Sea vegetables are marine plants that grow in sea waters as well as fresh water. They are edible and most of us are no stranger to them, in spite of the quirky name.
You might not realise it but the nori seaweed is an example of sea vegetables. Used prolifically in Japanese and Korean cooking, you can see nori seaweed in sushi, soups and salads. It is a flavour bomb that is rich in umami taste. However there is more to sea vegetables than nori. This strange yet savoury goodness has been predicted to evolve into a food trend in 2019.
The benefits of sea vegetables
Sea vegetables can be considered superfoods. They are alkaline in nature and rich in minerals and vitamins which our bodies need to operate optimally. From thyroid function to regenerating cells, sea vegetables are an essential source of nutrients.
Most people succumb to flu and sickness during winter but sea vegetables are said to boost immunity, so load up on them when you feel under the weather. They are also an incredible source of antioxidants, great for fighting off inflammation. Furthermore sea vegetables are good for our digestive health and enable our bodies to detoxify, removing harmful metals and pollutants.
Some sea vegetables like wakame can even aid in weight loss and increase energy levels in individuals. As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to start consuming sea vegetables. A short list of sea vegetable examples includes:
- Brown Algae
Ways to enjoy sea vegetables
Most of the sea vegetables are very versatile and you can use them easily in cooking. They also make for scrumptious snacks which you can eat quickly instead of grabbing highly processed fast food. Beyond seaweed chips and roasted nori, novelty food products such as seaweed butter and keep noodles have also been surfacing in the market. Home cooks and chefs are getting experimental when it comes to creating new recipes and finding innovative ways of incorporating sea vegetables in cooking.
Due to the umami flavour of these wholesome sea vegetables, they can be eaten as sweet foods as well as salty ones. Most sea vegetables are available in dried forms, but you can also get them fresh, or as granules, flakes and even powder. A company in the United States has even launched kelp puree in a jar.
Low impact on the environment
Sea vegetables can be farmed sustainably. In this time and age where the supply of fish and seafood is depleting quickly because of climate change, sea vegetables can be an alternative source of nutrients and flavour. They can be grown within the span of six to eight months without the use of any pesticides at all.
The rising tide of popularity for sea vegetables will continue to ensure more accessibility and availability to this superfood. However since they can accumulate heavy metals and pollutants from surrounding waters, it is advisable to choose organic sea vegetables or find out where your local sea vegetables come from.