Seaweed: Beyond Color and Packaging
There are many types of seaweeds as there are different ways to eat them. Seaweeds are categorized based on their pigments, cell structure, and other traits. Most commonly consumed include: green algae (such as sea lettuce or ulva, and sea grapes), brown algae (such as kombu, arame, kelp, and wakame which is the miso soup seaweed), red algae (as dulse, laver, and nori which is the sushi seaweed), and then blue-green algae (like spirulina and chlorella).
Fresh seaweed can be bought at an Asian specialty store or at a Chinese market, while the dried variety can also be available at the same, plus at supermarkets and online. Dried seaweed should be rinsed well and soaked in hot water before use. And if your seaweed, like kombu, is thick and tough, better to slice them first or boil them. Some seaweeds may be sweet, most are not bitter at all, so you can really enjoy eating them even if you are not fond of vegetables.
The versatile seaweed can be enjoyed as seaweed soup, most can be made into a Japanese-style salad with vinegar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic, or can be sprinkled on other foods, like rice, for flavor. Seaweed snacks available in bags are popular, too.
And did you know that seaweeds are packed with lots of beneficial nutrients and are helpful in certain physiologic functions? Take seaweed’s micronutrients – folate, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and selenium, and most especially, iodine. Know that they are even more nutrient-dense than vegetables that grow on soil.
They are also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, known to fight a wide range of diseases like asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. And due to their antioxidant content, they protect against oxidative stresses and prevent chronic diseases.
While this sea vegetable added to your diet will prove beneficial, one must take precaution against consuming too much of it. It has the potential of increasing your iodine levels which can prove problematic especially if you are susceptible to thyroid problems. The Japanese diet, which contains staples such as tofu, soy milk, and cruciferous vegetables, fortunately can inhibit iodine absorption by the thyroid.
Hence, it is not so much a problem with the Japanese and other Asian cultures.
Seaweeds for Health in Bellevue
Enjoy health-giving seaweed at Flo, your Japanese restaurant in Bellevue. Have our seaweed salad, seaweed in your sushi roll, or have it sprinkled in your soup or rice. Healthy can also be flavorful.