Navigating the Confusing “Health Food” World

It can be confusing to work through all of the different opinions on what is truly a "healthy" diet, but these overarching principles really help me! Recipes pictured above: 3 Ingredient Teriyaki Chicken and Japanese Cucumber Salad

Have you ever felt confused about the food item in your hand because you’ve read so many conflicted reports on what is “truly” healthy? Life, in general, can be confusing when we’ve gotten the advice from too many people with differing opinions, and it’s no different with food choices. Many of us have read books, articles and blog posts with very diverse opinions on what it means to eat a healthy diet.

You’d think that at least vegetables would be free of controversy because everyone thinks vegetables are healthy, right? Wrong. Even vegetables can be criticized because truly nothing we eat gets a free pass by everyone. And there seems to be research supporting everyone’s viewpoints.

That’s frustrating. And it can make you either give up completely in trying to eat healthy, or fear food, neither of which are very good or freeing choices.

My goals for the food I serve and eat include these: The food should be delightful to the senses (even if it’s simple food). The food should promote health, not detract from it. I should feel good and thrive on it.

I freely admit that once you have specific health concerns that seem to be affected by the food you eat (whether that’s achy joints, stomachaches, eczema or ______, you fill in the blank), food choices become more complicated and what works for one person may not work for you.

I’m not going to make believe that I can solve all of these dilemmas in one blog post (as indeed, I still have many unanswered questions myself and am navigating some of the more complicated questions personally). But in an overall way, I’ve come up with some general principles that help me navigate this confusing “health food world” with it’s many conflicting opinions and research.

Steamed Artichokes with Three Dipping Sauces cover

Pictured above: Steamed Artichokes with 3 Dipping Sauces

Do I feel good eating this way?

This is so simple, yet it’s so important! Sometimes people can get so wrapped up in their mind and what “they believe to be true” that they ignore the very important signals their body is sending off to them. When your body is sending signals of distress after eating a certain way for a while (whether that’s vegan, hardcore paleo, or a mainstream American diet), you shouldn’t ignore them, regardless of what ideology you’ve bought into.

Part of nourishing the body is respecting it. And you can’t respect the body if you ignore it.

Does that mean you have to abandon entirely the type of diet you’ve chosen for yourself if you don’t feel well on it? Not necessarily, as sometimes it’s all about adjustment. Sometimes people on grain free diets just need to increase their carbs to feel amazing. Sometimes someone whose diet is very produce centered needs to increase fats and protein to feel great again.

But the point of our dietary choices is to help our bodies feel great so that we can enjoy life to it’s fullest. Those on healing diets may need to have patience and endurance to get there, but that’s the goal in the end.

Keeping that one question in mind has helped me navigate some of my food choices. For unexplained reasons I was experiencing very achy joints for a while, and cutting out certain foods helped relieve that pain. So I did. I read some interesting research indicating that we shouldn’t drink too much water and tried to cut down on how much water I drank, and just felt dehydrated and blah. I went back to drinking to thirst and ignoring the opinions of those who thought “I was doing it wrong”. We can read all of the research we want, but in the end, if our bodies don’t respond well to those dietary changes, we should listen to our bodies!

Greek Lemon Beef and Rice Lettuce Wraps! These only take 30 minutes to throw together and are made with nutrient dense ingredients. Plus, they are delicious, and the whole family can enjoy them.

Pictured above: Greek Lemon-y Beef and Rice

There is a place for picking a food philosophy

That doesn’t mean you should become a mess “listening to your body” and making drastic changes every time you sneeze. That would be utterly frustrating. There is a place for picking a food philosophy, and letting that guide you through the tangled web of opinions and research.

For example, in a broad sense, I have a food philosophy that food should be enjoyed and that the best foods to enjoy are those that are nutrient dense and traditionally valued. That’s why we choose to eat grassfed beef whenever possible, and add salmon roe to our sushi, take cod liver oil, and ferment our foods too. Because this food philosophy made sense to me, and then all of us feel good eating this way, I can more easily ignore the blaring and glaring headlines that tell me if we eat animal protein, we might as well be eating Twinkies.

