Seaweed...

I must admit I do like a nice Sushi roll occasionally and it’s likely that most of us have eaten the seaweed on the outside of a Sushi roll and not thought too much about its health benefits.

Seaweeds are surely one of Mother Nature’s great superfoods. Growing in the oceans of the world they have access to nutrient rich water and become nutritionally condensed plants that are a plentiful source of vitamins, minerals and protein. Numerous studies have shown wide ranging health benefits for detoxification, cancer and heart disease prevention, lowering blood pressure, improving digestive function and assisting with weight loss.

 

 

6 Benefits of eating Seaweed

 

1. Powerful Chelating Properties:

A Canadian University study showed that sodium alginate (a derivative of Wakame seaweed) was able to bind with the radioactive chemical Strontium 90 (an extremely toxic component in nuclear fallout) and allow it to be excreted. Not really important I hear you say, unless you are living near Chernobyl or Fukushima….But more relevantly, seaweeds offer protection from a wide range of environmental toxins, chemicals and heavy metals that we are exposed to in our modern world by helping the body to chelate (by converting them into harmless salts that the body can excrete).

 

2. Alkalizing and detoxifying:

Cellulite sufferers and spa devotees often pay a lot of money to be wrapped up in the browny green seaweed and whilst a great external detoxifier, eating seaweed alkalises and detoxes from the inside. Green seaweeds are rich in chlorophyll which is a natural detoxifier that helps draw out bodily waste products.

 

 

3. Source of Anti-oxidants:

Seaweed is very high in lignans (these are plant substances that become phytoestrogens in the body) which in turn help block chemical estrogens that can predispose people to cancers such as breast cancer. A Harvard University paper published by Dr Jane Teas concluded that kelp consumption might be a factor in the lower rates of breast cancer in Japan.

 

4. Support Cardiovascular health:

A 25-year study of the longest-lived population, the Okinawans, revealed that sea vegetables were among the seven to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables they ate daily. This same population also had very low levels of cardiovascular disease, clean arteries, low cholesterol and low homocysteine. Wakame has been shown to prevent high blood pressure in animals and research from Kyoto University showed that the fibres from brown seaweed lowered blood pressure and reduced the risk of stroke in animals predisposed to cardiovascular problems.

 

 

5. High in vitamins and minerals:

Seaweed's best-known benefit is that it is an amazing source of iodine, which is critical for maintaining a healthy thyroid gland. This gland is responsible for maintaining our metabolism and weight as well as a myriad of other vital bodily functions. This mineral is often very difficult to source, particularly in Australia and New Zealand as our soils are depleted and therefore the foods grown in them are very low in iodine. High in Vitamins A and C and minerals, seaweed can contain up to 10 times more calcium than milk and 8 times as much as beef. Wakame is a great source of calcium, iodine, folate, magnesium, B vitamins and is one of the few non animal sources of vitamin B12 making it excellent for vegetarians.

 

6. Great for digestive health:

The same seaweed alginate has also been found by scientists at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne to strengthen gut mucus, slow down digestion and make food release its energy more slowly, plus it’s also very high in fibre! A study of Japanese women showed that high seaweed intake increases the good bacteria in the gut.

 

Not all brands of seaweeds are equal:

 When sourcing or buying seaweed, choose brands that can attest to the purity of their seaweed and buy certified organic where possible. Seaweeds will absorb the properties of the water in which they are grown, so you want to ensure that they have been grown and harvested in unpolluted waters that are pure, and free from harmful chemicals.

 

 

Adding seaweed to your diet can be a simple and tasty addition, some of the ways I like to eat it apart from Sushi , is in salads , soups and stir fries, I also keep a herb shaker filled with a mixture of Dulse, Wakame and Nori flakes to use as a seasoning for everything from salads, steamed veggies fish and rice. It’s a great addition to so many foods.

 

I’ve included my families favourite recipe:

 

 

Dulse Seed crackers

 

Ingredients:

1 cup Golden flax seeds (can use brown flax seeds)

1 ½ tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp sunflower seeds

3 tbsp pumpkin seeds

1 ½ tbsp chia seeds

½ tablespoon of Dulse flakes

1 ½ teaspoon Peruvian Pink Salt

Herbs – oregano, thyme, (optional)

 

  1. Place the flaxseeds and chia seeds in a bowl, add enough filtered water to cover, then leave covered for 6-8 hours or overnight (they will soak up the water and become gelatinous). 
  2. Place the other seeds in a bowl of filtered water for the same time. (After soaking time drain and rinse before using.) 
  3. Add gelatinous undrained flaxseeds to the rinsed and drained seeds and place in blender with salt, dulse and any other seasonings you desire – pulse to break up seeds but don’t overdo it !– you still want the seeds to be chunky.
  4. Spread the mixture evenly on the lined baking sheet and bake at 100C for an hour and a half.
  5. Turn over and bake for another hour and a half.
  6. Turn the heat off and let it cool inside the oven. Once cooled, break into "free form", uneven pieces (makes approximately 35) For even size crackers, score the dough with a knife before baking

Till next time :)