Tuesday, April 7, 2009
From the Depths of the Sea comes KOMBU!!
I told my friend that I started eating seaweeds.
"Seaweeds?" She exclaimed, "Why are you eating weeds?!"
Next time, I'll say sea vegetables!
Japanese cultures have been consuming sea vegetables for over 10,000 years. And Japan, today, stands as the major producer and exporter of sea veggies. Since ancient times, other countries near waters have used them, like Scotland, Ireland, the Pacific Islands.
Sea veggies are actually algae, growing in the water in coral reefs or rocky landscapes. There are many kinds, (kelp/kombu, nori, hijiki, etc) and they offer a broad range of minerals: iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid.
They also offer a range of health benefits: The phytonutrients protect against cancer; the folic acid prevents colon cancer and prevents birth defects in babies; the magnesium reduces high blood pressure and heart attacks; Magnesium also helps prevent migraine headaches and reduce the severity of asthma attacks. etc. etc.
I like throwing kombu into my soups. Kombu, a brown algae, takes atleast 20 minutes to cook, and why not add some vitamineral punch in my meals? It comes in dried strips and is usu. put under running water/soaked until soft. And then add it in the pot to cook.
It can have a strong taste. If it's too much, the soaking in water for a bit will do the trick.
Later, with bowl of carrot/kombu soup in hand, I know I'm eating well! This I like...
FYI: Apparently, kombu is a tenderizer and can help beans cook faster.
A word of caution: Sea vegetables are like sponges in the sea. That is why they contain so many minerals. So, if the water is polluted with heavy metals, like arsenic, the sea veggies will take it all right in...
Hijiki has been found to be the most high risk for arsenic. (Unless you get organic certified)
Whfoods reports: The levels of arsenic found in other types of sea vegetable have been relatively small.
That's good news.
As with anything new, start slowly. See which kind is appealling. Be moderate.
Eating sea vegetables can be a different and new, yet old way of fishing up much needed vitaminerals!