The word seaweed often turns people off; however, weeds are some of the earth’s most nutrient-dense foods. Weeds are wild plants that have taproots up to over 100 feet deep, which make them incredible survivors. These roots allow them to soak up nutrients deep in the earth, reaching beyond the nutrient-depleted soils from modern farming.
In a similar way, seaweeds are survivor foods. Aside from wild earth weeds, they are some of the most nutrient-packed foods you will encounter. These foods have the ability to survive in the increasingly toxin-laden environment of the ocean. If you want to be a strong survivor, eat strong-surviving foods.
Ocean or sea vegetables sounds a lot nicer than seaweed so we’ll stick to that term for the remainder of the article. I want to encourage you to give these foods a try and I will explain why.
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Why Sea Vegetables?
Have you ever noticed how young and beautiful the people of Japan are? I surely have and it was only right that I explored why. It’s not really difficult to find out why people get certain results; look at what they think and do on a consistent basis.
If you examine the Japanese diet you will notice sea vegetables are a staple part of their diet. After careful consideration and investigation I found that many other icons of health and beauty, such as Donna Gates of Body Ecology, recommend these miraculous foods. Seeing the results, it took me no time to give these foods a try and I suggest you do too!
With a little bit of research, it turns out that these plant foods are unbelievably mineral-rich. And minerals are the beauty nutrients. Without minerals we do not properly absorb other important nutrients that grow our hair and reproduce new skin cells. Not to mention, they are surprisingly versatile in recipes and taste delicious. However, being honest, it’s their vast health and beauty benefits that keep me coming back for more. Here are just a few of them:
Benefits of sea vegetables:
- Prevent aging
- Promote the growth of healthy hair
- Maintain youthful elasticity in skin
- Promote healthy cholesterol levels
- Resolve mineral deficiencies
- Detoxify the body of heavy metals, pollutants and carcinogens
- Inhibit the overgrowth of pathogenic viruses, yeast and bacteria
- Balance thyroid function
- Lubricate the digestive tract for healthy elimination
The Many Different Sea Vegetables
If you’ve ever eaten sushi, then you’ve had seaweed. The blackish green wrap that surrounds the fish and vegetables is known as nori. This is a common sea vegetable as it has a very neutral taste with a pleasant crunch. If this is the only sea vegetable you’ve ever tasted then you may be interested to discover a variety of other sea vegetables that are equally as delicious and nutritious.
Here are 12 other popular sea vegetables worth trying:
This brown seaweed is part of the kelp family. It is almost sweet in taste and is a great place to start if you are new to eating sea vegetables. It is usually packaged in shredded form and has a crispy texture when dry. To eat, simply soak in water for a few minutes and it will expand like chia seed does. You can just toss it into a salad and voila, you have a truly beautiful salad with a protein- and mineral-rich addition.
This is a popular ingredient in miso soup, if you’ve ever had it. It’s also a great addition to just about any soup. Simply take a small strip and add it to your homemade soups, and you have some 70+ trace minerals now all working to reverse aging in your body! As a great anti-aging tip, I suggest making kombu a kitchen staple as you would sea salt.
Closely related to kombu, this variety is said to have metabolic properties. Perhaps seaweed is part of the secret to Japan’s low rates of obesity?
Probably one of the most sacred of seaweeds, this black seaweed makes a great natural beauty aid. This very black sea veggie looks scary at first, as most people do not eat many black foods. However, you should embrace this food. It is the phenomenal amount of minerals that gives it its black pigment. It is said in Traditional Chinese Medicine that this food is responsible for the dark, beautiful hair of Japanese folk. Want lush locks? Try this small-cut seaweed in your next salad. Or my personal favorite, soak it and mix with slow-cooked carrots.
This is my personal favorite. Dulse makes such a great snack, as it needs no cooking or soaking. It comes ready to eat with a chewy, salty and slightly sweet taste. It’s also jam-packed with protein and iron, making it wonderful for thicker, shinier hair.
Agar is my secret ingredient for creating mind-blowingly delicious sugar-free desserts. It is a great vegetarian alternative to gelatin as it has the same consistency when soaked and provides ample amounts of collagen. Irish moss is another gelatin alternative. However, this can be used in savory dishes as well for a thick gravy base. Careful, as too much of it has mild laxative property. However, this makes it wonderful for those prone to constipation. This is a great beauty food as constipation leads to toxicity causing skin problems like acne.
Perhaps the most popular brown seaweed, kelp is actually an algae. It grows in the more nutrient-rich ocean waters, which gives it its vitamins, minerals and iodine content. Kelp is thought to be especially beneficial for the prostate, pancreas and digestive system, all of which (when they are in great shape) contribute to youthfulness and splendor. Many of the beauty-related health issues such as dry skin, brittle nails and hair loss are related to the thyroid. Those with thyroid disorders such as hypothyroid, Hashimoto’s (an autoimmune issue) and hyperthyroid could greatly benefit from this sea vegetable. Your thyroid needs minerals, especially the ones found in sea vegetables. Eating kelp is a much safer way to get minerals and iodine than most supplements, as it’s difficult to overdose with food sources.
Here are some other wonderful, yet less popular sea vegetables:
08. Laminaria Japonica
This sea plant is special in that it works particularly well for cleansing the body of heavy metals. It’s rich in vitamins and minerals that aid the thyroid and detoxify the body from heavy metals, which wards off disease and keeps the body young.
09. Sea Lettuce
You guessed it; just as the name suggests, this one looks just like lettuce – despite its strong seafood taste and odor. However, once dried it becomes very flaky in texture and makes for a great topping for foods.
Also known as Irish Sea Moss, this is an incredible source of collagen. If you didn’t know, collagen is one of the building blocks of youthful skin. One of the main reasons people get wrinkles as they age is that they stop producing collagen. By consuming Irish moss daily you are ensuring that you can maintain that baby face for a lifetime! This one is more typically eaten cold and makes the most wildly good raw cashew cheese! It makes an even better flan-like dessert. Yum.
You will find this sea veggie in many thyroid support supplements. Rather than buy an expensive pill, just eat the stuff! It is commonly used as an additive and flavoring in Europe as it helps preserve food and add great flavor. Bladderwrack has proved most useful in the treatment of underactive thyroid glands (hypothyroidism) and goiters in many studies.
This is pretty much the parent algae to nori and wakame. It’s a brown algae that is common along the entire North Pacific coast of America. Therefore, it can be found domestically and is popularly foraged for. This is a great place to start with wild foraging, which will be a part of one of my next blogs – stay tuned!
Where To Find Sea Vegetables
If you live in the United States, you can find many of these healing foods in health food stores and even Whole Foods. If you have a local Asian market you trust then you will likely find them for a great price there.
You can also order sea veggies online. There are many great online sources; some of my personally used sources are JustSeaWeed.Com and SeaVeg.com. Both of these sites source some of the finest, wildest and cleanest seaweeds available in the great big sea!
In conclusion, choosing to make sea vegetables part of your diet is a tried and tested idea. Sea veggies have benefited the health and beauty of the Japanese culture alone for thousands for years. I’ve noticed for myself and you may notice yourself that by eating them you start feeling younger and healthier, as well.
Don’t just take my advice for it; give them a try for yourself! See what happens after some time of consistently eating these miraculous foods and come back and drop me a note. I am always excited to hear about people’s experiences.