By now you've heard that eating sea vegetables can be good for your health. Asian cultures (where risk of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis is the lowest) have consumed sea vegetables for thousands of years, but they are just now gaining western attention due to more research that is emerging about their nutrient content and potential benefits.
But first, what are they? Sea vegetables are classified as algae and include dulse, kelp, nori, hijike, wakame and kombu. Because they absorb nutrients from their surrounding marine environment they tend to be an abundant source of iodine and other trace minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium. They are also high in chlorophyll, fiber, and vitamin C, as well as sulfated polysaccharides, which are complex carbohydrates that have been shown to contain anti-viral and anti-clotting properties.
What's great about sea veggies is that they can be consumed cold or hot and added to a variety of meals such as salads, stir fries or soups.
Kelp, in particular, is a type of brown seaweed that is especially high in minerals, specifically iodine. Incorporating iodine in your diet assists with optimal thyroid function and metabolism. However, be cautious of too much iodine, as excessive amounts can be harmful. Basically, no need to take iodine supplements in addition to consuming high iodine foods. Incorporating foods with adequate sources of iodine provides sufficient amounts of iodine that your body requires. Another note about sea vegetables, since they absorb substances from their surrounding environment, they have the ability to absorb harmful metals such as arsenic, cadmium and lead. Make sure to purchase organic sea vegetables to avoid these toxic metals.
The recipe below can be made cold or hot, cooked or raw. Let us know what you think and how you prepared it!
1 package of kelp noodles (personal fave is Sea Tangle)
- 1 Tbsp white miso
- 1 1/2 Tbsp peanut butter (peanuts and salt)
- 1 1/2 Tbsp almond butter (almonds and salt)
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1-2 tsp chili paste (depending on the amount of spice you prefer)
- 1 tsp Tamari
- 3/4 cup water
Add all ingredients to a blender and mix well. You can also add 2-3 cloves of garlic and 1 Tbsp of ginger to the blender as a part of your sauce. I added garlic and ginger to the wok (below). Either option would work well. Also, you have the option of using only peanut butter or only almond butter. Personally, I like to use a blend to get the nutrient benefits from the legume and the tree nut.
These can be cooked or raw and you can pretty much use any veggies. I lightly heated mine in a wok just because I tend to digest lightly cooked and heated veggies better than raw. Here's what I heated in a wok with about 1 Tbsp of coconut oil:
- orange bell pepper
- 1/2 c green onion, chopped
- 1/2 c chopped cilantro
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 Tbsp minced ginger
Once the vegetables were cooked to my liking I tossed the sea kelp into the wok for less than a minute, just to slightly warm it. I added everything to a bowl, poured the dressing on top and mixed it well. Finally, add some extra cilantro and peanuts for an additional boost of flavor and crunch.
Let us know what you think!