Food Focus: Sea Vegetables

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In traditional Chinese healing, sea vegetables correspond to the winter season and to the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder and reproductive organs. The strengthening, balancing and cleansing properties of sea vegetables are known to help these organs as well as the hair, skin and nails. Sea vegetables (or seaweeds) provide a variety of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and iodine, and can help balance hormone and thyroid levels in the body. Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your diet can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.

You can easily find them at organic shops in dried versions, such as dulse, kombo, wakame, nori and others. Pay attention to the country of origin. Seaweed from Japan packed after March 2011 will be certainly not a good choice.

Look for sea vegetables that are sold in tightly sealed packages. Avoid those that have evidence of excessive moisture. Some types of sea vegetables are sold in different forms. For example, nori can be found in sheets, flakes, or powder. Choose the form of sea vegetables that will best meet your culinary needs. Store sea vegetables in tightly sealed containers at room temperature where they can stay fresh for at least several months.

Tips for Preparing Sea Vegetables

Many types of sea vegetables require soaking for 5-10 minutes before adding to your dish. It is best to follow the directions on the package. The soaking water can be used for soups or to Healthy Sautéeing vegetables. Other types of sea vegetables such as nori and kelp flakes can be used without soaking. Sea vegetables require no cooking.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Make homemade vegetable sushi rolls by wrapping rice and your favorite vegetables in sheets of nori.
  • Slice nori into small strips and sprinkle on top of salads.
  • Sprinkle dulse over your vegetable soup
  • Combine soaked hijiki with shredded carrots and ginger. Mix with a little olive oil and tamari.
  • When cooking beans, put kombu in the cooking water. It will not only expedite the cooking process, but will improve beans’ digestibility by reducing the chemicals that can cause flatulence.
  • Add sea vegetables to your next bowl of miso soup.

Try it out. It is delicious !


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