The nutrients in our blood are similar to those in seaweed, which is one of the highest mineral containing plant sources. It is high in amino acids (protein), selenium, calcium, iron, iodine, provitamin A, chlorophyll, fluorine, potassium and sodium. There are claims that seaweed contains vitamin B12, but this is an analogue of B12 which is not effective in the human body.
There are many different types of seaweed:
- Agar agar – brown, red or purple and fern like up to 3 feet long. High in protein, iodine, calcium, and iron.
- Dulse – flat, red and bluish, smooth, shaped like mittens 6 – 12 inches. High in iron and calcium.
- Hijiki – brown branches up to 6 feet. 10 – 20% protein, vitamin A, calcium, iron, phosphorous.
- Arame – dark yellow brown, grows with Hijiki.
- Kombu and kelp – yellow brown, largest and longest of sea plants. High in iodine, calcium, potassium, B vitamins, vitamin A, iron and sodium.
- Nori – dusky jade colour, like fans or large and flat. 50% protein, high vitamin A, calcium, potassium.
- Wakame – olive coloured, wing-like fronds, from 20 cm to 20 inches. High in protein, vitamins A and C, calcium, iodine and sodium.
- Irish moss – reddish purple to reddish green.
Seaweed is cleansing and detoxifying, removes heavy metals and radiation, an immune builder, reduces phlegm conditions, helps build bones and teeth and reduces hair loss, it is an excellent source of nutrients useful for vitamin and mineral deficiencies, diuretic with kidney support, lymph cleanser, alkalises blood, kelp is beneficial to some low thyroid conditions, reduces cholesterol, useful for weight loss.
Be cautious of obtaining seaweed from polluted or contaminated sea-water sources.
If you have high blood pressure then be sure to wash the salt off the seaweed before cooking it. The longer you soak the sea vegetables for the more easily they are digested.
Combines well with green and non-starchy vegetables.
Agar agar – soak for 30 minutes, used like gelatine in jams, pies and desserts.
Dulse – freshen in water and use like a green leafy vegetable, thickener in gravy, soups, veggie burgers, salads.
Arame – soak for 15 minutes, cook with grains, soups, breads, tofu and veggie dishes.
Kombu and kelp – soak for 30 minutes in warm water, cook for 1 to 2 hours, good cooked with beans as it aids digestion of protein and oils and reduces flatulence, also softens the tough fibres.
Nori – used for sushi.
Wakame – soak and use this liquid for cooking, cook 45 minutes, use in soups, stirfry, as a green leafy vegetable.
Irish moss – rinse and soak for 10 minutes, cook till dissolved, use as thickener in stews, gravies, pies, gels, substitute for agar agar or gelatine.