They’re delicious in so many ways — cut into strips and fried and salted, sprinkled onto rice for extra taste, kick, added to soups for an umami kick — but did you know that seaweed is great for your health too?
The three most common types of seaweed that are eaten or used as ingredients are:
• Red seaweed varieties, which is what the nori sheets used to make sushi are made from.
• Brown varieties, like kombu and wakame, that are used in soups and salads.
• Green varieties, which are sometimes called sea lettuce.
Sometimes, the actual colour of the seaweed is quite different to what the name suggests. For example, brown seaweed varieties can actually be brown, green or black in colour when they’re sold, so you can’t always tell the variety by a seaweed’s colour.
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Another key thing to note is that while all seaweeds are rich in vitamins and nutrients, brown seaweed contains more iodine than their green and red counterparts. And although iodine is an essential nutrient, when large amounts are consumed regularly over a long period of time, it can upset healthy thyroid function. Because of that, experts say it’s important not to “over-consume” brown seaweed and dishes that contain it. So eat it in moderation, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, have it just once a week.
Without further ado, here are five surprising health benefits of seaweed (plus easy recipes to inspire you):