Seaweed, ocean vegetables, are some of the most nutrient-rich foods available. They are high in calcium, potassium, iron and most importantly - iodine. Consuming healthy levels of iodine is critically important to maintaining a healthy thyroid, a gland in your neck which helps produce and regulate hormones. Some seaweeds are very high in protein as well.
Seaweed packs a variety of health benefits. These include digestive health, cholesterol-lowering effects and weight loss. A 2010 study found the algae can reduce our rate of fat absorption by 75 percent, thanks to its inhibitory effect on a digestive enzyme called lipase. Most seaweed contains algin, a fiber molecule that bins minerals, so when taken into the body it can attract various heavy metals within the digestive tract, such as lead and mercury, and reduce their absorption in the body.
Get your daily dose of a number of essential minerals and vitamins with only a small amount of seaweed such as nori, kelp or kombu. Kelp or dulce is a good high-mineral seaweed great for use as a seasoning. It makes a good salt substitute and is relatively low in sodium compared to table salt. Buy it as a seasoning, or crush it up to sprinkle on any dish. You'll get the flavor plus tons of great nourishment!
Get adventurous, do a little homework, shop aisles of the grocery store you don't usually - and start adding seaweed to your healthy lifestyle!
By Yvette Styner, CHN
Certified Holistic Nutritionist