Thursday, September 2, 2010

Super Food Series: Ocean Vegetables||||||||

Super Food Series: Ocean Vegetables

Hope all is good with everyone everywhere....We touched upon Sea vegetables a few months back where we focused more on their healing benefits for the skin. This go round, its more about how our bodies benefit from eating them. Most of us get a little in every time we go to a Japanese spot and order sushi. Sushi is usually rolled in Nori which, is one of the most commonly used seaweeds, its in the Kelp family. It is very rich in protein (containing nearly 50%), fiber, vitamin A, calcium, iodine, iron, and phosphorus. Nori has one of the sweeter flavors of the seaweeds and is usually used to roll rice, vegetables, and raw or cooked fish.

The vegetables that come from the ocean are some of the most nutrient-rich foods we have, particularly in iodine, calcium, potassium, and iron, and some being very high in protein as well. Since these plants are constantly bathed in mineral-rich ocean waters, they have a regular supply of nutrients. Most seaweeds contain algin, a fiber molecule that binds minerals. When taken into our body, it can attract various metals in our digestive tract, including heavy metals such as lead and mercury, and take them out of our system. Considering that most of us are familiar with Nori, it would be good to know about the other sea vegetables on the market and begin to incorporate them into your meals..Its also good to know what you are looking at when you pass through the Asian food section even though, a lot of seaweeds are wild crafted in the U.S.

Agar-agar: is a seaweed combination that is used as a gelling agent in cooking and for desserts. It has no taste or smell and is a healthier and vegan alternative to gelatin. Agar is probably a good place to begin for those who are skeptical eating about sea vegetables. It can be used in desserts and sauces without being distinguished.

Arame: This is a dark, thin seaweed thread that can be used in soups, salads, or mixed with rice. it is rich in protein, iodine, calcium, and iron.

Dulse: A red-purple leaf that is rich in iodine, iron, and calcium, dulse is very tasty and can be eaten fresh in salads or cooked in soups. It is helpful to rinse before using to clear away any excess salt of fishy taste. Dulse powder, like kelp is also available as a seasoning which may be more palatable for some.

Hijiki: A very mineral rich, high fiber seaweed. Its dark long strands resemble thick hairs. Hijiki is about 10-20% protein, contains vitamin A, and is richest in calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Soaked in water, it can be cooked in soup or is very good with rice.

Kelp: is usually used in smaller quantities than the other seaweeds, mostly as a seasoning. Its a good source of protein, potassium, B vitamins, calcium, and iodine.

Kombu: A richer, meatier, higher-protein seaweed, kombu is most often used in soups, it adds minerals and flavor to any stock. Kombu contains vitamin A, B, and lots of calcium and iron, it has a higher sodium content than most. One strip can be added to the pot when cooking beans, to reduce some of the gas- inducing qualities of the beans.

Wakame: Another high protein, flat, and thinner seaweed, also used primarily in soups. High in calcium, iron, phosphorus, as well.

*Most seaweeds should be the last ingredient added before serving unless, the packing directs you to simmer before using. Continue to enjoy all of the foods that are naturally occurring around us...Be Good and Well..Bless

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