5 Sea Vegetables: Superfood for Your Immune System and Thyroid Health
Contributed by Cancer Treatment Centers of America
You know how important it is to eat your vegetables, but most people in the United States focus on land-based vegetables to meet this dietary requirement. Yet, the ocean is teeming with its own vegetation that is equally beneficial for your health and can supply much-needed trace elements, enzymes, minerals (over 70 of them) and amino acids to your diet.
Most often, sea vegetables are recommended because they’re a particularly good source of naturally occurring iodine, which is beneficial for both your immune system and your thyroid health. Your thyroid contains the only cells in your body that absorb iodine, which it uses to make the T3 and T4 hormones. Without sufficient iodine, your thyroid cannot produce adequate hormones to help your body function on an optimal level.
The natural iodine is one reason to eat sea vegetables, but there are actually far more. For instance:
• Sea vegetables are rich in iron, potassium and calcium
• Sea vegetables contain alginic acid, which helps protect them from bacteria. Alginic acid binds with heavy metals so they can be eliminated from your body, which means sea vegetables may be useful for helping you to detoxify naturally.
As reported by Supermarket Guru, sea vegetables like kelp may even help to protect against cancer:
“ … a study conducted at UC Berkeley found that adding kelp to a diet can help lower estradiol levels, a hormone that is linked to breast cancer.”
If you’ve never tried sea vegetables before, you can ‘dive in’ by going to a local sushi restaurant and ordering a seaweed salad or seaweed-wrapped sushi or nori rolls. You can also find seaweed in various forms, including dried, in health food stores. Here are five types to look for:
1. Wakame: This is a type of algae used to make Miso soup. It is brown with long delicate leaves.
2. Arame: A mild-tasting sea vegetable with a slightly sweet flavor and feathery leaves.
3. Nori: This deep purple or red algae turns bright green when it’s toasted. It is often used to make sushi rolls.
4. Hijiki: This bushy plant has thick branches that expand up to five times their size when cooked. It has a strong flavor but is said to be highly nourishing.
5. Dulse: A red seaweed with a chewy texture that is often found in flaked form. Try it sprinkled onto your meals as a salt alternative.
Keep in mind that, like other marine life, seaweed absorbs pollutants from the water, and these pollutants can accumulate over time. So when choosing seaweed, look for reputable brands that harvest seaweed from non-polluted waters.