Hold onto your culinary hats as scientists have found a new superfood; seaweed. It is thought that by eating regular amounts of the sticky, lumpy stuff, you can protect the heart as apparently the algae helps bring down blood pressure. Research has shown that seaweeds are the most nutritionally dense plants on the planet. This is because they have access to all the good nutrients in the ocean. Ounce per ounce seaweed can contain up to 10 times more calcium than milk and eight times as much as beef. And, the chemical composition of seaweeds is so close to human blood plasma, that they have an added benefit of regulating and purifying our blood system. They also contain a high concentration of natural iodine which helps to stimulate the thyroid gland so that food is used up before it can be turn into fatty deposits.
The most recent studies have shown that the composition of seaweed can help to prevent heart attacks as they have key ingredients in them that help to lower blood pressure. Evidently it is the high concentration of bio-active peptides found in seaweeds that are similar to ACE inhibitor drugs, which are prescribed to people with high blood pressure and to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, which published the study, looked at evidence from 100 other studies before it came to this result. Seaweeds can also be used to help with boosting weight loss and deterring cellulite build-up. They are very low in calories and at the same time, the minerals act like electrolytes to break the chemical bond that seals the fat cells allowing trapped wastes to escape. If you eat sea vegetables or bathe in them you are benefiting from reducing your cellulite and you simultaneously stimulate lymphatic drainage. They can help to alkalise our blood, by neutralizing the over-acid effects of our modern diet and protect us from the toxic elements in the environment by converting them to harmless salts that the body can then eliminate. So where should you start if you want to include seaweed in your diet?
Nori is best known for the seaweed used to make sushi rolls. Kelp is available in powder or capsule form for those who feel awkward eating seaweed. It is also the most common seaweed found along the ocean shores. Due to their thick leaves they are perfect for a hot seaweed bath. Dulse is a red seaweed, available in flakes. There is no need to cook dulse. It is great to use as seasoning on salads, vegetables and soups. Arame consists of brown stringy seaweed. Soak in hot water for 5 minutes and it is ready to use. Wakame has a sweet flavour and makes a great compliment to sandwiches. Soak for 5 minutes in hot water. Kombu is used in Japan for centuries as a mineral rich flavour enhancer. Add a strip of kombu when cooking beans making them more digestible and reducing gas or to your sprouts when soaking them to allow them to soak up the minerals.
*If you do have a thyroid disorder eat seaweed with caution as it contains high levels of iodine and can change your hormone levels.