The Value of Seaweed -- by Coy Domecq

I find myself on a warm February day at the Outer Banks of North Carolina looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. As the seas hold wondrous resources, one ubiquitous oceanic component that is rarely utilized locally is seaweed. The edible seaweeds are algae, more specifically macro algae, found primarily in salt waters as most of the freshwater brethren are toxic to humans.
Seaweeds as foodstuffs are used throughout the world in many cultures. The green, brown, and sometimes red seaweeds provide sources of beneficial life-sustaining elements. The plants are high in nutrition and low in calories, as well as high in fiber. Seaweeds are high in iodine, calcium, protein, and amino acids. Studies of people from high seaweed-consuming populations point directly toward increased gut flora (probiotics), hormonal regulation, cardiac benefits, detoxification of cigarette smoke and by-products in the blood, and enhancement of skin tone and hair condition. In many Asian countries, seaweed soup is a standby dish as a restorative homeopathic remedy for women who have recently given birth.
This may be an old saw included in these forageable-food articles, but positive identification is imperative before consuming plants gathered from the wild. Not only positive identification, but plants must be gathered from a clean environment to minimize concentrations of pollutants. Edible seaweed, fresh, processed and dried, can be purchased in upscale outlets and in Asian grocery stores. It is often marketed under the names as nori, laver, kelp, agar, or other local references specific to types of seaweed.
Say you never have, nor ever will, eat seaweed? Run, don’t walk, to your refrigerator, pantry and bathroom cabinets. Seaweed is an emulsifier and stabilizer in ice creams, toothpastes, beers, diet sodas and sauces; look for the ingredient carrageenan.
The Value of Seaweed -- by Coy Domecq The Value of Seaweed -- by Coy Domecq Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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