Dr Libby on seaweed
The nutritional properties of seaweed are vast, and vary from plant to plant. In general, seaweeds help to detoxify and alkalise the blood. They also provide antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. These minerals are an essential component of glowing skin and lustrous hair. Nori is a type of seaweed most commonly used to wrap sushi.
It is also used as a garnish or to flavour noodle dishes or soups. Surprisingly nori contains protein, fibre, vitamins B and K, and iodine. Incorporating foods that are a good source of iodine is of particular importance in New Zealand, as our soils lack this essential trace mineral. Although only required in small amounts, it is an important component of thyroid hormone production. Thyroid hormones are primarily responsible for regulating our metabolism.
Nori also contains vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin essential for healthy vision, immune system function, regulation of gene expression and growth. It is also a good source of non-haem iron. Iron is an essential component of haemoglobin, the protein in blood responsible for carrying oxygen to tissues and organs.
There is an endless number of ways you can incorporate seaweed into your diet. Wakame has many of the same health benefits of other seaweeds. Wakame is a beautiful green colour and is the seaweed most commonly used in miso soup. Arame is a good choice too and is wonderful used in casseroles or soups to impart a salty flavour and provide a big mineral boost.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, seaweed is a food that is naturally high in umami, which when eaten triggers the L-glutamate receptors and can add significant flavour to foods without adding salt.
Click here for Dr Libby's brown rice sushi recipe.