Nori flakes and sea vegetables have been widely used in Japan and Asia for years. Nori is best known as the sheet used to make sushi and wrap fish and rice in traditional Japanese cooking. But there’s so more too it! Seaweeds are power-packed with nutrition that’s easy to absorb.
Seaweeds are remarkably high in minerals like Iron, Vitamin C, Iodine, manganese, and zinc in a very bioavailable form. Iron is hard to find in vegetarian sources and needs Vitamin C to make it’s absorption easier and more available and makes it even more beneficial to take.
Sea vegetables may be a unique food source not only of the mineral iodine, but also of the mineral vanadium. As part of their natural defense mechanisms, sea vegetables contain a variety of enzymes called haloperoxidases. These enzymes all require vanadium in order to function. Although this mineral is not as well known as some of the other mineral nutrients, it appears to play a multi-faceted role in regulation of carbohydrate metabolism and blood sugar. Vanadium may help to increase our body's sensitivity to insulin by inhibiting a group of enzymes. It may also help us decrease our body's production of glucose and help us increase our body's ability to store starch in the form of glycogen.
Sea vegetables may play a role in lowering risk of estrogen-related cancers, including breast cancer. Since cholesterol is required as a building block for production of estrogen, the cholesterol-lowering effects of sea vegetables may play a risk-reducing role in this regard. However, more interesting with respect to breast cancer risk is the apparent ability of sea vegetables to modify aspects of a woman's normal menstrual cycle in such a way that over a lifetime, the total cumulative estrogen secretion that occurs during the follicular phase of the cycle gets decreased. For women who are at risk of estrogen-sensitive breast cancers, sea vegetables may bring a special benefit in this regard.
Sea vegetables have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anticoagulant, antithrombotic, and antiviral properties as they contain sulfated polysaccharides. These unique compounds (also called fucoidans) are unusual in their complexity and have many health benefits. Multiple studies show anti-inflammatory benefits from consuming sea vegetables.
Fantastic. So how do we use them?
Nori works well with any Asian dish, salad, miso soup and in raw food recipes. The easiest way to take them is to keep a container of kelp flakes on the dinner table and use it instead of table salt for seasoning foods. You can also experiment with adding your favorite sea vegetable to vegetable dishes, salads, and soups. They are easy to add to dishes as they require no cooking. It is recommended to include 1 tsp of sea vegetables to your diet every each day. So get sprinkling!!