Seaweed. You heard me. Those shiny, slippery plants from the sea are the secret to luminous beauty.
But I’m not talking seaweed body wraps, or scrubs, or even seaweed in your shampoo. I’m suggesting that you eat the stuff. You see, seaweed is one of the best-known sources of minerals for the human body, and most every ancient culture found a way to eat plants that grew underwater. Seaweed is cultivated commercially in Maine, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska, as well as in parts of Asia.
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I didn’t grow up eating seaweed, so it was a transition for me, too. But within a few months of eating these new and mysterious plants, I found my body actually craved them and their healing properties. My skin looked fantastic and my nails got stronger. I’ve had thick hair my whole life, so I didn’t see improvement in that, but since eating seaweed regularly, I’ve never had split ends or dull hair. Seaweed is an undisputed superfood.
So what, exactly, am I talking about? Well, you’ve probably bumped into some seaweeds at Japanese or Korean restaurants. In miso soup, a lovely plant called wakame swims around. Sushi is wrapped in nori seaweed. And if you’re really adventurous, maybe you’ve had hijiki salad. Let’s take a look at the seaweeds you might find:
Hijiki: Also known as “hiziki”, this is the king of seaweeds. Richer in calcium than milk (by a long shot), hijiki is understood to be the reason Japanese women have such shiny, lustrous hair. You’ll find at Whole Foods Market or health food stores, in its dehydrated form. It needs to be soaked, and then cooked, usually with vegetables and a little bit of soy sauce. A little goes a long way; try ¼ cup twice a week and you will see your skin, nails and hair become stronger and more beautiful. Extra benefit? Your bones will get stronger, too!
Arame: This plant is also very powerful, but tastes a little milder than hijiki. It comes in delicate strands, and only needs to be soaked for a couple of minutes to soften it up. Then it can be cooked, like hijiki, with sweet vegetables, or even just boiled for a bit in water and a splash of soy sauce. Let it cool and you can throw it on a fresh salad! Arame is also high in minerals. You can alternate arame and hijiki from week to week.
Wakame: A key ingredient in miso soup, you can throw a little wakame into any soup and it will add to the flavor and health properties. Mild and delicious, wakame is especially good for the female reproductive organs.
Kelp: this plant is the King of Iodine and is used mainly in bean dishes and condiments. The naturally-occurring glutamates on the seaweed help to soften beans, and make them more digestible. You can find kombu sold by itself or in a shaker, dried with sesame seeds—great for sprinkling on rice. Don’t go crazy with kombu, however, since you can get too much iodine. Use it here and there.
Nori: Nori is a fantastic source of iron. Little packaged snacks are all the rage these days, and that’s great, because people are getting used to eating seaweed. However, the seasoned sheets of nori carry a lot of oil and salt, which aren’t usually of the greatest quality. Toasted nori, with no seasoning, tastes really good and you can find it sold as “Sushi Nori” or “Toasted Nori” at Whole Foods. Just eat it right out of the package!
Finally, although seaweed is key to healthy beauty, it carries many more benefits than those you’ll see in the mirror: Seaweed is known to reduce blood pressure and boost heart health; it is a good source of Vitamins A, B-6 and C, as well as some protein, fiber, and an array of minerals… And get this: seaweed can bind with radioactive isotopes in the body and discharge them. That’s right… seaweed is so badass, it punches radiation in the face.
What are you waiting for?
Let me know about your experiments with seaweed! Check out our Pinterest board for the different ways you can use seaweed.