Could seaweed be the secret to a long and healthy life?
When my cancer diagnosis called for radiation, I began my search for detoxifying foods that would better support me through conventional treatment. It was at that time I discovered the benefit of seaweed and how incredible of a food source it was.
The more I learned, the more I loved it! I couldn’t get enough of it. In fact, for those who live plant based (raw, vegetarian or vegan diet), seaweed is the one staple I recommend most. As a whole, it offers more bang for the nutritional buck than even most vegetables.
Seaweed is packed with soluble fiber, contains amino acids (those protein building blocks), and is a really good source of vitamins and minerals, most notable for being high in Vitamin A,B,C,E, and K and being a great source of iodine, calcium, iron, and selenium. Iodine is an essential compound shown to support thyroid and hormone health as well as slow mammory tumor growth.
Seaweed is also rich in sodium alginates, which protect us from radiation and can even help flush it and other toxins from our body. Seaweed detoxes our system, binds to toxic pollutants and flushes them of our body! Seaweed is continuously tauted as a super food and cancer fighter, and some even think it is a reason why certain Asian cultures have fabulously long life spans.
Here are the basics of some of my favorite seaweeds:
Notable for its briny, ocean flavor, Dulse is pretty intense! Sometimes described as salty or spicy, you can eat dulse on its own, right out of the bag. Dulse is known as a metabolism booster, and provides a satiating effect, but its best quality is its ability to help the liver cleanse and repair. If you have a hard time adjusting to the taste, you can easily find dulse in capsule form, as part of a super green supplement, or add to juices and smoothies.
Kelp is unique in that it grows in underground forests, but it is the most versatile and easily used for newbies to seaweed. Kelp is specifically high in Vitamin B, and also has good amounts of vitamins C & E. Kelp is filled with chlorophyll, which increases red blood cell production, and is a rich source of iodine, which is essential for healthy thyroid functioning. It also contains natural antibodies, and is an almost singular source of daily vitamin requirements for women’s health. Kelp can be found in capsule form, soups, salads, and even kelp noodles and tea!
Nori converts vitamin D into our system and strengthens our heart, blood, and circulatory system. It has the highest count of B vitamins of all seaweeds! Although nori isn’t high in protein or carbs, it does provide adequate amounts of iodine. The most common use of nori is in sushi, it is both thin and strong, making it perfect for wraps. You can also find dried sheets of nori, that make salty salad toppers. Nori should preferable be purchased raw, not dried or toasted.
Wakame is high in magnesium and calcium, and our bodies easily absorb it. It also contains a compound found to reduce how we accumulate fat and increase fat oxidation, as well as reduce bad cholesterol. Wakame has what is described as a delicate, briny flavor, it’s the seaweed commonly found in miso soup (yum!). You can soak it to remove salt and soften or eat in dry form, but most would find more agreeable when it is served soft. It is great in soups or salads.
Irish moss has shown to be very soothing for your gut (stomach pains, digestion issues, or nausea and constipation). It is rich in taurine, very uncommon in vegetarian food options. It can boost your metabolism and strengthens connective tissue, contributing to better hair, skin, and nails. Irish moss can be used topically for dry skin and the more bothersome skin conditions of psoriasis and sunburn. Irish moss is mild, almost flavorless and odorless. It is most commonly used as a thickening agent for soups, milks, and desserts. The only way to consume this seaweed should be in its pure, un-processed state (its heavily processed version, carrageenan, has all nutritional value removed).
*It is important to note, at this time, I am only recommending organic, wild grown seaweed harvested off of the Atlantic coast