Granted, we’ve had to make a lot of adjustments within that philosophy as we’ve discovered that half the family does really poorly with gluten and eggs, but it’s still within that framework that we’ve worked.

If you pick a dietary framework that makes sense to you, and your body seems to thrive on, it is a lot easier to ignore the competing opinions out there.

Cuban Picadillo Lettuce Wraps Slider

Pictured above: Cuban Picadillo Lettuce Wraps

Food should be enjoyed

This is something that needs to be repeated often. Food should be enjoyed. You should enjoy your food. Food should taste good. We should celebrate food. Food is a beautiful gift, and you should enjoy it. And I could go on.

When did healthy eating become equated with doing a penance? Or putting yourself through something grueling and horrible?

I know it can be hard to adjust to eating real food after a life eating and drinking industrial food. There can be a real sense to grieving when you leave junk food behind and it’s important to acknowledge that it can be really tough to change diets around.

But drudgery in eating is not the goal!

I truly believe that food is a gift from God, and when we make it into a meaningless task of tasteless food that has to be shoveled down, we are the ones missing out.

It’s true that I have to forgo on foods that I love and would enjoy eating because they bother me. But it’s also true that I choose to see the beauty in the food that I can have, and make that food delicious so that I can thoroughly enjoy it.

I know that’s a high ideal in the busyness of life (and hey, right now with a newborn, I’m happy just to keep food on the table that didn’t come from a can!), but it’s really what we should be aiming for. Enjoyment of food is not bad.

Let me repeat that. Enjoyment of food is not bad.

I think because our society values skinniness and has such an abhorrence of the idea of being a “glutton”, that we are afraid of talking about the enjoyment of food. It’s almost as if we think that if we admit we like food, and that people should like food, that everyone will go and gorge themselves on food all day and weigh 600 pounds by the end of the year. We describe delicious desserts as “sinful”, because we can’t imagine something that tastes good being “good for you”, and we can’t imagine that our desire to enjoy food is good either.

Sure, moderation is key to enjoying life in general and in our food choices too, but part of eating well is having a healthy appreciation of the gift of food.

So when evaluating our food choices, we should also question our attitude behind it. Are we trying to “punish” our bodies into health? Because that will never work. Instead, we should nurture and nourish our bodies through our diets with a healthy appreciation for the beautiful world of food.

Keeping these three things in mind has helped me navigate the big questions on how we choose to eat, even when it doesn’t always answer the specific, smaller questions. I hope they are helpful to you too!

Cheat Sheet Cover for optinIf you haven’t gotten it yet, check out my free gift to subscribers right now. My eBook, Cheatsheet to a Healthy Diet in 10 Easy Steps helps you eat beautiful, healthy food without overwhelming you. Get it here.

Healthy Hand Roll Sushi (Made the “Lazy Susan” Method)

This delightful and easy method of making sushi with healthy ingredients is delicious! Plus, it's both parent and kid-friendly. I love how everyone can pick out their own filling ingredients easily and be part of the creative process. -- The Nourishing Gourmet

These hand roll sushis have crispy nori, sweet teriyaki fish, gingery fish eggs, crisp cucumbers and tender avocado. They are very delicious, easy to make (as everyone makes their own), and full of nutrient dense ingredients!

My husband (who is a quarter Japanese-American) thought it very important to introduce me to the joys of sushi before we got married. I think that he was going to be a bit sad if I disliked it, but thankfully for both of us, I loved it! And now our children enjoy it as well. This is the method my mother-in-law used for making hand rolls and she called it “lazy Susan sushi” because everyone makes their own sushi! We like how the seaweed doesn’t soften at all, but stays crisp when made this way. Joel and I like that this method allows us to get dinner on the table much quicker than when we roll sushi.

Now, please note, that this isn’t “authentic” “traditional” sushi by any means. This is parent and child-friendly sushi. 😉 And I’m okay with that – especially in this season of life with three little people. But I’ve included a link for how to roll more authentic hand roll sushi too.

