How to Make Sea Greens a Part of Your Diet

How to Make Sea Greens a Part of Your Diet

Sea greens are more than the glossy plants you see washed up on the beach. They’re a versatile superfood that has played a vital role in the diets of coastal people throughout history. They have a lot to offer from both nutritional and culinary standpoints.

Since you may not be entirely clear on what exactly sea greens are, here’s the explanation you’ve been waiting for:

What Are Sea Greens?

Also known as edible algae, seaweed, sea vegetables, and sometimes marine macroalgae, sea greens are currently a top trend for foodies and nutritional experts around the globe.

Familiar types include:

  • Kelp
  • Kombu
  • Nori (i.e., the wrapping for sushi rolls)
  • Sea asparagus
  • Brown, red, and green algae
  • Bladderwrack

Some sea greens are hand harvested from wild sources while others are cultivated in land-based tanks or ocean farms. In fact, sea greens make up 49% of the world’s total marine aquaculture [1].

Nutritional Benefits

Nutritional Benefits

Sea greens are a healthy dietary staple because they are low in fat, calories, and sodium – with a sodium/potassium ratio of approximately 0.15 [2].

If you’re struggling to meet your recommended intake of vegetables, sea greens can help! They contain soluble fibre, minerals, vitamins, chlorophyll, and trace elements that make them equally beneficial [2].

Sea greens are also a source of antioxidants that help protect cells against oxidative damage caused by free radicals. When taken as a supplement that provides an equal or greater amount than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA), they can be used to prevent iodine deficiency and support thyroid gland function. The RDA for iodine is [3]:

  • Adults: 150 mcg/day
  • Pregnant women: 290 mcg/day
  • Breastfeeding women: 290 mcg/day

How to Eat Sea Greens

How to Eat Sea Greens

Sea greens can be eaten raw, cooked, or dried. If sea greens are a new part of your diet, there are many delicious options to start with, such as:

  • Sprinkle dried sea green flakes onto food to enhance flavour without added salt
  • Use nori as a wrapper for your favourite ingredients or DIY sushi rolls
  • Pack roasted seaweed for mid-day snacks at work or school
  • Substitute kelp noodles for regular stir-fry noodles
  • Serve seaweed salad as an Asian-inspired side dish at dinner

Sea Green Supplements

If you’re not ready to eat sea greens, but would still like the benefits, supplements are a convenient alternative. Norwegian Kelp contains 575 mg of pure milled Norwegian kelp harvested from the pristine waters of the North Atlantic.

References:

[1] Chopin, Thierry. Marine Aquaculture in Canada: Well-Established Monocultures of Finfish, and Shellfish and an Emerging Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) Approach Including Seaweeds, Other Invertebrates, and Microbial Communities. Fisheries, 40.1, 2015. Web. 28 June 2016.

[2] Mohamed, Suhaila, Siti Hashim, and Hafeedza Rahman. Seaweeds: A Sustainable Functional Food for Complementary and Alternative Therapy. Trends in Food Science & Technology.

[3] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Iodine. Fact Sheet for Consumers. The Web site of the Office of Dietary Supplements, 2011. Web. 4 July 2016