Types of Sea Vegetables

sea-plantsSea Veggies are a great add to any diet. They add variety, nutrients and taste. They are versatile and can be used in soups, casseroles, and stir-fries or used as fillers or thickeners.

Sea vegetables have very distinct flavors and it may be more of an acquired taste for some people. There are several different types of sea vegetables and each one has benefits and multiple uses. Just a few are:

Agar Agar. This is derived from red seaweed and is used by vegans as a natural thickener in puddings, pies or sauces. It can be found in most health food stores and is full of iodine, calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins.

Perevalnie Is., Shuyak Is, AK; 2005Alaria. Alaira is similar to Japanese wakame, Alaria is a brown seaweed. It has several different uses and can be used raw or cooked. It is most often found in soups or as a salad topping. It is rich in iodine, bromine, calcium, vitamin A and B vitamins like B2 and B6. There are claims stating it is also rich in B12.

Arame. Arame is a sea vegetable that is mild enough in flavor for those that are new to this type of vegetable or that do not want a strong flavor in their food. It usually comes in long strands and resembles hijiki. Arame is rich in iron, calcium, potassium and especially iodine. It is also a good source of protein.

Dulse. Dulse is a very popular type of seaweed. It is easily found in health food stores and many Asian supermarkets. Dulse is usually less salty than other sea vegetables and can be used in a variety of dishes. It comes in flakes that can be sprinkled on top of anything to add flavor. It is high in potassium, phosphorus, manganese, iodine, iron, vitamin A and vitamin B6 and also has more protein than a serving of chickpeas.

hijikiHijiki. Hijiki is a very strong tasting seaweed and goes well with onions, tofu and other root vegetables. It can often be found in stir-fries. Hijiki is very high in calcium and rich in trace minerals. It is also a good source of iron and protein.

Irish Moss. This is also known as carageenan. Carageenan is a seaweed used in many products such as rice milk, soy milk, sauces and also toothpastes and shampoos. It is used most often as a thickening agent. It contains minerals, iodine and vitamin A.

Kelp. Kelp is pretty similar to Japanese Kombu. It is sold dried and in powder form and can be used as an alternative to salt. One serving of kelp has the required daily amount needed of chromium, which helps to regulate blood sugar.

Kombu. Also known as sea cabbage. It is used most often with beans. The biggest benefit of kombu is that if one has problems digesting beans a bit of kombu thrown into the beans will help to help soften them. This is because the enzymes in the vegetable help to break down the sugars in the beans. Kombu also contains glutamic acid which naturally gives more flavor to foods. Kombu is known to reduce blood cholesterol and hypertension.

nori_sushi_rollsNori. Nori is known as sea lettuce. Nori is the seaweed we usually see in sushi rolls. Just because it is most known for sushi rolls, however, does not mean we cannot take advantage of it in other dishes. One can also use it in mixed vegetables, stir-fries and noodle dishes. Nori is chocked full of protein and nutrients. It is rich in vitamins and minerals such calcium, iron, manganese, fluoride, copper, zinc, vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12.

Wakame. Wakame is most famously used in miso soup. Adding it into soups helps to expand the seaweed and it adds a nice flavor. It is also tasty added to brown rice. Wakame is most closely related to Kombu and they share many of the same nutrients.

Several health benefits of sea vegetables include:

  • good source of protein
  • reduce cholesterol
  • remove metallic and radioactive elements from the body
  • has antibiotic properties
  • contain fiber
  • has a balancing, alkalizing effect on the body
  • contain ergesterol which helps convert Vitamin D in the body

Since sea veggies contain lots of iodine, we can rest assured that they help keep our thyroid gland regular. We just have to make sure we don’t overdo it, since too much iodine can be overstimulating and cause issues in the body.

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