seaweed.
Vitamin K has also been known to interfere with blood thinning medications, so it's always good to talk to your doctor to ensure seaweed is right for you.
Proper Seaweed Sourcing
You want to make sure that you source your seaweed well so you don't pick up a side of heavy metals. That's never something you're looking for in your food. The right seaweed can actually help you remove toxic metals from your body since it binds to pollutants.
I like Maine Coast seaweed. They have full transparency and show their testing results on their website. I've also use Emerald Cove and Eden.
Types of Seaweed and Uses
There are thousands of different kinds of seaweed, but you typically see just a handful in the US. Seaweed is grouped by its colors into these categories.
- Brown algae contains the popular wakame and kelp varietals, as well as arame and kombu. Kombu is great to throw into soup for a deep savory taste. You can also use kombu when you're cooking beans to help with digestion. You can find wakame seaweed in my superfood salad below. I like using kelp granules as a seasoning anywhere I might use salt.
- Red algae includes sushi staple nori and one of my favorites, dulse. I'll take the dulse pieces and cook it in little ghee or oil for a healthy, crispy snack. I'll also use the dulse flakes as a seasoning and throw it on top of salads, vegetables, or fish.
- Blue-green algae has the nutrient powerhouse duo of spirulina and chlorella. I always have a container of each of these in the house and I'll throw a teaspoon in a smoothie or beverage for a quick energy boost. These two have it all and they're also both great detoxifiers.
In addition to the ideas above, I also have a few seaweed recipes for you to up your seaweed game.
This salad contains a whole lot of good green vegetables like kale, wakame, cucumber, and avocado. It's dressed with a zippy avocado dressing and topped with sesame seeds.
This recipe is a riff on Gratitude Cafe's "I Am Pure" salad. I also like that you can make a big undressed batch on Monday, and eat it each day by adding a little dressing. Kale is very hearty like that.
Here's a classic seaweed salad, but without any of the fillers you'll find a the grocery store. Did you know that many stores add food coloring to their seaweed salads to turn them bright green.
Avoid the fake colors and save some dough by making your own seaweed salad at home.
Want a healthy way to wrap up some even healthier ingredients? Try wrapping Omega-3 friendly sardine salad in seaweed.
I like to layer in some avocado for some good fats, a little extra greens, and roll it up for an easy gluten free lunch.
You could also go totally vegan with your seaweed wrap like these veggie snackers.
Layer in your favorite vegetables and then add this creamy, dairy free sunflower sauce and you have a healthy snack in minutes.
Yes, you can make pesto out of anything, including seaweed. This seaweed pesto will gave you a shot of healthy nutrients on anything you put it on. It's great on vegetables, fish, or even crackers and vegetables as a dip.
If you need one more idea on where to put your seaweed pesto, throw it on some gluten free zoodles. Fresh zucchini strands are the perfect holder for some salty, delicious pesto. You can add addition vegetables or your favorite protein, or enjoy it as a healthy side.
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