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Sea Vegetables, Part 2

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Vegetables and Vegetarian Foods

Winter Volume: 2015 Issue: 22(4) page(s): 37

In the last issue, we once again discussed these vegetables of the sea. They were previously discussed in Volume 8(3), and that issue also had several sea vegetable recipes.

We did receive many kudos and a number of complaints about these ancient Chinese vegetables dried and wet again many times as a means of collecting their salt. They used what was evaporated that had many minerals often used for healing. One of the larger sets of complaints was not advising that many sea vegetables can have arsenic in them. We failed to mention that. Readers suggested only purchasing those certified organic.

These marine algae known as seaweeds and sea vegetables do fall into three categories. These are known by their colors, namely blue-green, brown, and red. Ancient Chinese did use the ashes, as did the Vikings, Aztecs, and other earlier peoples. Modern science confirms the efficacy of many of them as fine treatments for many ailments including swellings, circulatory and feminine ailments, even for seasickness. The Scripps Oceanographic Institute adds hay fever to this list. They have higher levels of vitamins A and D, more than amounts found in most cod liver oils.

Chinese farmers fertilize their sweet potatoes, coffee, coconuts, and peanuts with them, and they cook with them, too. In the United States, there is growing interest in their use instead of using pesticides. However, there is also interest in the fact that some have amounts of arsenic that is troubling when used in foods or facials. Recent tests say they are there. We suggest you check into that and that you purchase yours 'certified organic' from places such as Maine Coast Sea Vegetables. They and other sources are certified organic, and they are minimally processed, soy-free, dairy-free, gluten-free, and GMO-free. Furthermore, when tested for nutrients, they have 'excellent' or 'very good' ratings for iodine, vitamins A, B2, and C, manganese, and copper, and a 'good' rating for most other nutrients.

Readers wrote we should have advised that sea vegetables may be a better source of bio-available iron than previously thought, and a unique source not only of iodine, but also of vanadium and many enzymes. They said to tell readers these sea vegetables may help the body's sensitivity to insulin, are documented anti-inflammatory for osteoarthritis, have valuable cardiovascular benefits, and lower estrogen-related cancers including breast cancer, and more.

One suggestion included using ground sea vegetables on the dinner table instead of salt when seasoning ones foods. They need no cooking, offer the broadest range of minerals, have anticoagulant and anti-thrombotic benefits, and they have less cholesterol.

Thank you readers for wanting to educate us about the thousands of sea vegetables whose history in ancient Chinese culture was long and suitable for honored guests and royalty. One last thing, keep your sea vegetables in tightly sealed containers. they will keep for months, need no cooking, just five minutes of soaking, and they provide many benefits.

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