In recent years, we’ve been hearing more and more about the benefits of sea vegetables or seaweeds. Commonly found in Japanese cuisine and especially popular in sushi restaurants, you’re now able to find an array of seaweed options in not only Asian markets, but also health food stores and even some traditional supermarkets across the country.
So why are these ocean grown vegetables becoming a necessary part of a healthy diet? The answer lies in the abundance of minerals, vitamins and amino acids they contain, many of which are distinct from those found in land plants. In addition to being a great source of fiber, chlorophyll, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and other minerals, they also contain significantly high levels of calcium, iodine, and iron. Some varieties have more than ten times the calcium found in milk and others as much as eight times the iron found in beef. *
Some of the most common types of sea vegetables you’ll find are agar-agar, dulse, arame, hijiki, kombu, kelp, wakame, and nori. Each contains slightly different nutrients, so eating a variety of different types of sea vegetables is best. There are also different preparation techniques that work best for each, so investing in a recipe book or finding recipes online is a great idea.
In addition to being fat-free, low in calories and full of nutritional benefits, studies indicate that sea vegetables may be great for boosting immunity, improving the heart and blood, optimizing thyroid function, reducing inflammation, and even fighting cancer to name a few. *
To help you get started trying out these marine super foods, I’ve included the first recipe I used to prepare sea vegetables. I hope you enjoy it!
Arame Seaweed With Carrots and Onions **
1 ounce dried arame
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 carrots, sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce or 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1. Soak, wash and drain the arame. Heat a frying pan, add oil and spread around the pan.
2. Add onions and carrots, sauté 2-3 minutes. Place arame on top of the onions and carrots.
3. Add water to just cover the onions and carrots.
4. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low and add a small amount of tamari.
5. Cover and simmer another 15-20 minutes, then mix and stir until the liquid has evaporated.
Sesame seeds or scallions make a nice garnish.
Hijiki seaweed could be used instead of arame.
*Pitchford, Paul (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. Berkley, CA: North Atlantic Books.
**Basic Simple Recipes, 2006 Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Published On: November 23, 2009