My baby loves seaweed. It sounds strange but he just loves to hold those little slices of black/green paper-like substances in his little fingers and chomps away. Maybe itâ€™s the texture, the crunch, maybe it is that sea-like flavor or it could possibly be the nutrient content that he is craving. Itâ€™s a good thing too because having a mom as a nutritionist, youâ€™re lucky if you like seaweed as snack since it will be a looong time before you get to have cookies! You know Iâ€™ll be one of those moms that offers the kids seaweed and quinoa croquettes after school as a snack rather than sweetsâ€¦so embarrassing- poor kid.
Seaweed is one of those mysteriously, magical foods. You know itâ€™s probably good for you with that bright green color and unique texture. Â Itâ€™s in your sushi and miso soup and may occasionally appear in some random dishes of Chinese food, but you may be wondering why it is healthy. Here are some of the reasons:
This sea vegetable is loaded with nutrients– potassium, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, iron, omega-3 fatty acids, iodine, B-12 (it is one of the few vegetables to contain B-12, thus making it beneficial for vegans and vegetarians), folic acid (great for pregnancy), zinc, chromium, selenium, and is loaded with antioxidants and anti-cancer agents. Seaweed also has many amino acids making it a great protein source for vegetarians. The perfect blend of vitamin C and iron makes the iron more bioavailable to the body when consumed (vitamin C is essential for the absorption of iron). One quarter of a cup of seaweed has approximately 3x the amount of calcium found in one cup of milk!
Blood sugar control
Some studies show that eating seaweed may improve insulin resistance. That is great news for diabetics.
Seaweed is high in iodine, which is essential for proper thyroid function. Your thyroid controls your metabolism so you definitely want your iodine levels to be optimal.
Seaweed is high in fiber, therefore making it great for digestion, blood sugar control, and even satiety. One sheet of nori may have close to as much fiber as one cup of spinach.
There has been some media hype regarding seaweedâ€™s association with weight loss. Recent studies demonstrate seaweeds ability to reduce the accumulation of fat in the bodies of laboratory animals, however, further research needs to be done in order to prove the same effects in humans.
You may think seaweed is going to be high in sodium but itâ€™s actually naturally very low so always read the ingredients on the package and make sure no salt is added. They are also very low in calories! (added bonus) Seaweed is actually beneficial to high blood pressure and has a diuretic affect on the body. Additionally, the high levels of magnesium and panthanoic acids are important for counteracting the harmful effects of stress on the body. Seaweed is also used in many cosmetic products as it is believed to contain anti-aging compounds.
Enjoy them anytime and add them to soups, sprinkle on salads, eggs, stir-fries or just eat on their own as a snack like my baby does!
Here are some of their beautiful names given to the different varieties of seaweeds:
Nori, Kombu, Kelp, Carrageen, wakame, dulse, and arame
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