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Why You Should Prioritize Sea Veggies In Your Diet Right Now

Image by Martí Sans / Stocksy
Last updated on November 2, 2020

With cold and flu season upon us—in the midst of a pandemic, no less—prioritizing a healthy diet is perhaps more important than ever. While you may be loading up on a variety of produce, there's one nutritious food that may not be part of your usual diet (but should be): sea vegetables.

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Why sea veggies are vital for your diet

If you're looking to optimize your nutrient levels, registered nutritionist and dietitian Nour Zibdeh, M.S., RDN, recommends opting for sea veggies. While you may not see these as frequently as other veggies, they do come in dehydrated and powdered versions, as found in mindbodygreen's organic veggies+.

"Sea vegetables are a great addition to a healthy diet," registered dietitian Abby Cannon, J.D., R.D., CDN, says. The veggie variety, which includes kelp, nori, spirulina, chlorella, and kombu—to name a few—is rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, copper, manganese, folate, zinc, sodium, calcium, and magnesium. 

What's more, sea vegetables provide antioxidants, like vitamins A, C, E and beta-carotene, according to doctor of pharmacology Lauren Tanabe, Ph.D. Seaweed, in particular, has more dietary fiber1 than most fruits and vegetables, which helps promote healthy digestion.* Plus, it contains natural prebiotics, to feed the good bacteria in your gut.*

What makes these hard-to-find veggies especially unique is the fact that they're a plant-based source of omega-3 fatty acids2.(FYI: The reason fatty fish contain so many omega-3s is due to their algae diet3.) Omega-3s help support cardiovascular health, enhance cognitive functioning, and aid with chronic inflammation—just to name a few benefits.* However, if you're a vegetarian or vegan, omega-3s can be somewhat challenging to come by, which is why sea veggies are a great option.

Plus, algae such as spirulina and chlorella4 can also help support the body's natural detoxification process.* In some animal studies, these sea veggies were able to reduce heavy metal levels, such as lead.* 

For a double dose of goodness, you can also look for greens blends with classic greens, like spinach, kale, and broccoli, along with sea veggies like in mindbodygreen's organic veggies+.

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How to eat sea veggies. 

"You can rehydrate sea veggies and add them to stir-fries," Zibdeh suggests, "or cook them with garlic, onion, ginger, and lemon." 

If you're using a veggie powder, Cannon suggests "mixing them into a smoothie with bananas or dates." You can also use it as a topping for your favorite snacks, like popcorn.

Craving something sweet? Whip up zucchini bread or pumpkin spice cookies with sea veggies for a nutritious dessert.