It’s green, a little slimy, and I admit it’s a bit scary, but Seaweed is one food you need to stop fearing and start eating, my fellow veggie lovers!
I remember exactly what went through my mind the first time someone told me seaweed was good for me. “Are you kidding me? I’m not eating the same slime that I used to avoid as a kid while at the beach. No thanks!” Then a few years later, I became a health nut and there was no ignoring the truth any longer. I knew I had to learn to love Seaweed, especially since it’s practically a food group in a plant-based diet.
Since vegan eaters don’t eat fish, getting certain nutrients like omega-3s, iodine, Vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium can sometimes be a bit challenging. That’s where Seaweed comes to the rescue! If you’re on the fence about Seaweed or even scared of it like I was, here are some facts and recipes that will familiarize you with this foreign food and introduce you to its many benefits. Oh, and I promise, the taste actually grows on you!
The Most Popular Types of Edible Seaweeds
Seaweed is available in many different types, but here are some of the most common ones you’ll see at your health food store or online:
Kombu: a brown seaweed that increases digestion and is added to many soups or vegan bean dishes for this reason. Kombu also contains a zesty, salty taste that goes well in any savory dish. It may even help prevent weight gain due to a pigment it contains known as fucoxanthin. Fucoxanthin helps metabolize fats for energy instead of storing them as fat in your body.
Dulse: a green and slightly purple Seaweed, dulse is one of my favorites! It is very light in taste, but adds a lovely salty taste to any dish. You can use it in soups, stews, on salads, in dressings, and it even makes a lovely addition to smoothies where the salt helps bring out the flavor of ingredients like cacao.
Kelp: a green Seaweed that is wonderful for the thyroid due to its high iodine levels. You may have heard of kelp noodles which are zero calorie noodles that make a wonderful replacement to grain-based noodles. Though kelp contains little to no calories, it is still a nutritious Seaweed to consume. Kelp is rich in magnesium, fiber, iodine, and may help keep you fuller longer than starchy foods rich in fiber like whole wheat noodles or bread. Kelp has even been linked to fat reduction and better digestion. Kelp is available in flake form, noodle form, and is commonly added to many superfood powders as well.
Need calcium? Eat more of this Seaweed! It contains 14 times the calcium of milk and is rich in fiber. It does need to be soaked before you eat it, since it is tough in texture or you can simply use it in soups and stews to naturally soften it.
The Benefits of Seaweed:
- Provides the body with magnesium, zinc, Vitamin B12, biotin, and iron provides your entire day’s worth of iodine,
- Increases hair and nail growth
- Clears the skin and enhances eyesight
- Improves mood by reducing anxiety and enhancing mental focus
- Cleanses the digestive tract
- Alkalizes the blood and treats sugar cravings
- May prevent depression
By: Heather McLees – I am a freelance writer and health blogger from South Carolina with a huge passion for plant-based nutrition, writing and research, fitness, recipe creation, and inspiring others. I received my degree in Nutrition Science and Dietetics and am now a holistic health coach with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. You can find me over at my blog, The Soulful Spoon, where I share healthy recipes and nutrition tips. I’d love to have you visit! www.soulfulspoon.com.