Friday, 24 April 2015

Sea Vegetables, a valuable Source of Important Nutrients

For most of us when we think about sea vegetables, food is not the first thing that comes to mind. Hippocrates Health Institute have long recognized the valuable contribution sea vegetables can make to maintaining health by implementing a wide range of these vegetables of the seas into their signature Life Transformation Program. However sea vegetables such as kelp, nori, wakami, and
dulce contain a rich source of many essential vitamins, minerals and trace elements not found in land-based vegetables.

To understand why sea vegetables are highly rated as part of the optimal health diet at Hippocrates Health Institute, it’s important to know why some of the nutrients they provide are not available in most land-grown vegetables. Since commercial farming practices began over the past decades they have contributed a great deal to land erosion and depleting our soils of many essential nutrients that would otherwise have made it into our foods. The oceans however are abundant in naturally occurring minerals and vitamins that become part of the sea vegetables.

 Although Hippocrates Health Institute always encourages organic produce; many people still eat non-organic vegetables that have been treated with chemical fertilizers. While fertilizers contain minerals essential to sustain plant growth such as nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, sulfur and magnesium, these minerals have been chemically processed.  Nitrogen for example is gassed at high temperatures and pressure to produce ammonia. Phosphorus and potassium are treated with acids forming granules designed to dissolve in order to reach plant roots.

Hippocrates Health Institute regard the following list of nutrients found in sea vegetables highly beneficial for maintaining good health if consumed on a regular basis: dietary iodine (one of the best natural food sources of iodine essential for healthy thyroid functioning), potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, nitrogen, iron, zinc, boron, copper, manganese, chromium, selenium, bromine, vanadium, and nickel. In all sea vegetables contain 56 minerals and trace elements required for biological functions in quantities greatly exceeding those of land plants.

Most people are familiar with or have eaten sushi, and will know that the green wrapping on the outside, is a sea vegetable or seaweed. This is in fact called nori and is probably the most commonly known sea vegetable. Other edible sea vegetables, a lot less well known include dulse, kombu, wakame and kelp, and even less known is - how to eat them. At Hippocrates Health Institute all of these vegetables are used to dress salads and flavor sauces adding colors such as red, brown, blue and various shades of green.

The most popular seaweeds used in the Hippocrates’s kitchen are:

This is a dark green, sometimes reddish sea alga, most commonly dried into sheets and used for
sushi. Nori is one third protein and high in dietary fiber. Nutritional values vary, but typically a 100g serving of dried nori contains about 40g of protein, 36g of dietary fiber and 3g of zinc. It also contains high levels of iodine, carotene, vitamins A, B and C, as well as significant levels of calcium and iron.

This purple-red alga, has a strong salty taste and can be dried and eaten like a cracker. When hydrated it can be used as a flavoring in soups or tossed over a salad adding an extra dimension of color.

Kelp has a brown color and is commonly found on tidal shores growing up to 6 feet in length. Its best-eaten fresh in soups or over salads, but can also be dehydrated to make a crispy garnish for grain or pasta dishes. Kelp is a highly nutritious super food with the best quality to be found in Iceland. Icelandic kelp can be sourced in supplement form.

This sea vegetable is harvested in deep waters where it clings to rocks, and when dried appear almost black on color. Loaded with minerals, vitamins and trace elements, especially iodine, calcium, potassium, iron, carotene, and Vitamin B, they have a slightly sweet taste, and are helpful in dissolving mucus and regulating blood pressure.

Also known as alaria, this sea vegetable grows in thick beds in shallow waters, and contains high levels of fuxcoxanthin, which helps to burn fats.
It is also an excellent source of omega-3 oils, calcium, iodine, thiamine and niacin. In Asian medicine wakame is used to purify blood, and for strengthening the intestines, skin, hair and reproductive organs. Korean mothers traditionally drink wakame soup to help fortify their milk during nursing. In japan miso soup is not a true miso soup without wakame!

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