Seaweeds & Seaplants
Seaplants and Seaweed
In addition to adding a new flavor and a new texture to one’s diet Seaplants and Seaweeds are incredibly nutrient rich. Excellent as sources of vitamins, minerals and they are also very easy to incorporate into one’s diet.
Seaweeds, seaplants and seavegetables are an overlooked source of fantastic nutrition and taste in our western diets. Many islands and countries that border the oceans have known about these well-kept secrets for many generations. Some of these cultures are able to boast the highest longevity rates and these people enjoy healthy lives far into their senior years. There are too many species of these plants to discuss here. They offer tremendous benefits for one’s health and also offer a rich variety of taste and texture when included in the diet.
Benefits of Seaplants
Dulse, Kelp, Nori, Kombu, Wakami and Arame are some of the most consumed of this food. These plants are packed with vitamins and minerals. These powerhouses of life commonly have ten to twenty times the nourishment compared to plants harvested on land. The calcium content of such seaplants like kelp measure among the highest in the foods we can consume. As much as ten times higher in calcium than dairy products.These plants are an excellent source of vitamins like B complex, D, E and K and include iodine and magnesium. Seaplants are used as a salt substitute in some eastern cultures. Kelp has a long history of use by health professionals such as naturopaths and herbalists. It has been traditionally used to sustain and maintain a healthy thyroid function. This is due to the high iodine content. It increases the body’s metabolism through its rich supply of nutrients and oxygen.
Studies have revealed that it controls the elimination of cholesterol by assisting in the binding of cholesterol to the bile. It is then more easily passed through the body and excreted. Bladderwrack or kelp has been used traditionally to lower inflammation and to detox excess uric acid from the kidneys.
Nutrition Value of Seaplants
- Seaplants are extremely nutritious.
- Seaweeds contain high levels of bio-available calcium. Osteoporosis is prevented.
- Seaweeds contain many vitamins and some important minerals.
- Seaplants help cleanse the kidneys.
- Kelp is an excellent salt substitute.
- Seaplants can be an excellent source of protein.
- Certain seaplants such as Wakami are excellent blood purifiers.
- Seaweeds regulate the thyroid metabolism as they are the richest source of iodine.
- Seaweeds control obesity and dissolves fat wastes through the skin by increasing perspiration.
- Seaplants consist of lignans (a type of phytoestrogen) which has anti-cancer properties.
- Seaplants contain magnesium which acts as an anti-inflammatory.
- It helps in reducing menopause symptoms like hot flashes and fatigue.
- Seaweeds contain a large amount of alginic acid which has the ability to bind to the unwanted heavy metals in the intestine. This helps in detoxification of the body from such toxic metals.
- One of the most important seaweed health benefits is that it increases the body metabolism.
Warning: Because of their high iodine content those with thyroid health issues may need to not consume seaplants and seaweeds.
Different Seaplants and Seaweeds
- Laver or Nori Laver is a seaweed, mostly consumed by the Irish people in the form of Lava bread. Nori is a Japanese weed sold in flat sheets and is often roasted and wrapped around pieces of sushi. Laver and Nori are both rich in vitamins like Vitamin C, A, B1, B2 (riboflavin), E and K, iron, proteins, magnesium, potassium, iodine and has low levels of fat. Square nori sheets are readily available; slice or crush thin strips and add to soups and casseroles instead of salt for a delicious, nutrition boost.
- Kombu is readily found in health food and Asian food shops and is commonly used for tenderising or in stocks and sauces. One strip of dried kombu added to 1 cup of dried beans will reduce cooking time by one-third while making the beans more digestible and less gas inducing. Kombu contains B vitamins, iodine, potassium, calcium and carotene.
- Wakami is prized for its high calcium levels and blood-purifying properties. This leafy, salad-type vegetable is mainly sold dried and requires ten minutes soaking before using in stir-fries, soups and salads.
- Arame is a thin, spindly, charcoal-coloured vegetable containing high levels of iodine, iron and calcium. It is traditionally used to reduce blood pressure and promote healthy skin, hair, nails, teeth and bones. Arame is sold in dried form and needs soaking for fifteen minutes to reconstitute it. Soups, broths and casseroles do not need the initial soaking step.
- Dulse It is a reddish-brown seaweed found in Iceland and Ireland and is a rich source of sodium. It can be soaked in water overnight and eaten with milk and water. The nutrient contents present are similar to that of the other seaweeds.
Recipes Using Seaplants
Of course all standards for organic apply to the seaplants and seaweeds as well as the other ingredients listed for the following recipes. Also remember to use filtered water for soaking seaweeds.
Wakame Salad Recipe
- 3/4 oz Wakame seaweed
- 2 – 3 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Enzymes or soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon raw Honey (Manuka honey if available)
- 2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
- 1 apple sliced into 1/4 inch strips
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Cut the wakame into strips of 1/2 inches. Soak seaweed in water for 5 minutes. Drain the water. In a bowl, mix soy sauce, sesame oil, honey and ginger. Stir until smooth. Add all ingredients but the sesame seeds to a bowl and toss. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Arame Salad Recipe
- 1 tablespoon dried Arame seaweed
- 3 cups cucumber (use peeled and scoop out seeds, sliced)
- 1 medium tomato (use peeled and scoop out seeds, sliced)
- 1 tablespoon scallion green or green onions
- 3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped cilantro
- 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (add to taste)
- Salt and paper to taste
Rinse Arame and soak in warm water for 15 minutes. For the dressing, mix together rice vinegar, soy sauce and freshly chopped cilantro in a bowl. Drain the excess water from the seaweed. Cut the seaweed into small pieces. Toss seaweed with the dressing and serve. Garnish it with olive oil according to taste.
Seaweed Salad Recipe
- 1/3 – 1/2 oz dried Seaweed (your Choice)
- 1 carrot
- 1 cucumber
- 1 zucchini
- 1/2 white or red onion
- 2 cups spring salad mix or mesclun mix
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 tablespoon mustard ( optional: use spicy mustard)
- 2½ tablespoons of sherry vinegar
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and black pepper to taste
Soak the seaweed in a bowl with warm water for about 10 minutes. Slice the cucumber, zucchini and carrot into thin slices. Chop the salad roughly into large chunks. Chill the vegetables (all) in ice-cold water for 15 minutes. Drain the seaweed to remove extra water. For the vinaigrette, mix the vinaigrette ingredients until smooth. Remove the vegetables from the ice-cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Toss the dressing, seaweed salad and vegetables with some cashew nuts and coriander leaves in a large bowl.
Caution: Due to the resent disasters in Japan and the Gulf of Mexico it is important to not use foods harvested from these areas. Read labels and find foods that are not potentially loaded with radiation and toxins. This applies to both seaplants/seaweeds and any seafoods such as fish, shellfish and supplements such as Fish oil or Krill oils.