Skip to main content

Health Benefits of Eating Sea Vegetables

Cara is a web writer and website owner with over 15 years of experience providing information to readers on a number of topics.

Seaweed is a great addition to your diet and provides a lot of nutrients. It is an approved sea vegetable and it is also delicious.

Seaweed is a great addition to your diet and provides a lot of nutrients. It is an approved sea vegetable and it is also delicious.

There is always new information coming out about how to improve your health, but at times it can be a lot to take in and information overload is a common complaint. We all know vegetables are healthy for us and almost everyone has incorporated things like cauliflower, carrots, green beans, brussels sprouts, and kale into our diet. However, the health benefits of eating vegetables that come from the sea are something we commonly overlook. Sea vegetables are a great way to complement the land vegetables you have already added to your healthy side or main dishes.

Sea vegetables are a great, mineral-rich addition to any healthy diet. You may be drawing a blank thinking about what sea vegetables are but there’s a good chance you already eat them on occasion when you eat your favorite takeout. Sea vegetables are a staple vegetable in Asian countries, such as Japan and China, where science sees a dramatically lower rate of cancer and heart diseases compared to the Western world.

So, what sea vegetables should you add to your diet? The most beneficial additions to your diet are seaweed and algae. If the only time you have these vegetables in your diet is when you go to a sushi bar, you’re really missing out. Both options are easy to integrate into your meals and will add a flare of variety to your current meal plan. Here is a list of sea vegetables you should consider adding to your diet and a few pretty compelling reasons to do so.

Arame

Arame is a form of brown algae and is commonly enjoyed in Japanese cooking. You can buy it in a dried state, and it is available all year long. This alga has a mild flavor so it is easy to incorporate into a variety of dishes. It pairs great with meat, fish, and even soups and salads. It has a mild flavor so it is easy to use, and you can easily work it into your diet in small amounts until you become used to the flavor.

What makes Arame a perfect sea vegetable? This edible alga is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, vitamin A, iodine, and chlorophyll. Its composition makes it an amazing natural detox and improves the condition of your skin, hair, and nails. The Western diet is full of toxins and unhealthy ingredients but this amazing vegetable from the sea can help flush these toxins from your body.

Buy Arame Now

Dulse

Also known as palmaria palmata, dulse is a red alga that grows in the northern portions of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It contains many of the trace elements that humans need to survive and is also an excellent source of protein. Many vegans and vegetarians are already incorporating this alga into their diet because it replaces the elements commonly associated with the consumption of meat. When you’re ready to incorporate dulse into your diet, you can use it in a lot of ways. It is easy to use as a flavor enhancer and you can also eat it as a stand-alone snack.

Dulse is rich in vitamins and minerals, and it is extremely potent. Asian countries have great respect for this alga, and it is well documented to improve digestive and cardiovascular health. There have been several studies completed showing that it can improve blood sugar, and weight loss, and contains anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties.

Buy Dulse Now

Wakame

Wakame is a well-known seaweed with a mild flavor that is slightly sweet. It is a culinary favorite in soups and as a salad topping. Wakame has been grown by sea farmers in Japan and Korea for centuries and is a staple ingredient in both countries. It is also harvested in New Zealand and Australia but not in as large of a quantity.

Since Wakame is a brown alga, it is rich in a substance called fucoxanthin. Fucoxanthin is an ingredient shown to be very successful at burning fatty tissue which is why it is commonly found in weight loss supplements as a primary ingredient. The benefits of this alga don’t stop there. It is packed with vitamins and minerals including magnesium, iron, and calcium, as well as vitamins A, B2, C, D, and K. It is known for its ability to improve skin, improve menstrual regularity, and purify the blood.

Buy Wakame Now

Nori

Nori is one of the few sea vegetables known by people in the Western world. If you’ve ever had Japanese sushi, there’s a good chance it came wrapped in Nori. Not only has it gained popularity as a sushi wrap, but many people have found that it has amazing flavor when it is toasted.

This red algae form of seaweed is loaded with B vitamins and has a concentrated amount of vitamin B12 in particular. Nori is also known for containing unsaturated fatty acids, proteins, minerals, vitamins, and trace minerals. Nori is so much more than just a sushi wrap though. It is great as a snack and a healthy alternative to white bread that is commonly used in the west.

Buy Nori Now

Kelp

Kelp is a light brown alga that grows in the ocean but primarily in shallow water. This sea vegetable is known for being nutritionally dense because it is packed with vitamins and minerals. It grows in what is commonly referred to as “underwater forests.” The brown alga family consists of about 30 different genus of alga, and they all have an extremely impressive growth rate. Since they grow from the sea floor and grow upward to reach sunlight, they can easily reach over 200 feet in length.

