When you think about delicious foods pulled from the sea, you likely envision oysters, lobsters, shrimp, and salmon. But the depths of our oceans and seas also offer several edible delights in plant form. If you like sushi, chances are you’ve already tried a few of these sea delectables wrapped around your order of California rolls or in a tangy seafood salad. Rich in essential vitamins and minerals, the following sea plants offer a treasure trove of health benefits:
If you dig the all-you-can-eat sushi buffet, chances are you’ve already sampled nori. This edible algae usually comes in flat, dried green seaweed sheets, and is wrapped around sushi rolls to keep everything bitably delicious. Nori also gives your maki roll that salty, satisfying crisp.Japan produces roughly 350,000 tons of this iodine and B12 rich seaweed species per year. If you’re feeling adventurous, add nori flakes to ramen soups or as a salty topping to Korean pancakes. You can usually find snack packs or nori sheets at most Asian supermarkets.
This edible blue-green algae boasts the highest content of chlorophyll on the planet! Among all seaweed types, chlorella is most famously used in powder form as a nutritional supplement in pre-workout and smoothies, along with spirulina. In addition to an impressive green hue and chlorophyll content, chlorella has high levels of A and B vitamins, and is touted for its weight loss and detoxifying benefits, which have been linked to prevention of immune disorders, cold, flu, hypertension, and even several forms of cancer.
Spirulina, the other blue-green powdered algae that you may already put in your smoothie. Spirulina has gained a lot of popularity as a nutritional supplement. If you’re looking for a amino-acid rich protein to add to your meal replacement, this algae boasts 4 grams of protein per tablespoon, loads of calcium, and plenty of nutrients and antioxidants that benefit overall body and brain health (i.e., niacin, riboflavin, copper, iron, and thiamine). However, it’s the wealth of antioxidants (specifically phycocyanin) that makes spirulina a fighter of chronic inflammation, free radical damage, and cancer preventer. Plus, spirulina has a milder taste compared to chlorella, which makes for better blending in smoothies.
If you want your seaweed to promote nutrition while shedding unwanted fat, wakame is the sea plant for you. Often a popular ingredient in seaweed salad, many Japanese soups also contain this mild, subtly sweet sea vegetable. Research from Hokkaido University, in Japan notes that wakame gets it’s fat blasting prowess from fucoxanthin, a compound that naturally burns fat and promotes healthy weight loss.
With it’s satisfying salty yet smoky taste and leathery texture (that’s sort of reminiscent of bacon bits), dried dulse is often crumbled into salads, soups, or featured as a component of seasoning blends. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers this sea veggie an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals, including iron, potassium, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, and protein. Due to it’s impressive iron and potassium content, FDA research further shows that dulce promotes healthy heart, muscle, oxygen, and fluid levels within our bodies.