The Health Benefits of Seaweed
It is freezing here in Delaware, and I am thinking about how I can’t wait to get to the beach this summer. My favorite thing about the beach is going in the water. But nothing is worse than being in the water, having a good old time, and all of a sudden, you feel something brush your leg. If you’re anything like me, you freak out and scream, thinking that it is something completely unlikely, like a shark or an eel. 99% of the time it is just SEAWEED. And while we don’t like it touching our outsides, believe it or not, it can do wonders for our insides! Seaweed is a rich source of vitamins including Vitamin A, B, C, E and K. It also includes essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium, copper, potassium, selenium, zinc, iodine and iron.
Seaweed can also serve as a digestive aid by stimulating the release of digestive enzymes, supporting the absorption of nutrients, and facilitating the metabolism of fats. It also acts as a prebiotic- which helps in the normal functioning of beneficial stomach bacteria. Seaweed also has antioxidant and antiviral properties. Surprisingly, it can even help your teeth by improving the function of the salivary glands and making oral tissue more resistant to damage. And if that isn’t surprising enough, it can also do wonders for your skin and hair in fact, a lot of spas offer “seaweed wraps,” which cleanse the body by expelling toxins through the pores. Now that we know the benefits, let’s talk about how we can incorporate it into our lives:
• Seaweed supplements
• Try it for Breakfast - Add diced Nori or other varieties to your eggs. Try an Asian-inspired omelet with sautéed shitaake mushrooms, seaweed & bamboo shoots.
• Seaweed Snacks - Seaweed can be fried and baked to create crunchy snacks similar to potato chips, but with less calories and lots more fiber. Consider making your own seaweed crisps or buy them at your local Korean market or on the Internet.
• Add it to Soups - Kelp can add a spark of flavor to heated dishes like stocks, soups, stews and curries. Sprinkle in about a tablespoon or so after the simmer has finished right before you serve. Note that heating does negate the enzyme content of the seaweed to a certain extent- however the taste is light and lovely, and most the vitamins/minerals will be preserved.
• Seasoning - Many people simply use kelp powder and other ground seaweeds as a salt substitute, they can also be mixed with other spices to create a seasoning. Try cayenne, garlic, parsley, rosemary, thyme, turmeric or cumin.
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