Tags: asian | superfood | seaweed | nori

Why You Should Eat This Asian Superfood

By    |   Thursday, 19 February 2015 09:18 AM

We all know that vegetables are good for us, and most of us stick to the tried-and-true plant foods from the produce section of our supermarket. But more nutrition experts are touting the virtues of vegetables grown in the oceans. They are packed with nutrients, especially important minerals.
The leafy greens of the sea, known as seaweed or sea vegetables, are technically not vegetables, but classified as algae.
In Japan, seaweed has been revered as a superfood for more than 10,000 years, says Ellen Kamhi, a nutritionist and author of “The Natural Medicine Chest.”
“In ancient China, sea vegetables were a delicacy reserved for honored guests and royalty,” she says.
Sea vegetables also are a staple in other countries, including Iceland, Norway, New Zealand, coastal South America, Scotland, Ireland, and many Pacific Island nations.
In the United States, you’ll find sea vegetables in Asian markets and health food stores, although a growing number of supermarkets are now stocking them.
The most common forms include:
Nori: The deep green wrappers used to make sushi rolls.
Kelp: Light to dark green, often found in flake form.
Kombu: Used in flavoring soups and sold in strips or sheets.
Dulse: Reddish brown with a soft, chewy texture.
Wakame: Often used in miso soup.
Kamhi says that seaweed is almost the perfect food when it comes to vital minerals. This is because the mineral composition of the ocean is similar to that of human blood.
Health author Nikki Sharp eats seaweed regularly. She’s been named the “Fittest Woman of Instagram” by Men’s Health magazine.
“Seaweed is very high in potassium, which can lower blood pressure,” Sharp tells Newsmax Health.
“A 10-gram (1/3-ounce) serving of dulse has a whopping 34 times the amount of potassium as a banana. It’s also high in vitamins A, C, and calcium. Seaweed is a good source of iodine, which also is essential for a healthy functioning thyroid.”
Sharp says she mostly eats seaweed in the form of wakame salads (known as “seaweed salad” on many restaurant menus).
Felicia Stoler, a New Jersey-based nutritional expert and exercise physiologist, tells Newsmax Health that she and her husband eat seaweed salad regularly for general health.
“In Korea, seaweed is a staple for pregnant women because of its nutritional value as a superfood and high levels of folic acid that protects against neural defects,” she said.
Kamhi notes that a class of substances known as lignans found in seaweed inhibit the growth of blood cells that feed tumors and spread cancer cells. Lignans also have been linked to reduced risk of breast cancer and other hormone-related cancers.
“The folic acid found in seaweed not only protects against birth defects but also helps breaks down the dangerous chemical homocysteine, which damages blood vessel walls and increases risk of heart disease,” she says.
People trying to reduce their salt intake need to be aware that along with high levels of other minerals, seaweed is high in sodium.
Sea vegetables can be used in a variety of ways. Sprinkle the powder or flake varieties over soups and salads. Use the sheet forms to make homemade sushi or vegetable rolls or slice it into strips to dress salads.
The full version of this article appeared in Health Radar newsletter. To read more, click here.

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You already know that vegetables are good for you. But a growing number of nutrition experts are touting the virtues of ‘sea vegetables’ — including seaweed and other plants that grow in the oceans. Many are packed with nutrients, especially important minerals.
asian, superfood, seaweed, nori
Thursday, 19 February 2015 09:18 AM
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