Latin names:
Nori (a type of red algae) Porphyra yezoensis and Porphyra tenera
Kombu (a type of brown algae) Saccharina japonica or Laminaria japonica
Dulse (a type of red algae) Palmaria palmata
Wakame Undaria pinnatifida
Hijiki (a type of brown sea vegetable) Sargassum fusiforme

What is Seaweed?

Neither a vegetable nor an animal, seaweed is classified in a group known as algae. Seaweed, sometimes called sea vegetables, can be found growing in marine salt waters and also in fresh water lakes and seas and includes some members of the red, brown and green algae.

A staple of the Japanese diet for centuries, archaeological findings suggest that the Japanese culture has been consuming seaweed for over 10,000 years. Seaweed has also played a role in many coastal cultures since ancient times, including China, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, many Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and several coastal South American countries. Seaweed often makes an appearance in soups, salads, bean dishes, and some fish dishes. Seaweed is sometimes made into sheets, such as nori for sushi, and sometimes made into noodles.

What are the health benefits of Seaweed?
Considered cold in nature by traditional Chinese medicine, seaweed is used to treat swollen lymph glands, goiters, cough, some lung abscessed, edema, as well as fibroid tumors, lumps, and certain types of cancer. Seaweed has long been thought to regulate toxins in the body, absorbing any substances that are potentially harmful to the body.

Seaweed offers some of the broadest range of minerals in any food. Nutritionally, they contain iodine, vitamin K, magnesium, iron, calcium, and the B-vitamins folate, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. In addition, sea vegetables are rich in lignans, plant compounds with cancer-protective properties. Seaweed’s content of magnesium and folic acid make seaweed very protective to the heart. Many seaweed varieties contain anti-inflammatory substances that are helpful for migraine headaches and asthma symptoms.

More information about the healing powers of Kelp and Seaweed can be found in the Herb section.

Are there any precautions for Seaweed?
Seaweed that comes from waters polluted with heavy metal elements, including arsenic, lead, and cadmium, can sometimes absorb these unwanted contaminants. You can mitigate your risk to these harmful substances by purchasing certified organic seaweed.

Where can I find Seaweed?
Seaweed can be found in some grocery stores, some health food stores, food specialty stores, Asian markets, and online. Most certified organic sea vegetables can be purchased in dried form and then reconstituted.

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This entry was posted in Foods, Natural Health Dictionary.