Healthy Foods: Don’t weed seaweed out of your diet!

Does the thought of chomping down on a mouthful of seaweed appeal to you, or send you running for a tall glass of water?
If you have a negative association with eating seaweed, I venture to guess that you have never actually tasted it because it is one of the most delicious vegetables you can eat, when prepared the right way.
The most common way sea vegetables (the way folks have started referring to this food to get rid of that “weed” association) are eaten is dried. For example, the nori variety that we see in rectangular shapes in the Asian section of the grocery store—the seaweed made popular by the Americanization of sushi!
The health benefits you can gain from adding this Asian staple to your diet are really quite astonishing and the good news is, seaweed is a pretty versatile food. You can spice it up, or let its mild (sometimes even bland) flavor disappear in your dinner and you get the nutrition without even knowing there’s a new vegetable in there.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits you’ll see from consuming seaweed on a regular basis:
• Vitamins and minerals. Seaweed has more vitamins and minerals,,ounce for ounce, than any other plant. Period. You can get all 56 vitamins and minerals that you need to survive by eating seaweed.
• Iodine. This is not an easy nutrient to come by in the average diet, but it’s very important in ensuring that your thyroid and brain function properly. And most types of seaweed do contain iodine.
• Protein. Nori is very low in calories and contains no fat, but it is 28% protein.
On top of these surprising health benefits of such a humble food, seaweed contains cancer-fighting phytochemicals and antioxidants and is a good source of fiber. It’s also high in mood-regulating B-vitamins, blood pressure-lowering magnesium, and complexion-clearing Vitamin A.
So now that you know this stuff is good for you, how in the heck do you start eating sea vegetables?
I suggest you start with the dried variety of seaweed and figure out how you like it best as a snack. Try it with sesame oil for a special treat!
Dried seaweed is great in soups and salads. Soak it in water and put it in your next stir fry. Add some sesame oil and soy sauce for a delicious flavor enhancement.
I strongly recommend that you start feeding this wonder veggie to your children as early as you can, so they grow up used to incorporating it into their diets.
If you’re not quite ready to take the plunge, try starting out with a seasoning blend that contains seaweed. I love Bragg’s Organic Sea Kelp Delight seasoning. It has organic spices and herbs (24 of them) and kelp in it and I add it to everything from stews and salads to soups and side dishes. Nobody knows it’s in there but it gives a great flavor and a boost of nutrients.
So have I convinced you to give sea veggies a try? Tell us here!

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