Eating seaweed: does it make you brainier?

January 30, 2016 9:05 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

At Naturally Good Food we sell a great range of sea vegetables. We began with a variety of Japanese sea vegetables (a staple part of the Japanese diet) and in recent years, have been pleased to be able to add more locally sourced seaweed, from the Cornish Seaweed Company.

Seaweed is eaten traditionally in many parts of the UK.

Sea spaghetti from Cornwall: new to you?

Sea vegetables are often completely overlooked in the West when we think about diet – and yet, in certain areas, they’ve been eaten with relish for centuries. This is particularly true of the coastal areas of Ireland, Wales and the west of Scotland – where recipes such as ‘laverbread’, made with seaweed, are traditionally popular.

Not just for sandcastles: nothing compares with seaweed!

Sea vegetables are a remarkably rich source of vitamins and minerals – indeed, there’s no land-based foodstuff that compares with them. They’ve got potassium (in what is considered to be the perfect ratio to sodium), calcium (in an easily absorbable form), magnesium, iron, zinc and iodine in healthy amounts, and plenty of the B complex vitamins, which are particularly necessary for a vegetarian and vegan diet. They’ve got fibre, healthy unsaturated fat, omega-3 elements, amino acids, antioxidants, fatty acids, glyconutrients for the immune system, myostatine for muscle development, and natural antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-parasitic substances. Wow! Now you might think twice about simply chasing your sister around the beach with a big pile of seaweed, mightn’t you?!

With these kinds of health benefits, we’re delighted to include sea vegetables in our range. In our Japanese sea vegetable list, we have arame, dulse, nori (of various types, including sushi nori), furikake seasoning, hijiki, sea salad and wakame.

Wakame has a mild flavour and is suitable for adding to many kinds of dishes.

Japanese wakame: part of our sea vegetable range

From the Cornish Seaweed Company, we have Cornish seaweed salt, Irish Moss carrageen, kombu, sea salad and sea spaghetti.

Many people say that in recent times, soil demineralisation has made it harder to obtain the minerals we need from land-based plants. Out at sea, this is much less of a factor, meaning that eating sea vegetables may be the way to go in the future (indeed, the Inuit people traditionally obtain all of their vitamin C from sea vegetables).

But will they make you cleverer?

One of the most important nutrients found in sea vegetables is iodine, which can be hard to obtain from other sources. In the past, the Celtic habit of both eating seaweed and spreading it on the land for fertiliser produced a diet particularly rich in iodine. According to some historians, this is one of the factors that lay behind the high number of great engineers to emerge from Scotland and Ireland in the 19th century – iodine, it seems, correlates pretty neatly with IQ!

Research in the UK suggests that we all – and particularly pregnant women – should increase our iodine intake, for overall health, as well as to give our unborn children a fighting chance on University Challenge.

The Japanese have some of the highest IQs in the world!


And if you don’t like seaweed, but still need to boost your iodine intake? Well, bananas, cod, prunes, Himalayan rock salt, haricot beans, tinned tuna and cranberries are also good sources!

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This post was written by Yzanne

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