You might not have heard of iodine and for many people, it’s not first on their list when thinking about nutrients in their food. In fact, the first thing you think of when someone mentions iodine is probably that it’s a really effective way to treat wounds! But the truth is, iodine is also an essential element of your diet, aiding in the production of thyroid hormones. Your thyroid hormones are vital for your metabolic rate, and healthy cells throughout your entire body. Iodine deficiency essentially equates to thyroid hormone deficiency, which will leave you feeling utterly pants (that’s the technical term). Iodine deficiency is a relatively recent development in the UK, but it is now a growing problem.
The crux of the issue where iodine is concerned is that soils around the globe are becoming increasingly deficient in iodine. As a result, fruits and veggies imported into this country are lacking this vital nutrient. But don’t rush out for supplements just yet. Seaweed is still super rich in iodine and a great way to include iodine in your daily diet.
You may be cringing at the thought of eating seaweed, but it’s actually delicious, and there are loads of simple, heavenly ways to enjoy it…
A delicious and super healthy option, sushi is a great way to add a little seaweed to your meal. One word of caution, as sushi contains raw fish, you should always take care to get it from a reputable seller due to the high risk of parasites. If you’re making it yourself with raw fish then please, please seek out sushi grade fish in your area. If you’re worried about parasites, check our our Tummy Troubles packages, and my recent blog post about parasites.
These are a marvelous alternative to tortilla wraps, and can be found in the Asian or Free From sections of your supermarket. They have a deliciously savoury, and slightly salty taste, and are a fantastic way to jazz up an otherwise uninspiring chicken and veg salad.
This is one of my favourite treats! Furikake is a mixture of different types of seaweed and sesame seeds, ground up and presented in a jar or bottle. It’s perfect for adding a yummy twist to your salads that’s both delicious and dense in nutrients.
Seaweed thins are made from mini-sheets of Nori that have been toasted in olive oil, and seasoned with sea salt for an extra flavour kick. There are various types available, and in our house we’re particularly fond of Itsu and Clearspring. Seaweed thins are an absolutely delicious treat, and I often buy them instead of crisps!
Sea Spaghetti by Atlantic Kitchen
This is a seriously tasty alternative to pasta and spaghetti. Not only does it taste great, and give you a hit of seaweed, it’s also a great pasta substitute for anyone on a wheat or gluten free diet.
This is the perfect addition when cooking dried beans. The infusion adds a rich array of vitamins and minerals to your dish, while enhancing its flavour. It even makes it easier to digest your beans – win, win!
Spirulina is a powdered seaweed that does a lot more than provide that essential iodine. It’s also a fabulous and completely natural source of protein; the perfect addition for smoothies, especially if you’re looking for a pre-workout boost. Health coaches go berserk for this stuff, simply add a teaspoon to your favourite smoothie. If you’re looking for inspiration, it’s particularly delicious with banana, pineapple and avocado. Once you’re used to it you can adjust the amount until it’s perfect.
If you’ve ever found yourself reaching for the salt and pepper and longing for something more, this is it! You can find seaweed flakes at Asian markets, and in health food stores, or make your own by grinding a mixture of kombu, nori, sesame seeds, dulse, and a dash of sea salt and black pepper. Use it just as you would salt or pepper!
Last but by no means least, kelp is a great addition to any liquid-based savory dish, including stews and soups. You can even use it to cook up your own delicious and thoroughly nutritious stock.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy seaweed? Comment below, I’d love to know how you’re all eating it!