You may think of seaweed to be as the slimy green stuff at the bottom of the lake you try to avoid touching, although did you know some seaweed is edible?! Most are turned off by the thought of eating seaweed although seaweed is rich in essential minerals and vitamins. There are a variety of different types of edible seaweed; in fact, there are 30 commonly eaten types. Seaweed is categorized by color: brown, red and green. Seaweed contains essential minerals calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium, and zinc. They also contain a variety of vitamins such as B vitamins riboflavin and pantothenic acid, vitamins A and E, and vitamins C and K. Seaweed is helpful for maintaining good health and for fighting disease. Along with these benefits seaweed is also helpful for lowering blood pressure and promoting heart health. Seaweed can aid in weight loss because it is not very energy dense yet very nutrient dense.
Japan is the leading producer and exporter of sea vegetables and in the U.S. market seaweed varieties are referred to by their Japanese name. The mildest seaweed is known as nori, which is usually used to wrap around sushi rolls. Nori is high in omega-3 fatty acids, which helps protect the skin and prevent dryness. A very widely consumed seaweed is known as kelp. Kelp is usually dried into sheets or soaked in water. Two popular types of kelp are known as Kombu and Arame, which are both known for their dark brown color. Kelp noodles are a popular dish which does not need to be cooked and do not contain sugar or fat. A very soft and chewy red seaweed is known as Dulse. Two ways to enjoy Dulse is to sauté it with butter and garlic or to dry it into a flake form and add it to soup for flavoring. A healthy seaweed snack to substitute for chips would be known as roasted seaweed! So come out of your comfort zone, get creative, and try out these different types of seaweed!