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5 Seaweeds That Enrich Your Diet

5 Seaweeds That Enrich Your Diet

Discover the amazing health benefits of this ancient PowerFood. Sea vegetables have a broad range of  medicinal uses and have been used in spas and therapeutic baths for ages.

Popular misconception: Seaweeds are fishy tasting.

Properly harvested, dried, and stored seaweeds do not acquire a fishy taste.

Seaweeds are high in nutrients and in general contain more minerals than vegetables, meat, milk or eggs.

MINERALS: Sea vegetables are excellent sources of most  minerals, especially potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, nitrogen, iron, zinc, boron, copper, manganese, chromium, selenium, bromine, vanadium and nickel.

VITAMINS: Most sea vegetables are excellent sources of the known vitamins (A, Bs, especially B12, C, D, E, and K) as well as essential fatty acids.

I will introduce 5 wild seaweeds that we harvest in our area of North Coastal BC Canada.


1) Bull Kelp (Nereocystis luetkeana)

Nereo: Greek meaning mermaid  Cystis: Greek meaning bladder

Common names: Bullwhip Kelp, Ribbon Kelp, Sea Kelp

Taste: when dry it has fresh salty ocean taste.

How to use in food:

Bull Kelp (once dried) is one of the tastiest seaweeds. It’s fine and tender, easy to eat, and no cooking or soaking is required. It is usually used as a seasoning, sprinkled into foods such as salads, soups, quinoa, rice, pasta etc. Also, try enjoying kelp as a salty snack. It is on my list of favorite condiments.

Nutrition:

Rich in calcium, magnesium, sodium, iodine, potassium, bromine, phosphorus, iron, bulk fiber, vitamin B complex, and vitamins A, C, D, E, and K.

Medicinal uses:

Treats Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), hyperactivity, insomnia, depression, hostility, schizophrenia, mineral depletion, heartburn, and improves electrical nerve flow and fibromyalgia.

Baths and Spa uses:

Place a handful of kelp in a piece of cotton. Tie closed. Toss in hot bath. Squeeze gently and seaweed gel (algin) will be released in bath water. Add gel to face for a Seaweed facial.

 

3) Kombu (laminaria spp.*) includes L. digitata

Laminaria means thin leaf, digitata means finger

Common names: broadleaf kelp, devil’s apron, horsetail kelp, finger kelp

Taste: When dry kombu has a salty, natural monosodium glutamate taste. It is tough and once you chew it, it becomes slimy. Kombu tastes best when cooked.

How to use in food:

Chop into bite size pieces and cook with your rice, quinoa, stews, and beans (improves digestibility), shred and pickle, or roast and crumble on food.

Add a peace of Kombu (or Wakame) to beans at they cook.  This will make the beans easier to digest and stop gas.

Nutrition:

High in iodine, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, sodium, chromium, protein, mannitol, phosphorus, alginate, fucoidan, laminarin, carotene, phytohormones, vitamin A, C, D, E, K and B complex vitamins.

Medicinal Uses of Kombu:

Anti-viral, relieves sore joints and muscles, lowers high blood pressure, improves sleep, heals tissue, treats certain thyroid problems, aids weight loss, and inhibits tumors.

Baths and Spas uses:

Place a handful of Kombu in a piece of cotton. Tie closed. Toss in hot bath. Squeeze gently and seaweed gel (Algin) will be released in bath water. Add gel to face for a Seaweed facial.

Recipes with Kombu:

Soba Soup:  a Japanese favorite.  A delicious noodle soup that is gluten free and grain free.

Lentil Soup:  This savory soup has all the healthy benefits of the mighty lentil plus much more.

 

3) Bladderwrack (Fucus spp.*) includes F. gardneri F. Vesiculosus

Fucus: greek for seaweed. Bladder, because the seaweed’s air filled bulbs resemble “bladders.” And, wrack comes from the Old English meaning: seaweed

Common names: pop weed, rock weed.

Taste: when dry it has a fresh oyster taste with a hint of iodine. Very flavorful.

How to use in food:

Make a mineral and iodine-rich broth, cook into rice, quinoa, seafood chowders, soups, and stews. Or, soak, chop, and cook into stir fry.

Nutrition:

Rich in iodine, calcium, potassium, protein, mannitol, phosphorus, alginate, fucoidan, phytohormones, laminarin, vitamins A, C, D, E, K and B complex vitamins.

Medicinal Uses of Bladderwrack:

Stimulates the thyroid, detoxifies, aids in weight loss, helps fibromyalgia, reduces fatigue, strengthens bones, and reduces inflammation. Bladderwrack also improves mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, and improves memory.

