Monday, November 22, 2010

Dining on Iodine

While we spent time on the beaches, we would often see a lot of different sea plants washed up. And it made me think of all the seaweeds that, sadly, I do not care for eating, but wish I liked! I am working to incorporate more, and have found a few options thus far.

Iodine is critical for a healthy thyroid (which helps regulate our metabolism) and for normal development of the body and brain. Deficiency in the US is pretty rare now, since table salt has iodine added to it.

But what if you don't want to use fortified supplemental salt, and are trying to get away from processed sodium?

You can find it in natural salty sea plants!

No, I don't recommend combing the beach for whatever wash-ups you find to toss in your salads! ;-)

But there are a number of sea plants you can buy and add to your eating habits. While there are thousands of different sea vegetables, some options are nori, hijiki, wakame, arame, kombu, dulse, and kelp. And, in addition to being amazing sources of iodine, sea vegetables hold a host of health benefits! They may help reduce estrogen-related cancers; they are good sources of different antioxidants; they contain a unique compound called fucoidans that provide anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anticoagulant, antithrombotic, and antiviral properties; and they contain a vast array of other health and beauty minerals! They contain calcium, copper, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, vanadium, and zinc.

Iodine doesn't stay in your system very long, so it is important to get it regularly. I bought a little shaker of raw kelp granules, and I'll just sprinkle a tiny dash of that on salads or vegetable plates. It has a light salt flavor, no fishy flavor, and has more than enough natural iodine in it - so you don't need much at all, meaning this baby will last me for a while.

I've also had raw kelp noodles from Loving Hut before, and it was delicious! I have been told that Sea Tangle sells a good product, and hope to try it sometime!

I have also purchased some nori sheets, and hope to try making a sushi-style veggie roll sometime, but I am still a bit intimidated by the sea salt flavor. But I figure the kelp is a good starting point for me!

So however you choose your iodine, consider something new with sea vegetables and try to ditch the table salt. You can buy flakes to sprinkle on foods, toss strips with salads or veggie mixes, add bits to soups, make your own wraps, or whatever other ideas you come up with!

Happy little sea plant sitting in the sun :)


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