Why would anyone want to eat seaweed… or “sea vegetables” as some try to nicely put it? Well, because they offer one of the broadest ranges of minerals of any food. In fact, ounce for ounce, seaweed is higher in vitamins and minerals than any other class of food in the world! It supplies ALL the minerals needed for human health! That’s pretty incredible when you think about it – one food contains every single mineral that we need to sustain life., awesome!
Today our soils are depleted and our food can no longer provide all the nutrients we need to keep our bodies healthy, strong and energetic. Seaweeds, such as kombu, (pronounced like this) are continuously bathed in the mineral-rich sea brine, which allows them to be abundant in all the nutrients and trace elements that are void in other foods.
Seaweed is high in calcium, iodine, phosphorus, sodium (the good kind), iron, folic acid, magnesium, vitamins A, B, C, E and on and on… I could fill a book! It is an extremely rich protein source containing up to 38% protein. Seaweed is also a great source of the B vitamins panothenic acids and riboflavin, which are depleted through too much stress and anxiety. I’m sure we could all use a little extra vitamin B!
If you’re feeling tired and sluggish all the time, kombu is a great place to start! A deficiency of iron can cause symptoms such as fatigue and weakness and can lead to anemia. Ladies, do you feel tired during your period? (sorry guys) Replenish your body with some extra iron from kombu. Iodine is also an energy booster in those who are iodine deficient or have underactive thyroids (hypothyroidism).
Sea vegetables contain several unique classes of phytonutrients and antioxidants that most other foods don’t contain. These nutrients have spectacular anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-fungal (anti-cancer) and anti-bacterial benefits! This rare combo of elements leads to:
Promotes beautiful skin hair and nails
Promotes weight loss
Boosts immune system
Decreases blood sugar
Protects against breast cancer and other cancers
Acts as a detoxifier for the body
Strengthens bones, teeth, nerve transmission and digestion
Softens hardened masses or tumors
Decreases the symptoms of arthritis joint pains
Helps menopausal symptoms
Whew… it’s really good for you! The reason I love kombu so much is that it has a very mild flavor, almost tasteless in my opinion. Many other seaweeds do taste a bit fishy, but can be delicious if prepared in the right way.
How to Use:
I usually use half a strip of kombu, sometimes I throw in a whole piece for good measure. I usually grind mine into a powder with a nut and spice grinder or coffee grinder and add it to soups, stews, pseudo-grains (quinoa, buckwheat, and amaranth) and pasta. If you cook your own beans, instead of from a can, add a piece of kombu. It helps to tenderize the beans during cooking, as well as neutralize the enzyme that gives people gas. It’s true, this works!
Where to Find:
You can find kombu and other sea vegetables at most health food stores in the ethnic and Asian section. Or here, online in My Virtual Pantry!
How to Select and Store:
Different types of sea vegetables are sold in different forms (sheets, strips, flakes, or powder). Kombu is generally sold in strips or sheets. I store my sea vegetables in the original package in a ziplock bag in my pantry or in a wide-mouth mason jar.