Easy Hand Rolls/Lazy Susan Method

This delightful and easy method of making sushi with healthy ingredients is delicious! Plus, it's both parent and kid-friendly. I love how everyone can pick out their own filling ingredients easily and be part of the creative process. -- The Nourishing GourmetThis couldn’t be easier. You provide nori squares, sushi rice, and a bunch of sushi filling options, and everyone makes their own sushi at the table. It’s delicious and fun! Of course, if you had a large lazy Susan, this would be the meal to use it at!

I find that having the kids involved in making their own sushi also helps them feel confident in trying new foods (because it’s not forced on them). For example, I noticed my four-year-old heaping salmon roe on her sushi the other day! Because she made the choice to try them out, and I wasn’t forcing her to put them on, she was willing to try it, found that she liked it, and then helped herself to plenty of it.

The benefits of roe (fish eggs)

It can be expensive to by fish eggs, though you may be surprised at how reasonable some brands are, but it’s worth the buy when you can manage it. Fish eggs are a great source of several important nutrients, including omega 3’s, vitamin D, and vitamin B12, and selenium. Many studies have found a connection between a healthy brain and mood and omega 3’s and vitamin B12’s, and vitamin D and selenium with a healthy immune system. Even the FDA is blogging about the benefits of seafood, including roe, for babies and children!

I recommend roe from wild salmon for both taste and nutritive value. Both fish roe and seaweed were traditionally highly valued for their health-promoting attributes – especially for young children and pregnant and nursing women.

Why we try to eat seaweed weekly

My doctor recommend that I try to eat more seaweed for the iodine (read more about the benefits of eating seaweed here), and this method of making sushi, along with this Nori and Sesame Seed sprinkle, is a pain-free and delicious way to enjoy it. I started a short series on seaweed right before my daughter was born, and am finally getting back to it with this post! (Thanks for being so patient with me!). I am going to be aiming for eating seaweed three times a week according to my doctor’s direction, but you should probably consult your own doctor before chowing down almost every other day on seaweed since there can be some contradictions with certain thyroid disorders.

I know some of my readers have expressed concerns about radiation issues and seaweed and seafood. I have been attempting to find a brand of nori sheets that for sure wouldn’t be affected by the Japanese meltdown, but it’s been the hardest one for me to source. Some choices that may be good include, nori sheets from China such as this brand or this brand. (I’d love some reader insight here. If you look at at world map, you see that China is right by Japan. How I understand the current is that the water from Japan is being pushed towards us on the west side of the U.S., so I would assume it wouldn’t be going back towards China. But please correct me if wrong.) Iceland was looking into making nori sheet for sushi, which would be ideal! But I haven’t found it on the market yet. The only nori I’ve been able to source that’s not from the Pacific so far has been nori not in sheets such as this one. If anyone has a source, please let us know in the comments!

This delightful and easy method of making sushi with healthy ingredients is delicious! Plus, it's both parent and kid-friendly. I love how everyone can pick out their own filling ingredients easily and be part of the creative process. -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Should you eat raw fish?

You will notice that I didn’t include raw fish in the below sushi ingredients. I do enjoy raw fish occasionally, but the possible risks of parasites is a little unnerving, especially as a friend had a lot of health issues after becoming infected with a parasite from raw fish in sushi. To cut down on the risks, it had been recommended to freeze seafood for 2 weeks before consuming it raw, however newer recommendations state that home freezers may not reach cold enough temperatures, so only commercially frozen seafood would be considered safe. If you enjoy raw fish, you may want to keep some of these guidelines in mind and use very high-quality fish. It’s really lovely to enjoy thinly sliced raw fish in these hand rolls, so feel free to add it! 

A couple notes on the ingredients:

  • Feel free to mix things up! We do. You can mix and match as many sushi filling ideas as you like!
  • If you can’t have rice or grain, check out this grain-free cauliflower rice. But if you have a lot of delicious fillings, I even enjoy simply making nori wraps without any rice at all.

