Dulse, arame, kombu, wakame, kelp.

What the heck are these you ask?

Sea vegetables aka seaweed!

You might be familiar with sea vegetables if you’ve ever been to a Japanese restaurant for sushi.  There are some rolls that are wrapped in nori, one of the most common seaweeds.

Seaweeds are algae; chlorophyll-containing organisms.1   In my research there seems to be some debate whether algae are considered plants or not, either way algae are fascinating.

There are three types of seaweed: red, green and brown.

Red Green Brown
Nori Sea lettuce Arame
Dulse   Kombu
Source for carrageenan   Kelp
Source for
agar-agar
  Wakame

*Note – this list is not exhaustive

Many seaweeds contain a fibre molecule called algin which has the possibility of attracting heavy metals in the digestive tract then taking them out of the body’s system.2

Sea vegetables are one of the best sources of natural iodine.  Humans need iodine, without it the body cannot synthesize thyroid hormones.3  I would much prefer to obtain my minerals through natural sources such as seaweed then from iodized table salt which has been chemically treated.

Here are some great recipes featuring a variety of sea vegetables –

Arame, Shiitake and Pea Risotto
Cucumber Wakame Salad
Sun Seed Nori Rolls
Wakame, Kale and Avocado Salad with Japanese Dressing

Make sure to purchase organic seaweed to reduce the risk of contamination.  (As of right now, I have not been able to find a reliable source that discusses the effect on seaweed from the Fukushima nuclear crisis.)

For more information on sea vegetables, check out this guide from Whole Foods.

References

1.  Guiry, Michael.  “What Are Seaweeds?”  The Seaweed Site: information on marine algae.  2011.  National University Of Ireland, Galway.  5 Sep 11.  <http://www.seaweed.ie/algae/seaweeds.html>

2. Haas, Elson M.  Staying Healthy With Nutrition.  Berkeley:  Celestial Arts, 2006.

3. Mateljan, George.  The World’s Healthiest Foods.  Seattle, WA: GMF Publishing, 2007.

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