Saturday, 1 January 2011

Edible Seaweed

 Wakame seaweed

Seaweeds are superfood. They come in a variety of colours and textures. Some taste and smell of sea, others are bland. Seaweeds are used in many cultures in cooking and healing (wound dressing) as well as in beauty products.

Seaweeds, also known as sea vegetables: 
* contain ten to twenty times the minerals of land plants and an abundance of vitamins
* as a group have the greatest amount and the broadest range of minerals of any organism and are particularly rich in iodine, calcium and iron
are one of the few good sources of fluorine, a halogen that boosts the body's defences and strengthens the teeth and bones
* remove radioactive and toxic metals from the body
* improve metabolism
* act as lymphatic cleansers
* alkalise the blood
* alleviate liver stagnancy
* are beneficial to the thyroid gland function, which controls our metabolism
* are useful for lowering cholesterol and fat in the blood
promote smoother skin and healthy hair

A few popular varieties:
* Nori is not just for sushi. You can pulverise or tear a sheet or two into small pieces and use it as a condiment. Nori has a wonderfully deep flavour that goes especially well with fish and vegetables.
* Arame is the mildest tasting seaweed.
* Agar agar is a mixture of colourless seaweeds and is used as gelatin by vegetarians and other smart people.
* Wakame is my favourite seaweed in soups. I soak it first and then I blend it in its soaking water, before adding the thick green liquid to the soup at the very last stage to preserve seaweed's nutritional properties.

All nutritional information is from the excellent "Healing with Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford, 3rd edition.

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