Much to my surprise, I've found myself sprinkling dulse granules on food at least a couple of times a day or tossing nori into dishes. How's that for a strange craving? (I've also been craving red meat -- grass fed, or course -- and chicken soup.)
Anyhow, as I was a couple of weeks into my dulse habit, I received a fascinating article about sea vegetables from my friend Andrea Beaman, a holistic health counselor and well known chef.
As you may recall, Andrea was one of the contestants on "Top Chef," and she now hosts Wise Up!, where she hits the road to explore holistic approaches to health in cities across the U.S.
So intrigued was I by Andrea's article about sea veggies that I asked her if I could post this here to help you. Learn more about the nutritive stuff from the sea, thanks to Andrea Beaman:
"Sea vegetables (aka seaweeds) have been incorporated into the human diet since ancient times, and not just by the Japanese; Hawaiians, Koreans, Chinese, Maoris (New Zealand), Celts, Vikings, Romans, British, Scottish, Irish, American Indians and many others have derived numerous nutritional benefits eating these savory delicacies from the sea.
"Rich in minerals and trace minerals, sea vegetables provide more than 50 essential elements required for the body’s physiological functions. Population studies show that people with diets high in sea vegetables have few symptoms of mineral deficiencies and longer life spans. And, sea vegetables have been used medicinally to treat hypertension, heart disease, goiter, kidney disease, ulcers, obesity, constipation, menstrual disorders, high cholesterol, cancer, radiation poisoning, heavy metal toxicity and more(1)(2). If this isn’t reason enough to begin eating these nutrient rich foods, I’ll give you one more … when cooked properly, they taste great!
"Over the years, I’ve served sea vegetables to some very discerning palates (including my young nephews) and the consensus is `delicious!' Below are some popular sea vegetables and their notable properties.
" Agar agar (kanten) – rich in calcium, trace minerals and fiber, agar contains no calories and is considered a natural laxative. It is quick cooking and perfect for making cooling desserts, aspics, and puddings.
" Alaria – high in vitamin A, and a delicious when added to soups. You can also blanch, marinate or soak this sea vegetable to make it ready to use in other recipes.
" Arame – rich in iron and calcium, this sea vegetable cooks quickly and has a mildly sweet flavor. Arame can be soaked and blanched for a few minutes or marinated.
" Dulse – rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorous. We hit the mineral jackpot with dulse! Great to eat straight out of the bag as a snack or sprinkled on salads and soups (check for small shells and thoroughly clean before using).
" Hiziki – this sea vegetable is the richest in calcium and potassium. It is legendary in the Far East for enhancing beauty and adding luster, strength and shine to the hair, skin and nails. Saute with a little oil for best tasting results.
" Kelp – rich in glutamic acid that tenderizes and increases digestibility of beans. Also rich in iodine that stimulates the thyroid to burn fat. Can be roasted, fried, boiled, sautéed or marinated.