Baths and Spas uses:

Place a handful of Bladderwrack in a piece of cotton. Tie closed. Toss in hot bath. Squeeze gently and seaweed gel (Algin) will be released in bath water. Add gel to face for a Seaweed facial.

pacific kelp seaweed benefits

4) Giant Kelp (Macrocystis integrifolia), Greek meaning Macro large cystis bladder

Common names: Pacific kelp, brown kelp

Taste: when dry, mild salty taste

How to use in food:

Cook into soups, rice, quinoa, stews, beans, fish chowder. Or, cut into thin strips and add to stir frys. For a snack, toast kelp in a hot frying pan with no oil. It takes only seconds and you can eat it like a chip!

Nutrition:

High in algin, mannitol, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, nitrogen, iron, zinc, boron, copper, manganese, chromium, selenium, bromine, vanadium, nickel, vitamin A, B vitamins (especially B12), C, D, E, and K, as well as essential fatty acids.

Medicinal Uses of Macrocystis:

Supports a healthy thyroid, regulates hormones and metabolism, supports the immune system, provides antioxidants, and keeps your heart healthy.

Baths and Spas uses:

Place a handful of macro in a piece of cotton. Tie closed. Toss in hot bath. Squeeze gently and seaweed gel (algin) will be released in bath water. Add gel to face for a seaweed facial.

5) Wakame (Alaria spp.*) includes (Alaria marginata)

Alaria is Greek for wing and wakame is Japanese for young girl.

Common names: winged kelp

Taste: when dry, salty, savoury taste

How to use in food:

Eat as a snack right out of the bag. Chop and cook into rice and quinoa, soups, casseroles, stews, beans, and toast. Or, grind with a coffee mill and sprinkle flakes on salads, sandwiches, rice, etc.

Nutrition: high in calcium, protein, iron, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, chromium, zinc, iodine. Rich in B complex vitamins, vitamin A, C, and K.

Medicinal Uses of Wakame: Discourages tumors, Detoxifying, Aids congestion, Lowers blood pressure, Nourishing to the liver, Purifies the blood, Prevents arteriosclerosis, Healthy for the skin and hair etc.

Baths and Spas uses:
Place a handful of Wakame in a piece of cotton. Tie closed. Toss in hot bath. Squeeze gently and seaweed gel (algin) will be released in bath water. Add gel to face for a Seaweed facial.

Tasty Recipes with Wakame:

Miso Soup with Spinach and Mushrooms

White Bean and Asparagus Stew:  Get your vegan protein with all the health benefits of asparagus here in one shot.

Enjoy your Sea Vegetables! This article is meant for information only. Consult a medical professional regarding medical problems and before making any major changes in your diet.

References:

Ryan Drum, PhD, AHG Website: www.ryandrum.com

Valerie Cooksley, RN, Author of Seaweed

(Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease and Revitalizing Body & Soul)

Louis Druehl, Professor and Author of Pacific Seaweeds (a guide to common seaweeds of the West Coast)

*species

Article written for Real Food For Life by:  Louise Gaudet/ Certified Wildcrafter and Owner of BC KELP (wild sea vegetables)

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health,

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Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. She is the head chef at Real Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook or Twitter (@DancinginLife).

114 comments

+ add your own
10:09AM PST on Nov 12, 2013

Seaweeds are yummy, especially Laminaria.

9:36PM PDT on Mar 24, 2013

Great ideas here, thanks for the reminders of how to use.

10:28PM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

Great information, copied this article and will have a go.
I am not a great seafood eater, but many years ago I spent 2 months in Japan and I was pleasently surprised how fresh and good their seafood dishes are. No smell, except the fish soup for breakfast, a no no for me. But, I was also confronted with seaweed and actually it was not bad. Those 2 months I survived very well on Nippon seafood and actually liked it.

9:50AM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

I've never bought seaweed. thanks

7:29AM PDT on Mar 18, 2013

I do eat seaweed--kelp, an excellent source of iodine, the little paper cylander says. Got it at Whole Foods--it is salty with no taste. I put it salads . Not one bit slimy. Comes from Maine.

6:08PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Thank you for the article. I like to make tea with a little bit of each. Great after running

5:28PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

After all the oil spills and such, would this really be safe to eat? I'm sure all the waters are circulated with the contamination.

5:23PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Sorry, I am not going to try this stuff.

3:22PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

Kimberly, I have found wheat free soba noodles in the health food stores in my area. Maybe you could ask your local store why they do not have them since so many people need to be GF these days.

2:32PM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

I see a reference to soba noodles and gluten free. It has not been my experience to be able to find 100% buckwheat soba. I have searched in every healthfood store and they are mixed with wheat flour. I have found them online, but the shipping is nearly triple the cost of the noodles. Anyone have other ideas?

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