One of the Healthiest Foods on Earth

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We use sea vegetables in a variety of ways in our Cooking Lessons from Home Meal plan.
Sea vegetables are a traditional food that has been consumed for thousands of years. They offer an array of nutrients that are well suited to promoting health, plus, they are delicious and versatile. When you incorporate them into your diet you’ll see just how they increase not only the taste of your food but your overall well-being.

History

Eating sea vegetables as part of a healthy diet is nothing new. In fact, archaeological evidence suggests that Japanese cultures have been consuming sea vegetables for more than 10,000 years. While very popular in Asian cuisines, most regions and countries located by waters, including Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, and coastal South American countries have also been consuming sea vegetables since ancient times.

Types of sea vegetables

There are thousands of types of sea vegetables, each having a unique shape, taste and texture. Among the many varieties of sea vegetables that exist a wide range of them are enjoyed as foods. These include: nori, kelp, hijiki, kombu, wakame, arame and dulse.

A perfect mineral match

Consider the fact that our earth is about 60% water (primarily oceans) and our bodies are also about 60% water (fluids in and around our cells, and blood). Then examine the mineral profile of the oceans, the sea vegetables that grow in these oceans, and our blood. It’s difficult to find any category of food that has as diverse a mineral composition as sea vegetables. It’s also difficult to find any category of food whose overall mineral composition better matches that of human blood.

Sources of iodine

Although iodized salt has been the primary source of iodine in many U.S. meal plans for the past fifty years, excessive use of salt has also been a problem in the U.S. In many coastal communities around the world, and particularly in Asia, the primary sources of iodine in meal plans are sea vegetables. Outside of iodized salt, eggs, milk, and cheese are the primary sources of iodine in the U.S. diet, and consequently, individuals who do not consume eggs or cow’s milk products may especially benefit from inclusion of sea vegetables in their meal plan. A note of caution is important, however, with respect to the iodine content of sea vegetables. The iodine content of sea vegetables can vary greatly-as much as 10-fold depending upon ocean conditions. Rather than simply counting on sea vegetables to provide you with the iodine you need, I encourage you to develop a more reliable overall plan together with your healthcare provider as a means to ensure you are getting the optimal amount of iodine you need to meet your individual health needs.

Unique nutrients in sea vegetables – sulfated polysaccharides

The nutritional uniqueness of sea vegetables also involves a category of nutrient called sulfated polysaccharides. This category of carbohydrate-related nutrients, also called fucans, has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties, and fucan extracts from brown sea vegetables have been found to lower inflammatory activities of human proteins called complement proteins.

What you’ll sea in the future

When it comes to sea vegetables, you can expect the evidence of their unique benefits to increase consistently over the next decade. The reason for this prediction? Scientists are just beginning to agree that sea vegetables aren’t actually plants, but rather, algae. Algae are themselves fascinating to scientists, because they lie somewhere in between the world of plants and the world of animals. As scientists learn more and more about the unique biological category into which sea vegetables belong, more and more evidence about their nutritional uniqueness is a virtual guarantee. 1) Sea Veggies – Sea veggies are abundant in calcium, iron, protein, iodine, niacin, and thiamin helping to improve your cardiovascular health and prevent cancer. Sea veggies help you bulk up on essential trace minerals and they come in easy snacking sizes too! I love eating sea veggies. Try snacking on organic seaweed sheets, typically used to wrap suishi, and Dulse leaves. You can tear off edible bite size pieces of Dulse in a matter of seconds. I like to keep a bag of Dulse leaves or seaweed sheets on hand in my kitchen at all times.

reference: World’s Healthiest Foods, George Matalan

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