It’s been tangled around your foot in the ocean and wrapped around your sushi roll, but seaweed has yet to make it into your grocery basket. And that should probably change. Once you know sea vegetables’ health benefits and how easy it is to add the low-calorie foods to your meals, you’ll warm up to the idea of letting the gnarly-looking superfood make an appearance on your dinner plate.
But first, what exactly do we mean by sea vegetables? The most common is nori, the blackish wrap around the rice in your sushi roll. Other types of sea vegetables include kelp, commonly found in miso soup, wakame, dulse and hijiki.
Ready to give the odd-sounding ocean plants a try? Read up on their health benefits and learn how to mix them into your next breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Eat Sea Vegetables to….Boost Fat Burn
“Without sufficient levels of iodine, your thyroid function becomes impaired and it’s harder for your body to burn fat,” says nutritionist Dana James of Food Coach NYC, who suggests adding sea vegetables into your diet at least three times a week.
What’s more, seaweed contains a compound called alginate, which has been shown to significantly cut fat absorption, says Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear–with Fiber.
…Fend Off Cancer
“Seaweed is a rich source of the B-vitamin folic acid, and studies have shown that diets high in folate-rich foods, such as seaweed, may significantly cut your risk for colon cancer,” says Zuckerbrot. “Sea vegetables also contain significant amounts of lignans, plant compounds with known cancer-protective properties.”
…and Keep Cholesterol in Check
Eating nori may help reduce cholesterol levels, according to a Japanese study published in the British Journal of Nutrition.“ By replacing wraps, bagels, and bread with nori, you’ll have fewer carbohydrates available to convert to cholesterol,” explains James.
Cooking with Seaweed
With all of these benefits, there’s no reason to not add sea vegetables into your diet. Here are some options for how to do it:
- Sprinkle toasted nori over scrambled eggs and add a splash of hot sauce.
- Fill a nori wrap with salmon, sweet potato, avocado, rice, and greens.
- Add warmed hijiki to a kale, squash, and parmesan salad.
- Add dulse to butternut squash soup.
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