Unless you are into sushi and other Asian delicacies, you probably don’t eat many sea vegetables. However, sea vegetables happen to be amongst some of the most nutritious foods in the world. There are many types of sea vegetables (or seaweeds). Ground kelp makes a great salt alternative.
Nori is used to make sushi and can also be used as a wrap when filled with vegetables or fish. Other seaweeds, like wakame and hijiki, make excellent salads and are good with sesame oil, sesame seeds and soya sauce. The health benefits of sea vegetables include cancer prevention and improved thyroid function.
Sea Vegetable Nutrition
Sea vegetables are an exceptional source of the mineral iodine and contain more than 100% of the daily value in just 10g of seaweed. The vitamin K content is also high. Sea vegetables contain a good dose of most vitamins and minerals including folate, riboflavin, iron, calcium, zinc and magnesium. In addition, seaweed contains phytochemicals called lignans, which offer special health benefits.
Sea Vegetables and Thyroid Function
One of the main benefits of sea vegetables is related to its exceptional iodine content. The mineral iodine plays a major role in the regulation of thyroxin and other hormones involved in thyroid function. The thyroid gland controls metabolism and the regulation of body temperature. Iodine deficiency can lead to a decline in thyroid function and a resultant slowing of the metabolic rate. For this reason, sea vegetables are also good for optimal energy production and weight loss.
Sea Vegetables May Prevent Cancer
Lignans, which are found in high concentrations in sea vegetables may help prevent cancer cells from forming by preventing the process of angiogenesis or new cell formation. Research has shown that lignans may be useful in the treatment of lymphoma. Ligans may also be able to antagonize oestrogen, which means implications in the prevention of oestrogen sensitive caners, like breast cancer.
Sea Vegetables for Neural Tube Defect Prevention
Because beets are rich in folate, they have applications in preventing neural tube defects. Eating folate rich foods pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy can help the fetal spinal column to develop normally.