Whether you're plant-based or an omnivore, most of us want to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet that includes the most super of all foods: superfoods. Well, here's another superfood we challenge you to weave into your diet for more robust health: sea vegetables.
Just reading ‘sea vegetables’ may have turned some of you off—it's just one of those foods you either love or hate. It won't be hard to twist the arms of sushi lovers to crank up their sea veg intake, but by the end of this article, we hope to compel those with sea veg aversions to at least try something new (in the name of better health).
The Benefits of Sea Veggies
To be classified as a superfood means the food source is bursting with goodness — vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, protein and fiber. Sea vegetables are no different, offering a spectrum of health benefits that'll help with maintaining a healthy weight, blood sugar management, heart health and protection against disease.
Here's what makes sea vegetables so good:
Iodine: If you're plant-based or interested in becoming vegan, you run the risk of iodine deficiency (for more information, grab a copy of our free Plant-Based eBook) so eating your sea greens will help maintain your RDI of iodine. Iodine serves many functions in the body, but it's mainly linked to the thyroid since insufficient iodine intake increases your chances of hypothyroidism.
Natural Detox: It's no surprise that our modernized world means constant exposure to chemicals in the food, our goods, and the environment. Left unchecked, these heavy metals can damage your health. Sea vegetables, like spirulina, can help reroute those chemicals out of your body through your detox pathways — for a natural detox.
Gut Health: Sea greens are loaded with prebiotics (to feed your colony of healthy gut bacteria) and crazy-good levels of fiber to keep you regular. Another perk: the fiber found in seaweed attaches to bad cholesterol and sends it packing on a one-way trip out of your body!
Antioxidant-Rich: It's not only heavy metals we have to worry about; it's also free radicals as they are very damaging to your health. Seaweed is brimming with antioxidants like vitamin A, C and E, all of which will hunt down and kick free radicals to the curb—pretty awesome.
Omega-3's: These essential dietary fats that your body can't produce are beneficial to brain and eye health as well as guarding you against an array of diseases like inflammatory diseases, certain cancers and even ADHD. By ingesting the RDI, it's like taking a power boost for your overall health—who'd complain about that?
Types of Sea Vegetables
This nutritious food is a type of edible algae and comes in various colors (not just green), each type offering slightly different health benefits. Another interesting fact is sea veg is not actually a plant because they lack roots.
The most common types of sea vegetables are:
Kelp: Also known as seaweed or algin, it's in many products like your toothpaste and ice cream. It's an abundant source of iodine, protein, calcium and many other vitamins.
Nori: The seaweed found in sushi. It's also used to insert flavor into meals thanks to the amino acid glutamate.
Spirulina: This is the sea-green you want in your life as spirulina contains the most nutrients out of every food (not just sea vegetables)! Spirulina is loaded with powerful antioxidants, is a complete protein source, contains electrolytes and just about every other vitamin from A-Z. The best way to take spirulina is by capsule or mixing powder into your foods or shakes.
Chlorella: This sea green is not only nutritious, but it can aid in detox. Since chlorella can't be consumed raw, it's found exclusively in powdered or capsule form.
Wakame: Along with all the health perks, this salty sea veg is most commonly reconstituted in water or eaten dried on salads.
Eating Your Sea Greens!
It doesn't matter your dietary preferences; we could all benefit from eating sea vegetables because they are serious nutritional powerhouses! And you don’t have to eat sea veg raw: you can put it in stir frys or even take a sea veg supplement. The point is it’s easier than you think to supercharge your body with this superfood!
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