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Seaweed: A superfood for you and the environment.
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Seaweed: A superfood for you and the environment.

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The superfood of the ocean has a tidal wave of benefits. Seaweed is the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae that grow in the ocean, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water.

Aside from being good for your body, seaweed is good for the environment and could easily be the future of sustainability and healing the environment. 

Is seaweed a vegetable?

Seaweed is green, a plant, and good for you, so obviously it's a vegetable. But seriously, various varieties of seaweed have more concentrated nutrition than vegetables grown on land. 

Some freshwater algae are toxic, but many marine plants are not only safe to eat but have fabulous benefits! For sushi fans, this is great news. For everyone else, there are other ways to eat this vibrant plant.

seaweed snacks

Seaweed Nutrition

For thousands of years varieties of seaweed have been a part of diets in Asia and is thought to prolong life and aid in overall beauty and health. The benefits of seaweed range from aiding in muscle function, to digestion, to balancing hormones and blood sugar. 

Seaweed is loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Seaweed is considered a superfood because it is so rich in vitamins, minerals, and other elements your body needs. 

Namely, Seaweed contains significant amounts of:

  • Calcium is good for your bones and also helps your heart, muscles, and nerves function properly. 
  • Copper plays a bigger role in how your body functions than you might think. It contributes to the production of red blood cells, your immune system, and helps the body form collagen and absorb iron, it affects how much energy you have.
  • Potassium helps make your bones and muscles strong. It functions as an electrolyte which manages processes like nerve signals and muscle contractions. 
  • Selenium is an antioxidant which helps prevent cell damage. It may also prevent mental decline and reduce the risk of cancer. It also gives your immune system a boost.  
  • Zinc helps your immune system and overall growth and development of the body. It’s important to get a daily intake as the body doesn’t store it very well. 
  • Iron helps you combat fatigue and is also crucial to immune system functioning. 
  • Magnesium is important for regulating many processes in the body, such as muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. It also assists the body in making protein, bone, and DNA.

  • Other benefits of seaweed:

    Vitamins present in seaweed are vitamin A, B, C, E, and vitamin K. Seaweed is also high in fiber and iodine.

    seaweed a vegetable

    Seaweed can prevent weight gain and diabetes.

    Seaweed is high in fiber and supports overall digestion and gut health. Eight grams of seaweed can provide up to 12.5 percent of your daily fiber. It helps stabilize your blood sugar. 

    Studies show that fucoxanthin, which is found in seaweed reduces the fat accumlation and promotes oxidation of fat. Seaweed is even used in some diet pills. 

    Fucoxanthin has also been proven to have anti-diabetic effects, in studies it showed that fucoxanthin-rich diets prevented obesity and other diabetes-related disorders. 

    Seaweed is rich in iodine. 

    Seaweed, depending on what area it comes from, is high in iodine and one sheet can have enough for recommended daily intake. 

    According to the American Thyroid Association, nearly 30 percent of the world’s population is at risk for iodine deficiency. Iodine is an element that aids in the production of the thyroid hormone. 

    Iodine deficiency can result in:

    • Swelling in the neck
    • Unexpected weight gain
    • Fatigue
    • Hair loss
    • Dry skin
    • Changes in heart rate
    • Trouble remembering
    • Hormonal imbalance

    Seaweed is being used as a medicine.

    Algae is being studied and tested for use in pharmaceuticals to aid with

    • Improving immune system
    • Treat respiratory ailments
    • Treat skin problems
    • Cure cold sores
    • Thyroid functioning

    In Chinese medicine seaweed used to treat 

    • Cancer
    • Goiters
    • Testicular pain
    • Edema
    • Urinary Infections
    • Sore Throats
    • Cysts
    • Lymph swelling

    The surge in seaweed snacks.

    sushi

    Seaweed is being used more and more in a variety of foods, here are some ways to incorporate into your daily diet

    While rumor suggests that some seaweed varieties taste like bacon, not everyone likes it eat it by itself. There are many ways to enjoy seaweed. Here are some of the most popular:

    Nori

    Nori is most commonly known for wrapping sushi, however it can be eaten plain as a snacking alternative. You might like it as a healthy, salty tasting snack. Just make sure to check your teeth for green specs after. 

