Could Seaweed be the New Superfood?


seaweedHere at BerryRipe, we understand everyone wants to eat healthily but also enjoy their food. Thankfully many of the healthy recipes we feature, such as double green vegan pesto and cherry pancake muffins, are delicious and easy to prepare – with low calorie counts and metabolism boosting qualities being an added bonus!

Most of us tend to follow expert advice when it comes to our diets, and the source of this advice is usually the celebrity world via the media. Who can forget, for example, the cabbage soup diet and lemonade diet that took the world by storm? Hey, if it helped Beyonce drop the baby weight and gave Tyra Banks her stunning figure I’m all for a liquid lunch! Yet the ingredients of some celebrity crazes – such as cayenne pepper and, obviously, cabbage – can leave a bad taste in the mouth which often lasts for several days (believe me, I know!).

So when news of the latest superfood hit the press, I was a little dubious. Seaweed, to me, is simply an unpleasant factor of swimming in the ocean during summer vacation; the mere thought of slimy tendrils wrapping round my legs gives me goosepimples! But I must admit, after looking into it, seaweed does have certain advantages.

Nutritional Benefits of Seaweed

Seaweed is chock-full of vitamins and minerals, and as such has naturally become a staple in the superfood bible. In fact, it is the ideal addition to a vegan diet as it contains iron, potassium, calcium and magnesium – seawater infuses seaweed with these essential minerals and passes on the goodness to those who ingest it. Furthermore, vitamin B-12, or cobalamin, is also found in seaweed which is interesting as not many vegetables contain the vitamin responsible for regulating brain, nervous system and blood activity.

A large variety of seaweed types are available on the market, so trying and testing is by far the best way to find the best fit for your palate. You’ll soon find that different types of seaweed go best with different types of cuisine or flavors. Alternatively, picking up a good recipe book, such as Prannie Rhatigan’s Irish Seaweed Kitchen, will help you discover the best preparation methods for this somewhat unusual food. Ms Rhatigan advises on the seasonal purchasing of seaweed, but she claims that everyone looking to jump on this latest superfood bandwagon should blend as many varieties as they can into their diet. As she says; “It’s important that people have a small amount of a wide variety of the seaweeds – then they’re getting the full synergistic effect of the sea vegetables.”

Beauty Benefits of Seaweed

No, I’m not talking about the seaweed body wrap craze, although a good spa day can never hurt! Seaweed literally benefits us from the inside out, as it flushes out toxins which can dull skin and leave hair and nails brittle. Sodium alginate binds itself to heavy metals and chemical poisons then transports them safely out of the body.

The complex carbohydrates, chlorophyll and carotenes all work together to strengthen skin, hair and nails. A high mineral count in your diet aids in cell renewal, so obviously packing in as many as possible will have a great effect upon your appearance.

Recommended Seaweed Recipe

For those who follow a gluten free diet, this is the recipe for you! Soba Soup is an ancient Japanese dish which can be used as either a starter or a lunch dish. It’s simple to make and takes only 40 minutes.

Seaweed can be a daunting thought for those who include rice with their sushi recipes, but the health benefits cannot be denied. By starting out with a “seaweed stock” recipe such as Soba Soup and working your way up, you will be a specialist in Asian cuisine in no time!

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