Veggies of the sea!

Veggies?? Sea?

Yes, you read it right! This isn’t any typing mistake. Veggies in the sea do exist. Sea veggies will surely make you think of some creepy plants floating with the water current under ocean. Actually, they aren’t creepier than what we imagine! When we think upon sea and food together, the most common thought popping up in the head is obviously fish. But… there is something for the vegetarians too!

What is Seaweed, benefits & how to use it | The Times of India

Sea vegetables or seaweed as they are called, are basically algae that grow into the sea. These organisms aren’t plants even if they look like it. It proves to be a great food for the marine life and for humans, they can be a good food with a storehouse of nutrients. They can be eaten or incorporated in our food preps. Edible algae generally come from marine water source, but some may also be found in freshwaters. Health and immunity being the focus area of every individual on this entire planet, it will benefit adding this superfood in our diet plans. Something new? Yup, seems new, but isn’t. Sea veggies are a part of Asian cuisine since long.

But, with many varieties of vegetables and fruits already existing around us, should we actually eat them? 

No, not that you must, but you may actually make them a part of your diet! For the nutrients obviously, and also for their taste.

Sea veggies can add a briny and savoury taste to your food preps. Also, when it comes to nutrients, sea veggies are dense with them, and bring in a lot of health benefits. They are abundant in minerals, vitamins, proteins, fibre and bioactive plant compounds as well. The presence and absence and quantity differs with different varieties. 

  • Protein present in some varieties namely Spirulina and Chlorella, is of good quality. You can expect a good range of essential amino acids.
  • Fat content is generally low, but whatever fat present categorizes under PUFA, with equal ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6.
  • These are rich in complex carbohydrates, polysaccharides, oligosaccharides and fibres, which acts as prebiotics and keep the beneficial bacterial balance intact. The focus gets on Fucodian, a complex carbohydrate found in brown seaweed which is known to be showing antiviral, neuroprotective and immune boosting properties. The fibre content is considered to be as good as lentils. They can help manage hunger by inducing a feeling of fullness. Hence, thereby help in weight management.
  • Sea veggies are a good source of minerals viz. iron, iodine, calcium, magnesium, etc. and vitamins A, C, K, E and B vitamins (1,2,3,6,9,12). These are very well known as health and immunity boosters. Kelp, a seaweed rich in iodine, can help tackle and support iodine deficiency. Due to them being abundant in these nutrients, they can be a helping hand in case of deficiencies. They are also known to show anti-aging, anti-clotting, etc. and other such useful properties.
  • Seaweed is also the powerhouse of antioxidants, and beneficial plant compounds such as flavonoids, carotenoids, etc. Research focuses on Fucoxanthin, which is shown to offer a lot of health benefits.

Most common edible seaweed are classified as follows.

Green – Sea Lettuce

Red- Nori, Dulse

Brown- Arame, Kombu, Wakame, Kelp

Others like Spirulina, Chlorella.

Various Seaweed, Sea Vegetables, Shot From Above With A Place.. Stock  Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image. Image 130023242.

Sea Lettuce

Sea Lettuce, Ulva - Eat The Weeds and other things, too

Rich in protein, fatty acids, carbs, vitamins and minerals. Makes it a good option to incorporate food with. Makes a better supplement due to health promoting effects. It is generally used in soups, stews, salads, etc. Sea lettuce also pickles well.

Nori

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It is a rich source of vitamin A, C, folate, etc. and a medium rich source of zinc, iron. It has a good amount of bioavailable iodine and vitamin B12, to meet our daily needs. It is generally used to wrap around sushi rolls, as a garnish for soups, curries and also for flavouring foods.

Dulse

What Is Dulse and How Do You Use It? - Food & Nutrition Magazine

It contains calcium, potassium and iodine, protein in good amounts. Hence, it brings in all the possible health benefits like other seaweeds do. It finds use in medicine, cosmetics and food. It consumed fresh, dried, powdered which can be used while cooking, in drinks, soups, and also can be sprinkled over. It is also available in the form of capsules.

Arame

Arame - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

Arame is rich in calcium, iodine, magnesium, vitamin and comes with a little sweet flavour. It contains the complex carb laminarin, and this veggie is shown to impart immunological activity. It can be added to various food dishes like muffins, soups, stews and many other dishes.

Kombu           

Kombu Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Kombu is well known as a flavour enhancer and its ability to impart savoury taste. It is rich in iodine, iron, calcium and other trace minerals and has vitamins A and C in it. It can be consumed in dried form or fresh, can be pickled and also can be incorporated into various dishes or made into a flavourful stock.

Wakame

Wakame - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It has all the beneficial nutrients and shows a wide range of health effects. It has a strong and sweet flavour and imparts a unique taste to food preparations. It is used in soups, especially miso soup, salads or simply as a side dish with tofu.

Kelp

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Natural source of Vitamins K, A, B12, folate, pantothenic acid and minerals. It has antioxidant property and disease fighting ability. Algin, a polysaccharide found in kelp, finds its applications in cosmetic, pharma, food industries. It is consumed in the dried form, raw and as supplements. Transparent sheets prepared from it can be used as edible wrapping.

Spirulina          

100% Pure Spirulina by 5essentia

It grows in both fresh and saline water. It is considered one of the most nutrient rich foods on this planet. The protein is of good quality and can be compared with that of eggs. Also, very rich in micronutrients. It is a good antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunity booster, blood sugar and BP controlling and other benefits to enhance good health. It is consumed in powdered form and as supplements.

Chlorella

Green micro algae (Chlorella vulgaris) - Phytocode

It is only consumed as a supplement either tablet or extract form, due to its digestibility issue. It is rich in protein, fibres, omega-3, micronutrients, and a wide array of antioxidants. It is also known to absorb heavy metals.

So, Appearances can be misleading! These creepy, slimy looking veggies are so very beneficial. 

Now we can rightly use the term ‘seafood’ for vegetarians too!

References

  1. https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/0616p46.shtml
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-seaweed
  3. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=135
  4. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-are-sea-vegetables
  5. Wikipedia
  6. Pictures – Google chrome
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