Why eat seaweed when there are so many other plants to eat? Read on to discover why we are so excited to be doing the work we do – to understand a little more about the incredible purpose we work with!
Did you know that seaweeds, or sea vegetables as they are more accurately called, were the first ‘plants’ on earth?
Seaweeds are Ancient Superfoods
Sea vegetables are among the most ancient organisms on this planet and, amazingly, they have been here for the last three and a half billion years and we very much hope they will be here for the next billion (plus) years! Sea vegetables are the very foundation of the ocean’s food chain and have played an important role right from the very beginning of life on earth, and still do to this day.
While we consider sea vegetables a modern superfood, archaeological findings have indicated that sea vegetables have long been an important food source for coastal communities worldwide, including in South America, Scandinavia and Europe, Asia, North America and throughout the Pacific Islands.
Up until around early 1900s, sea vegetables were widely consumed. However, around the time of World War One, when we discovered how to extract elements (which led to the birth of pharmaceutical products and allopathic medicine), western cultures appear to have ‘lost’ our knowledge of the nutritional and medicinal benefits of sea vegetables, as well as our connection to the cultural traditions and practices that sea vegetables have been an essential part of for millennia.
In the decades since, seaweed consumption in our diets has reduced in the Western world. Cultures throughout Asia, however, have largely kept their traditional medicines and nutritional principles as well as adopting more modern approaches, and have continued to consume seaweed regularly for its health and flavour benefits as it forms part of so many popular dishes.
Rediscovering Sea Vegetables
With the widespread popularity of the various Asian cuisines and ‘fusion’ cooking in restaurants and home kitchens across the Western world, we have also seen a growing interest in seaweeds. Instead of just being seen as a niche ingredient or a health superfood, they are increasingly seen as an essential part of a regular diet. Additionally, as the world has been plauged by COVID in recent times, people increasingly seek to understand how they can make better choices around their immunity – focusing on wellness rather than sickness.
Why Eat Seaweed – 5 Key Reasons
With all of the amazing benefits seaweed and sea vegetables offer, 5 reasons to eat seaweeds include:
1.The Nutritional Value of Seaweed
Seaweeds are more nutrient dense than any land plant on our planet. They have a remarkable ability to absorb nutrients, minerals, vitamins and trace elements from the ocean, which is abundant with all of these facets. As our soils have becoming increasingly depleted due to over farming and mis-management, we turn to the ocean for solutions. They are well known as a source of iodine, but in fact there is a vast array of minerals and vitamins on offer such as Vitamin B12, Calcium, magnesium and iron – and each seaweed species is unique from a nutritional perspective.
With the increase in health issues associated with poor lifestyle, diet and exercise, there has been an increased focus on ‘clean eating’ and a return to simple, minimally processed foods from the earth and sea which are nutritionally rich. Sea vegetables are an incredible nutritional powerhouse that contain unique disease fighting compounds. They are classified into 3 groups according to their pigmentation and each group offers unique nutritional value.
2. Detox and Cleansing Seaweeds
All seaweeds perform a crucial function in our oceans – that of cleaning, filtering, cooling and balancing. Green seaweeds are richest in chlorophyl , excellent for cleaning the lymphatic system and gentle cleansing. Many seaweeds also have unique bio-compounds which actively attract toxins and pathogens, especially red seaweeds which support our body’s natural detoxing function to keep us healthy. Some seaweeds like Agar and Irish Moss also have a gentle laxative effect which helps to flush unwanted matter from the body. With the relatively rich iodine content of seaweeds which can stimulate metabolism, the gentle cleaning action of seaweeds is very holistic.
3. Seaweeds are Balancing in our Bodies
Seaweeds are alkaline which can be extremely beneficial when modern diets tend to be highly acidic. Adding a little seaweed gently settles the pH level in our bodies. There are numerous journal articles and studies about how seaweeds can also have a positive effect on balancing blood sugar levels and helping to maintain a health blood pressure.
4. Delicious, Diverse Range of Flavours – Each Seaweed is Unique
As well as being so good for us, sea vegetables taste good too! Beyond sushi and miso soup, seaweeds open up a whole new world of flavours, textures and colours, and can be used in a variety of ways.
Just like the diverse range of land vegetables we consume, each seaweed appeals to our sense in a different way – as each variety offers their own unique culinary properties (some can be used to tenderise meat and beans (kelp seasoning) others make great noodles or as a pasta replacement (sea spaghetti), they can substitute for gelatine in plant-based or vegan recipes (agar) or they can even simply be a replacement for salt. Each seaweed can be used in surprisingly diverse ways in the kitchen.
5. Seaweed – A Carbon Negative Food of the Future
All seaweeds photosynthesise – they are eco-engineers keeping our planet and ocean clean and removing carbon from our atmosphere. It is claimed that seaweed is responsible for +70% of our planet’s oxygen! Seaweeds do not require additional water, nor fertisiler to grow. Ensure you are purchasing seaweeds which have been ethically harvested and tested for contaminants.
Get Started With Eating Seaweed Today!
We offer a diverse range of sea vegetables – not all of them grow around our shores and some that do grow here are not available – either due to not being harvested or available at a food grade level. Explore these links to learn more:
Note: Please pay attention to the nutritional information on the reverse of each packet. We recommend small amounts often, rather than large amounts less frequently.
Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and may not include the latest research. We encourage you to do your own research and discuss your findings with a qualified health practitioner who can help you validate the outcomes in the context of your specific & individual health situation.