As more people turn to plant-based diets for health, ethical, and environmental reasons, many are discovering the benefits of incorporating seaweed into their meals. However, people who follow a plant-based diet may need to pay particular attention to consuming certain nutrients that are less abundant or less well-absorbed in plant foods.
Seaweed is an incredibly versatile and nutritious food that has been consumed for many centuries in many coastal cultures all around the world. They can contain various nutrients and compounds that can help with the absorption of nutrients in the body. For example, some seaweeds contain polysaccharides, such as alginates and carrageenans, which have been shown to enhance the bioavailability of minerals like calcium and magnesium.
If you are curious about adding seaweed to your diet, whether you are a plant-based eater or a carnivore, here are just a few reasons why you should:
Rich in Nutrients
One of our favorite things about seaweed is that it is packed with essential nutrients that support good health. It's an excellent source of iodine, which is crucial for proper thyroid function and brain development, and metabolism. Adequate iodine intake is important for the absorption and utilization of other nutrients in the body, such as iron. Seaweed is also rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium, which are important for healthy bones, muscles, and overall body function. Additionally, seaweed is a great source of vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as antioxidants, which help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Low in Calories and Fat
All seaweed are low-calorie, low-fat foods that are high in fiber and relatively high in protein. Plus, as you eat dried seaweed it rehydrates. This means it can help you feel full without consuming too many calories, making it a great addition to a weight-loss or weight-management plan. And, while the flavor profile of seaweeds are considered salty, they are actually naturally low in sodium, which can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Versatile in Cooking
Seaweed, especially brown kelps like the ones we grow here at Nautical Farms, are a versatile ingredient that can be used in many different types of dishes. It can be added to soups, stews, and salads, or used as a wrap for sushi and so much more. Seaweed can also be dried and turned into a powder, which can be added to smoothies or used as a seasoning for dishes. The possibilities are endless. To explore seaweed recipes, check out our kelp recipe section of our website here.
Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly
Seaweed is a wildly sustainable and environmentally friendly food source. It grows quickly and requires no fertilizers, pesticides, or freshwater to cultivate. Additionally, seaweed can help mitigate the effects of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We have an extensive blog post on how regenerative seaweed farming can help mitigate climate change & support coastal communities. Check it out!
Overall Health Benefits
Seaweed has been linked to several potential health benefits. For example, some studies have suggested that the compounds such as fucoxanthin found in seaweed may help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of certain types of cancer. Additionally, some types of seaweed may help improve gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract.
We haven’t found a good reason NOT to add seaweed to your diet. To shop various forms of the seaweed we offer, check out our seaweed store.