Exploring Seaweed as a replacement for salt
Known as the superfood of the sea, seaweed is packed full of nutrients and goodness. And while many people assume that the most nutritious foods grow in soil or on land, this isn’t the case. The term seaweed refers to about 10,000 species of edible marine algae which can be used as a great alternative to salt. For thousands of years, seaweed has been a staple ingredient for many people in Japan, Korea and many other parts of the globe and continues to grow in popularity across the United Kingdom.
Packed full of minerals and other nutrients, seaweed was traditionally used as a medicine, with modern studies confirming it has antiviral and anticancer properties. As well as its fantastic food properties, seaweed also has many benefits when eaten. Seaweed is a fantastic ingredient and as an experienced food consultant, I am here to help you discover how you can use seaweed in your daily food and how it makes a fantastic alternative to salt in your diet.
Many of us may eat seaweed without even knowing it. If you love Asian food, seaweed is often a main ingredient in many dishes. It is also used as a stabiliser and thickener in many popular dishes. Keep an eye out- if you see the ingredients agar, alginate, or carrageenan, you’re eating a derivative of seaweed. However, if that is the only seaweed you are eating, you are missing out! Not only missing out on the great taste of seaweed but also on the health and nutritional benefits of ingesting seaweed in its whole form.
Full to the brim in antioxidants, fibre, protein, and a wide range of minerals, seaweed is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. What’s more, seaweed is also the richest dietary source of iodine, a trace mineral that plays a pivotal role in the healthy functioning of the nervous, immune, and endocrine systems.
The importance of iodine
Many people do not get enough of the important nutrient, iodine. Alarmingly, many pregnant women are iodine-deficient which is dangerous as iodine deficiency can harm the cognitive development of a fetus or breastfeeding infant as well as the health of the mother. Iodine is also critical for the health of the thyroid, the small gland in your neck, responsible for producing and regulating hormones.
With thyroid conditions on the increase, especially in women, the need to reduce processed foods in our foods is more important now than it ever has been. Processed food contains a lot of salt, but manufacturers add non-iodised salt because it is far cheaper, with many other people avoiding table salt for health reasons.
But what is the point? In essence, you may need more iodine than you are currently ingesting, and seaweed is a fantastic natural source.
Nutritious and Delicious
For the vast majority of healthy people, seaweed is safe and beneficial to eat in moderate amounts and as part of a varied and nutritious diet. With a delicious salty, meaty flavour, more and more people are learning about the amazing taste of seaweed.
And if at first you don’t like the taste, don’t be put off. Try the various different varieties and preparation methods and you’ll find something you like. Miso, sushi and seaweed salads are traditional Japanese dishes and are absolutely delicious.
Good for You, Good for the Earth
Seaweed is not only tasty, it’s eco-friendly. It grows incredibly quickly, and it’s abundant. Moreover, it does not require our dwindling resources of fresh water and arable land. As such, eating more of it could prevent some of the environmental damage caused by land-based agriculture, meaning it is win, win situation all round.
Here to help
So, if your goal is to cut down on your sodium intake and eat a healthier diet, try seaweed as a natural replacement to table salt. The numerous vitamins naturally found in seaweed, instantly broaden the nutritional profile of your meal while adding a unique and delicious taste to any dish.
If you would like help or advice in how best to integrate seaweed into your dishes, or would like to throw a dinner party and have the experience of a personal/ private chef cooking for you in your home, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I am here to help you enjoy eating delicious food, so get in touch to find out more.