    Spirulina

    Spirulina is one of the oldest life forms on Earth, it is known as the world’s first superfood and is one of the most nutrient-rich foods on earth. Spirulina was consumed by the ancient Aztecs but became popular modernly when NASA proposed that it could be grown in space for use by astronauts. It’s a great source of natural protein so try using the powdered form in smoothies or your pre/post workout drinks.

    seaweed flakes

    Kombu

    Kombu is an edible kelp that can be bought dried, in pieces, or in a powder. You can add it to any savory liquid-based food: broths, soups or stews.

    Seaweed Salad

    Mix together wakame and other seaweed varieties to make a beautiful seaweed salad. Add veggies, and an oil-based dressing!

    via GIPHY

    Seaweed Flakes and Powdered Seaweed

    Seaweed Flakes can be incorporated liberally to most any meal as a seasoning or garnish. Powdered Seaweed can be mixed into salad dressings.

    You can easily incorporate seaweed into your diet by mixing it in with other foods. Try replacing five percent of flour in pizza or bread dough with dried seaweed. Adding that amount won’t affect the dough’s ability to rise. 

    The options are nearly limitless. From butter to tea to seasoning to pickles, here are some seaweed products you can try. 

    seaweed reduces pollution

    Seaweed could save the environment.

    Seaweed grows quickly and is a sustainable source for food and all the uses people can find for it. As the need for sustainable products with low-impact on the environment becomes increasingly vital, these sea vegetables are a solution to many problems we face in 2019. 

    Seaweed has proven itself as a sustainable source of food. Even more interesting, and possibly offering even more sustainability opportunities, is the other ways seaweed has been used to create environmentally-friendly product options. 

    Seaweed is being used in meat replacements.

    The meat industry contributes greatly to greenhouse gasses. Cutting back on meat cuts back on these emissions. Seaweed is used in food sources instead of animal products.

    Agar, which is derived from red seaweed, is a animal-free substitute for gelatin. It can also be used as a thickener for soups and puddings, jams, and jellies. 

    Seaweed is used in a variety of meatless products from burgers to spaghetti. 

    A study estimated that a seaweed farm covering 180,000 square kilometers could provide enough protein for the world’s population. A seaweed farm also has the added benefit of reducing waste and seaweed is actually nourished by the waste products of fish.  

    Seaweed not only reduces the emissions caused by meat farming, it actually improves the quality of our environment.

    seaweed farming

    Seaweed farming cleans the air.

    Feeding seaweed and algae to cows has been shown to reduce their methane emissions by about 20 percent--in simple terms, after eating seaweed cow burps decreased which means less pollution in the air. An estimated 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases is caused by agriculture so decreasing that by 20 percent would make a significant difference.

    Farming seaweed could play a significant part in cleaning up our air. Saltwater plants can take up to 20 times more C02 from the atmosphere than forests on the land. The amount of carbon seaweed can absorb could have significant impacts to balance the emissions that cities put out into our air. 

    Kelp has potential to reduce the levels of atmospheric carbon and is a fast-growing alternative to land plants.

    Seaweed is a sustainable plastic alternative.

    A company in Portland has developed a plastic out of algae. It dissolves in water and is non-toxic. Plastic is a huge problem because it’s sitting in our landfills. It’s floating in our oceans, blocking the flow of water, and harming wildlife. Algotek is working to eliminate single-use plastics. It can be made into bags, utensils, and it’s even edible. 

    Seaweed can be used as fertilizer.

    The rich nutrients in seaweed are not only good for you, they’re good for your plants. Seaweed can be mixed in with garden soil to add potassium, phosphorus and other elements that are good for the soil. 

    These are just some of the uses people have found for this water plant. Comment below to let us know how you incorporate seaweed into your life.  

    Related Reads

    Just like seaweed, monk fruit has been used for centuries in Asia and is seen to have the same secret to longevity. Learn more about monk fruit and incorporate our MonkFruit Sweetener into your life for a little more sweetness. 

    Seaweed is on our list of recommended road trip snacks. See what else is on our list.