There’s a lot of talk out there about all the things you should (and shouldn’t) eat. And even as someone who knows a lot of it and is aware of the health benefits of certain foods, and the important reason to eat and not eat certain things, it is overwhelming. Even for me! And it also sometimes is met with a bit of resistance. One of those things where I refuse to be taken down another path of “shoulds,” and being told what I should and shouldn’t be eating, and where as a result, I resist against it when it comes up.
In many ways, for many people, this issue of should and shouldn’t eat things is at the very root of poor food relationships. It is from this place of being told certain foods need to be off limits or always included in our diet that we draw lines and have rules amidst what is and isn’t an acceptable food choice.
And while I’m not about supporting said unhealthy relationships, what I am about is offering resources and education. Let’s not just start eating things because someone says we should or because we see it online, or we see someone else eating it. Instead, let’s learn about it and understand why it’s a valuable addition to our diet and totally deserves a piece of our food selection real estate. Let’s learn about sea vegetables!
What are sea vegetables?
More commonly referred to as algae or seaweed, sea vegetables are the green, nutrient vegetables found in the sea. This includes things like spirulina, nori, wakame and blue-green algae, and they are typically harvested and then dehydrated before being sold for use in your kitchen. These plants grow in the ocean getting their energy from the sunlight that penetrates the water and using photosynthesis to facilitate growth. This helps make them extremely nutrient dense, offering incredible benefits for human consumption and there are several different varieties to maximize your nutrient intake.
Why should I regularly be consuming sea vegetables?
The nutrient profile of sea vegetables is amazing! They are one of the best, natural sources of Iodine, an essential mineral for healthy thyroid function. The thyroid plays an important role in energy regulation and metabolism and requires iodine for proper hormone synthesis and function. In addition, sea vegetables boast the following benefits:
- Source of magnesium to encourage better adrenal function and stress reduction
- Source of iron
- High in antioxidants, critical for ridding the body of free radicals and offering cancer fighting properties.
- Many, such as Agar, have natural laxative properties and are great for helping eliminate constipation
- Source of several other essential minerals such as potassium, sodium and calcium
- Play a role in promoting healthy bacteria balance within the gut, encouraging the growth of good bacteria and the elimination of pathogenic bacteria
What is the best way to add sea vegetables to my diet?
First off, open your eyes to the wide variety that is available! If you are used to just having nori wrapped around your sushi, start by trying a few different kinds, such as Wakame flakes or dulse. Many of the seaweeds come as a powder which you can sprinkle on your food, on top of things like stir fry and salads, while others come as dehydrated flakes which make great snacks. You can add a teaspoon of blue green algae to your smoothie, and adding any of the seaweeds to vegetables broths adds an incredibly rich depth of flavor. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try different kinds of sea vegetables and to add more variety than just nori and spirulina.
The next time you head to the health food store, stock up on sea vegetables. And then start adding them to your diet, not because you should, but because you are educated on the health benefits the provide and now you want to take full advantage!