The need for seaweed

Be honest: how much do you really think about your thyroid? Chances are, unless you suffer from thyroid disease, that butterfly-shaped gland in your neck probably doesn’t cross your mind too often.

The thyroid is an important “communicator” in the body, a manager, if you will, secreting hormones that control the rate of many bodily activities, including how fast you burn calories and the speed at which your heart beats.

Taking care of your thyroid is a big win for your hormones. A healthy thyroid will boost energy, balance moods and increase libido. You might be surprised, but a healthy thyroid will even give you a youthful glow.

So, if you knew there was a food loaded with valuable nutrition that could support your thyroid, would you run out and grab some?

Sea vegetables — with exotic names like kombu, nori and arame — are loaded with iodine (necessary to the production of thyroid hormones), calcium, magnesium, B-vitamins and iron that can help rev up metabolism. But the best part about seaweed is that they’re mineral dense, with 10 to 20 times the minerals of land plants.

Although they may not sound as warm and fuzzy as vitamins, minerals perform critical functions — like spark plugs in a car, minerals are the starting point for combustion in your body.

All nutrients — vitamins, proteins, enzymes, amino acids, carbohydrates and fats — need minerals to help them do their jobs inside the body.

Minerals are necessary to build healthy bones, produce hormones and transfer nutrients across cell membranes. Enzymes just won’t work without the presence of key minerals.

“A robust dose of marine minerals, specifically iodine via the potent variety of sea vegetable, is the most effective way to increase iodine naturally and balance the thyroid,” says Sue Van Raes, a nutritional therapist, health coach and founder of Boulder Nutrition.

However, the body can’t produce minerals on its own, so humans have to get them through food. Essentially, minerals come from the earth.

Healthy soil is about 45 percent mineral rich, but modern farming practices have taken a toll on mineral concentrations. Studying U.S. Department of Agriculture data from 1950 and 1999, a team at the University of Texas at Austin found a marked decline in numerous nutrients in 43 fruits and vegetables, meaning that a well-balanced diet could still leave a body in need of a mineral boost.

In Chinese medicine and other natural healing modalities, there’s a theory called the Doctrine of Signatures, which states that an herb or a plant serves the body in much the same way that the plant acts in its natural environment.

“Wherever seaweeds grow, they do not simply absorb and concentrate toxins,” Paul Pitchford writes in Healing with Whole Foods. “Rather, they detoxify and transform a certain amount of toxic metals, converting them to harmless salts, which the body excretes through the intestines.” Seaweed consumption is known to soften hardened areas and masses (think fibroids, nodules or cystic tissues), and detoxify the body. Most likely due to their high mineral content, eating seaweed tends to get things moving in the body and kick biochemical reactions into gear.

“Because iodine from sea veggies comes from a whole food, it is readily absorbable and assimilates easy, making it the most effective source of iodine,” says Van Raes. “This rich dose of iodine is integral in regulating the metabolic activity in every cell in the body and influencing how we feel and function every day.”

So if your hair is getting a little thin, or you’d like to slim down just a bit, adding dishes like arame seaweed salad to your diet can help by supporting your thyroid gland.

Arame, also known as sea oak, has a subtle, semi-sweet flavor and firm texture. Known for its use in Japanese cuisine, arame is easy to work with and mixes well into casseroles, soups and muffins.

Feeling lost about how to incor porate seaweed into your meals? This salad is a snap to make and, after a little time marinating in the fridge, gets even better the next day. If you’re not a fan of the seaweed flavor, you can always tone it down a bit by serving it over a light bed of greens, such as Romaine leaves.

ARAME SEAWEED SALAD 

You can add any of your favorite veggie combinations without going wrong.

Prep time: 15 minutes

For the salad: 1 cup arame

filtered water for soaking

½ red pepper diced

2 scallions chopped fine

2 carrots grated

1 daikon radish grated

For the dressing:

¼ cup Bragg’s apple cider vinegar

2 TBSP coconut aminos

1 TBSP sesame oil

pinch of red pepper flakes

pinch of sea salt

1. In a medium bowl, cover arame with more than enough water. Soak for 15 minutes. While soaking prep your veggies and dressing.

  1. In another medium sized bowl, add the red pepper, scallions, carrots and daikon radish.

  2. In a small bowl, combine all of the dressing ingredients.

  3. After 15 minutes of soaking, drain the water from the seaweed using a fine mesh strainer. Squeeze the remaining water out by using your hands.

  4. Add the arame to the veggies and mix well. Add the dressing and mix again.

 

View original article at: The need for seaweed

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