Sea Vegetables: Wakame, Nori, Irish Moss, Kelp, Kombu, Dulse, Hijiki, and Arame

Sea Vegetables:  Wakame, Nori, Irish Moss, Kelp, Kombu, Dulse, Hijiki, and Arame

Like land grown vegetables, sea vegetables are low in calories and full of vitamins and minerals. Staples in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese, the multi billion dollar seaweed industry is slowly gaining acceptance in the Western world.

What are Sea Vegetables? Seaweeds, also known as marine algae, grow in all oceans around the world. They play an integral role in the ecosystem of ocean coastlines.  Edible seaweeds are usually classified as green, brown, or red algae. The names of individual sea vegetables are more familiar to those who eat them on a regular basis. Some to look for are Wakame, Nori, Irish Moss, Kelp, Kombu, Dulse, Hijiki, and Arame. China is the biggest producer of edible seaweeds in the world.

Eat Your Minerals ~ Sea vegetables should be enjoyed in small quantities because of their high concentration of iron and iodine as well as their tendency to absorb heavy metals from the water it grows in. While there is variance in the amount of vitamins and minerals that seaweed contain depending on the type and location they are grown, sea vegetables generally have ample amounts of calcium, B-vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin A.  A ½ cup serving will run you anywhere between 15 to 30 calories and you’re looking at a good amount of soluble fiber as well.

Sea Vegetables You Already Eat ~ Many Americans’ association with seaweed is from eating sushi, as it is used as a wrapping, and as an ingredient in miso soup. But what you may not know is sea vegetables are used widely as food additives. You may have seen what are known as hydrocolloids in the ingredient lists of many processed foods. Agar, alginate, and carrageenan are the most common. The foods you may be eating every day that include these food stabilizers include soy milk, ice cream, mayonnaise, processed meats, margarine, diet soda, and instant pudding.

You may have to go to health food stores or Asian markets to find a variety of sea vegetables. Although available fresh as in seaweed salads, they are generally sold dried and then reconstituted in water for at home cooking. There are also powders and flakes available to add to soups, stews, and salads. The dried varieties have an indefinite shelf life and maintain their nutritious qualities. Well-known brands in America include Eden Foods, Maine Coast Sea Vegetables and Rising Tide Sea Vegetables.

There are many reasons why sea vegetables are recommended as part of health and healing diet: weight loss, cellulite control, detoxification, vibrant hair and skin, and more. Sea vegetables can transform your health! Include sea vegetables into your diet every day and you 'll see a difference.

Sea vegetables come in green, brown, red and blue-green algae. A quick profile:

Kelp (laminaria) contains vitamins A, B, E, D and K, is a main source of vitamin C, and rich in minerals. Kelp proteins are comparable in quality to animal proteins. A brown marine plant, kelp contains sodium alginate (algin), an element that helps remove radioactive particles and heavy metals from the body. Algin, carrageenan and ager are kelp gels that rejuvenate gastrointestinal health and aid digestion. Kelp works as a blood purifier, relieves arthritis stiffness, and promotes adrenal, pituitary and thyroid health. Kelp's natural iodine can normalize thyroid-related disorders like overweight and lymph system congestion. It is a demulcent that helps eliminate herpes outbreaks. Kelp is rich -- a little goes a long way.

Kombu (laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp), has a long tradition as a Japanese delicacy with great nutritional healing value. It is a decongestant for excess mucous, and helps normalize blood pressure. Kombu has abundant iodine, carotenes, B, C, D and E vitamins, minerals like calcium, magnesium, potassium, silica, iron and zinc, and the powerful skin healing nutrient germanium. Kombu is a meaty, high-protein seaweed. It is higher in natural mineral salts than most other seaweeds. Add a strip of kombu to your beans to reduce gas.

Several of our specialty food products use Kombu dashi as the base ingredient including our award winning Ginger Soy Infusion Dressing and our Japanese Sesame Miso Dressing:

Ginger Soy Infusion - An authentic Japanese Dipping Sauce and Dressing made with Organic gluten free Tamari, Mirin, sake fresh ginger, garlic and a Kombu Dashi Stock using White Mountain spring water from the source. 

Japanese Sesame Miso - An authentic nutty and tangy Japanese dressing also made with Kombu Dashi Stock, a broth of poached Kombu, spring water from the prestine White Mountains of New Hampshire and Non GMO local miso from California.

Hijiki is a high-fiber seaweed, full of minerals with 20% protein, vitamin A, carotenes and calcium. Hijiki has the most calcium of any sea green, 1400mg per 100 grams of dry weight.

Nori (porphyra, laver) is a red sea plant with a sweet and meaty taste when dried. It contains nearly 50% balanced, assimilable protein, higher than any other sea plant. Nori's fiber makes it a perfect sushi wrapper. Nori is rich in all the carotenes, calcium, iodine, iron, and phosphorus.

Arame (Eisenia bycyclis), is one of the ocean's richest sources of iodine. Herbalists use arame to help reduce breast and uterine fibroids, adhesions, and through its fat soluble vitamins and phytohormones, to normalize menopausal symptoms. Arame promotes soft, wrinkle-free skin, and enhances hair leaving it glossy and soft.

Sea Palm (Postelsia Palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific Coast of North America. One of my favorites, it has a sweet, salty taste that goes especially well as a vegetable, rice or salad topping.

Bladderwrack is packed with vitamin K -- an excellent adrenal stimulant. It is still used today by native Americans in steam baths for arthritis, gout and illness recovery.

Wakame (alaria, undaria) is a high-protein, high calcium seaweed, with carotenes, iron and vitamin C. Widely used in the Orient for hair growth and luster, and for skin tone.

Dulse (palmaria palmata), a red sea plant, is rich in iron, protein, and vitamin A. It is a supremely balanced nutrient, with 300 times more iodine and 50 times more iron than wheat. Tests on dulse show activity against the herpes virus. It can be a valuable herb for sexuality for men. It has purifying and tonic effects on the body, yet its natural, balanced salts nourish as a mineral, without inducing thirst.
For more on details on the cultural history of dulse and its nutrition, take a look at Dr Kevin Currans website: Ethno Herbalist

Irish Moss (chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals including calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. Its mucilaginous compounds help with detoxification, boosts metabolism and strengthens hair, skin and nails. Traditionally used for a low sex drive.

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