Seaweed is the ocean’s mineral and vitamin bank surpassing any and every food on the planet for diversity of nutrients. So guess what? That thin dark sheet that holds together your sushi roll has more nutrients than any item inside the roll. If you eat sushi you are consuming some seaweed, but what if seaweed was as much a staple in your diet as salad? (I am assuming of course that salad is a staple in EVERYONE’S diet!) In Japan, seaweed is an everyday food and there is research that suggests that the frequent occurrence of seaweed in the Japanese diet is linked to the low occurrence of cancer and other illness. Let’s break it down:
Nutritious America’s top 5 reasons to make seaweed a staple in your diet are:
1. Seaweed has wonderful natural detoxifying properties. It contains aljinic acid, which binds out toxins in our body and allows for their natural elimination. We are regularly exposed to so many toxins, both environmental and biological, that it is becoming more and more important to increase the body’s natural ability to detoxify. Seaweed is a fantastic detox tool.
2. Seaweed can help to counteract “hot” conditions in the body such as hot flashes. In Japan there is actually no word for “hot flashes.” Only 7% of menopausal women in Japan suffer from hot flashes compared to 55% of menopausal women in America. This is thought to be related to the Japanese diet that includes soy and seaweed.
3. Eating the SAD, or Standard American Diet, creates overly acidic blood. Most diseases thrive in over-acidic blood, so it’s important to balance that condition out with alkalizing foods, seaweed is highly alkalizing. One study at the University of California revealed that Kelp, a specific type of seaweed, may be the most important cancer fighting component in the Asian diet. The research suggested that this is because of seaweed’s alkalinity.
4. Both Kelp and Wakame seaweed contain an essential sugar called fucose. Fucose is known to influence brain development and has been shown to improve the brains ability to create long-term memories. Fucose is also a strong anit-inflammatory and immunity booster, having the ability to kill bacteria and fortify immunity against infection.
5. Finally, seaweed, kelp specifically, is a powerful food for thyroid health. The hormones of the thyroid gland regulate metabolism in every cell of the body. A deficiency of thyroid hormone can affect all body functions. In order for the body to produce thyroid hormone the thyroid gland needs iodine, which is an element contained in ideal form in kelp. By introducing kelp into the diet you can supply enough iodine to keep your thyroid healthy.
Seaweed can be easier to add to your diet than you think. There are two companies specifically that make sea vegetable products that get the Nutritious America Stamp of Approval: Maine Coast Sea Vegetables and SeaSnax. Maine Coast Sea Vegetables has a fantastic product called sea seasoning. Sea seasonings is kelp granules, either plain or mixed with cayenne, or ginger. This is the easiest way to begin to introduce seaweed into your life. Sprinkle a little bit on your salads, your grains, your protein, whatever you like.
The SeaSnax product line is full of tasty grab-and-go seaweed snacks, like crunchy nori sheets, and even seaweed and seed bars.
Try some seaweed, and begin to make it a staple in your food life for greater health.
By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com