A popular type of kelp is Kombu, which is a common part of the diet throughout East Asia. It is especially popular in Japanese dishes and is sold in a variety of ways, but the most popular are dried or pickled in vinegar. Kombu is found in many soup stocks and is also eaten as a healthy snack with green tea.

Kelp is known to have a scientifically impressive number of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and dietary fiber. The iodine content is great for protecting and improving your thyroid health. Not only will adding kelp to your diet going to provide overall health benefits, but it will also help maintain your body’s pH balance, improve oxygenation, increase red blood cell production, and increase bone mineral density. Kelp also helps kill off cancerous cells while avoiding healthy cells. Kombu is becoming more and more popular as a flavor enhancer. It also contains enzymes that break down sugars in beans and legumes to prevent them from producing gas.

Scroll to Continue

Buy Kelp Powder Now

Agar

Agar, commonly referred to as agar-agar is a substance that is naturally jelly-like. It is obtained from alga and has a sweet flavor. Agar is commonly used as a sugar substitute, and it is used as a great addition to dessert recipes. Because it is plant-based, it is a great gelatin substitute for vegetarians. Many people find comfort in the fact that it also has mild laxative properties so when it is used in moderation, it can prevent constipation.

Because Agar is an alga-derived ingredient, it is an excellent source of calcium and high in fiber. The selling point of the ingredient is not just what it does contain, but also what it doesn’t contain. Agar contains no sugar, no fat, and almost no carbohydrates. Because of these factors, it makes a great addition to desserts, and they are healthier than gelatin.

Buy Agar Agar Powder Now

Spirulina

Just like nori that is found in traditional Japanese restaurants wrapping your sushi, spirulina is a food that many health-conscious people in the Western world are familiar with. Spirulina is a blue-green alga that has been found on health food store shelves for many years. Typically, it is incorporated in protein powders.

Spirulina is something you may have seen growing in the wild and scientifically it’s shown to have benefits for humans and there have been warnings against allowing your dog to access it. In nature, it looks like a green mass that is floating on the surface of ponds and many people dismiss it assuming that it is pond scum. This alga is so packed with nutrients that many people consider it to be a superfood.

This alga is nutrient-dense that is comprised of 70 percent protein by weight. It also has a high concentration of vitamins and minerals. It is so healthy that NASA incorporated it into the diet of astronauts in 1974 because it dramatically boosted their nutritional profile.

The most common place that you can find is spirulina powder supplements in green smoothies to provide an energy boost. Smoothies are a great way to start the day and it is recommended to have a healthy smoothie before you exercise. This alga is known for helping naturally regulate blood sugar, fight allergies, improve memory, and boost immunity.

Buy Spirulina Tablets Now

Benefits of Incorporating Sea Vegetables into Your Diet

The sea vegetables mentioned here share two common things. They add essential nutrients to your diet without adding additional fats or sugars, which contribute to an unhealthy diet. These sea vegetables are a big reason why you see lower rates of serious health problems in Asian cultures, including lower incidences of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The best approach is to decide the right ways to add them to your diet to ensure that eating these foods become second nature to you and that you enjoy them. Knowing where to find these sea vegetables in their easiest forms. Arame is a great place to start because it is mild tasting and can easily be added to your salad dressing. Spirulina can be taken in pill form or powder form.

If you like soups, Kombu can be added to boost flavor. Dulse can be added to sandwiches to add nutrition, flavor, and a great texture. Some people have gone as far as to compare the flavor of some strains with bacon.

There are a lot of references online that can help you learn to incorporate sea vegetables into your existing diet. With a little practice, it will become second nature to you and once you know the flavor profile, you will be able to decide what recipes your family will enjoy the flavors in. If you are working on improving your health and your diet, now is the best time to see how vegetables from the sea can improve your health.

Sources

Beall, A. (2019). How algae could transform our diets. BBC News. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/follow-the-food/the-green-sludge-that-could-transform-our-diets.html

Grizio, M. (n.d.). The sustainable, nutritious, functional power of algae. IFT.org. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.ift.org/news-and-publications/food-technology-magazine/issues/2022/february/columns/ingredients-applied-science-algae

Taylor, M. (2021, November 2). Why you might want to add algae to your diet. Prevention. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.prevention.com/food-nutrition/healthy-eating/a27077781/algae-health-benefits/

Wells, M. L., Potin, P., Craigie, J. S., Raven, J. A., Merchant, S. S., Helliwell, K. E., Smith, A. G., Camire, M. E., & Brawley, S. H. (2017). Algae as nutritional and functional food sources: Revisiting our understanding. Journal of applied phycology. Retrieved July 19, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5387034/

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Cara Garrison

Related Articles