So you’re interested in incorporating some sea vegetables into your diet, but you’re not sure where to start, right? Here are 7 of the most common and easy to find.
Agar is often used to make sweet or savory gelatin types of dishes. It has prebiotic properties and nourishes the digestive tract. You can buy it as a powdered form or in larger pieces of chunks. It dissolves in water and sets like jelly. (Jell-O) Some people even use agar regularly to keep them regular.
Arame is fine and delicate seaweed that has a sweet taste. It cooks well with finely cut onions, carrots and zucchini. Add to egg and quiche dishes, add to salads or as a side serve to a main dish. Soak well and then chop fine, it is best when added raw in small amounts to salads, or as a more generous amount as a side with your main meal.
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Dulse is my personal favorite, closely followed by hijiki and nori. It has a nice purple color and does not need soaking and has a sweet, tender flavor. Try wrapping a little piece of dulse around a Brazil nut. This seaweed can be powdered and used as a condiment or left in a chunky form and added to soups and stews. Try it, you may like this one, it is high in iron and packed with antioxidants too.
Hijiki is also one of my favorites; it comes in black long thin strands and looks a bit like very thick black hair. I find it most agreeable when soaked for half an hour in tepid water and the cooked lightly with sesame oil and mixed in with some lightly steamed broccoli on which I have tossed a little roasted sesame seed. While it does take a little longer to cook, it is worth it because it has a great texture and tastes nice and is a rich source of many minerals, including magnesium.
Kombu is the other sea vegetable I enjoy; it is flat seaweed and an inch or two wide. Kombu makes an excellent stock and is commonly added to miso soup. Just simmer a few pieces of kombu in water for about 30 to 40 minutes and then add some miso stock and you have instant miso soup. Kombu stock is mineral rich and very nourishing. I also add a piece of kombu to the water when I boil a root vegetable like potato or sweet potato.
Nori is probably one of the most popular of sea vegetables, and you may well know it as sushi. There are many ways you can enjoy nori, personally I like to roll up nori with quinoa and add salmon, avocado, cucumber, and a wide variety of other vegetables into the filling. I like roasted nori sheets and just crumble them up and add them to salads or sprinkle on top of steamed broccoli.
Wakame is delicate and can range in color from a pale green right through to a very dark green. I find that after soaking it is tastes not unlike spinach and is most agreeable as a side serve or great when added to salads.
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Try one at a time and see which you like best. You won’t regret any of your choices, I’m sure.