What Are Sea Vegetables?

Most people think vegetables only grow on land, but you’ll also find many different vegetables from the sea.  Because they are often called seaweeds, many people don’t realize that these sea plants are edible and nutritious.  What are sea vegetables, and what health benefits do they offer?

Sea vegetables are marine plants that grow on the ocean floor and on solid surfaces under the sea.  They supply marine life with vital nutrients.  However, sea vegetables can also be eaten by humans.  They are rich in many vitamins and minerals that the body needs.  There are sea vegetables that ward off different illnesses and help boost the immune system.  Certain seaweeds contain high amounts of sodium alginate, a substance that fights cancer.

Sea vegetables are high in chlorophyll and dietary fiber.  They are rich in minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and other trace minerals found in the ocean.  When added to foods, sea vegetables contribute a unique salty flavor to your dish.

Long-Time Asian Staple

While many Westerners have no idea what sea vegetables are, they have long been a staple in many Asian cuisines.  People in the British Isles, Canada, and the Caribbean have been eating sea vegetables for hundreds of years as well.  Seaweeds can enhance the flavor of your favorite dishes and boost the nutritional value of your meals.

The Japanese are known for their extensive use of sea vegetables in their diet.  Seaweeds are not only nutritious but they also have medicinal properties.  A study conducted by the Japanese indicates that certain types of seaweeds can prevent tumors.

Visit any health food store or Asian market and you will find a number of well-known sea vegetables.  Some of the most popular sea vegetables include nori, alaria, kelp, and dulse.

Popular Sea Vegetables

  • Nori – Nori is the paper-thin dried sheets used to wrap around sushi.  It is also delicious when added to salads and soup. This sea vegetable is high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A.  Both are powerful antioxidants.  Vitamin A in nori builds immunity, helps improve vision, and is known to prevent cancer.  Nori also has high protein content.
  • Alaria – Also known as wakame, this sea vegetable is often added to miso soup.  Alaria has a chewy texture.  It is rich in protein, Vitamin A, iodine, and minerals.
  • Kelp - Dried kelp is sold in wide, green strips.  It is added to soups and stir-fries to replace salt.  Kelp is high in folate which helps in the production of red blood cells.   Folate also helps metabolize protein in the body.  This sea vegetable is rich in magnesium which is beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
  • Dulse – The deep red wrinkled leaves of this sea vegetable can be eaten straight out of the package or added to pasta, soups and stews.  It is also available in the form of flakes.  Dulse is rich in protein, chlorophyll, iron, magnesium, potassium, enzymes, iodine, Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and dietary fiber.

There are many other sea vegetables and most of them provide sufficient amounts of Vitamin B12 which protects against memory loss and fights fatigue.  Sea vegetables are densely packed with nutrients and can provide most of the vitamins and minerals the body needs for optimal health and well-being.

Categories : Sea Vegetables

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