You already know that the leafy greens that grow on land are great for your health (kale, anyone?) But if you’re looking to add a little variety into your diet, consider the greens that grow in the sea. Specifically: seaweed.
Sure, you’re probably not going to want to munch on the seaweed that washes up on shore, but there are a bunch of different kinds of seaweed that can deliver a wealth of nutritional benefits.
Just like there are different types of greens growing on land, there are a bunch growing in the ocean, too. The most commonly eaten types of seaweed include:
Seaweed’s pretty versatile, too. You can eat it fresh, dried, or ground into a powder.
Seems a little weird to be pulling something slimy out of the sea and eating it, but it turns out there’s solid reasoning behind it.
To start, there’s the fact that seaweed is nutritious. Like,really nutritious. Seaweed provides protein, fiber, polyunsaturated fatty acids, iron, and vitamins A, B, C, and E.
And on top of all that, it’s rich in iodine. Iodine is key for thyroid function. Need a little biology refresher? Your thyroid is the small gland in your neck that controls your metabolism, which determines how your body uses energy. Healthy thyroid function helps support normal heart rate, weight, cholesterol levels, and more. Not bad for a tiny little gland.
A quick note: too much iodine can be dangerous. The key symptoms of excessive iodine intake are weight fluctuations and swelling in your neck, so keep an eye out if you get super into seaweed. But you’d have to eat quite a bit over quite a long time to run into this issue, so we wouldn’t sweat it.
You can buy dried seaweed like nori or dulse to snack on straight out of the package, or you can add powdered spirulina to your smoothies for a health boost (and a shot of vibrant blue-green color). You can also toss seaweed with some vinegar and sesame oil for a super fresh salad, chop it up and throw it in some soup, or sprinkle seaweed flakes over dishes for a boost of umami flavor.
Versatile and delicious? We see you, seaweed.
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