This delightful and easy method of making sushi with healthy ingredients is delicious! Plus, it's both parent and kid-friendly. I love how everyone can pick out their own filling ingredients easily and be part of the creative process. -- The Nourishing Gourmet

Hand Roll Sushi (Lazy Susan Method)

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

  • Teriyaki Fish (see recipe below)
  • 1 jar of wild salmon roe (or fish eggs of choice)
  • Fresh ginger
  • Sushi rice (We often just salt our rice while it cooks instead of adding vinegar and a sweetener. Use sweetener of choice, if you do use.)
  • Squares of nori (a sheet of nori is cut into 4 equal squares)
  • Thin slices of peeled and seeded cucumber and avocado
  • Soy sauce or tamari (for gluten free), and wasabi for serving.

Directions:

1. Make teriyaki fish, and then slice or shred into small pieces (make sure all bones are removed), and make sushi rice.

2. Place the cucumber and avocado in bowls. Place the roe in a small bowl, and flavor with finely grated fresh ginger to taste. Cut nori into squares (four squares per sheet) and place on a plate.

3. Put all ingredients on the table with serving spoons and allow everyone to serve ingredients onto their plates to make their own hand rolls. Hand rolls can be made like this, the “right” way, or simply folded over as pictured above.

This easy and yummy teriyaki fish is perfect for a cooked fish filling for sushi! Very kid friendly too. --- The Nourishing Gourmet

Teriyaki Fish

This is the same simple teriyaki sauce as used in my teriyaki chicken. It’s so simple and delicious. I have been using Norwegian mackerel for this recipe, but you can use whatever fish you’d like. Salmon or black cod would be delicious too.

  • ¼ cup of coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
  • ½ cup organic tamari sauce (for gluten free) or organic soy sauce
  • 1 pound of fish fillets of choice (see note above)

1. Mix the sweetener and tamari sauce together and pour over the fish fillets in an oven proof pan. Let marinate for 20 minutes to 2 hours (the longer you marinate, the more pronounced the teriyaki flavor will be.

2. Preheat the oven to 275F, and then cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the fish is done.

3. Skin, and thinly slice or shred for sushi.

Healthy Hand Roll Sushi (Made the “Lazy Susan” Method)
 
 
Ingredients
  • Teriyaki Fish (see recipe below)
  • 1 jar of wild salmon roe (or fish eggs of choice)
  • Fresh ginger
  • Sushi rice (We often just salt our rice while it cooks instead of adding vinegar and a sweetener. Use sweetener of choice, if you do use.)
  • Squares of nori (a sheet of nori is cut into 4 equal squares)
  • Thin slices of peeled and seeded cucumber and avocado
  • Soy sauce or tamari, and wasabi for serving.
Instructions
  1. Make teriyaki fish, and then slice or shred into small pieces (make sure all bones are removed), and make sushi rice.
  2. Place the cucumber and avocado in bowls. Place the roe in a small bowl, and flavor with finely grated fresh ginger to taste. Cut nori into squares (four squares per sheet) and place on a plate.
  3. Put all ingredients on the table with serving spoons and allow everyone to serve ingredients onto their plates to make their own hand rolls.
  4. Hand rolls can be made like this, the “right” way, or simply folded over as pictured above.

Healthy Hand Roll Sushi (Made the “Lazy Susan” Method)
 
 
This is the same simple teriyaki sauce as my teriyaki chicken. It’s so simple and delicious. I have been using Norwegian mackerel for this recipe, but you can use whatever fish you’d like. Salmon or black cod would be delicious too.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup of coconut sugar or sweetener of choice
  • ½ cup organic tamari sauce (for gluten free) or organic soy sauce
  • 1 pound of fish fillets of choice (see note above)
Instructions
  1. Mix the sweetener and tamari sauce together and pour over the fish filets in an oven proof pan. Let marinate for 20 minutes to 2 hours (the longer you marinate, the more pronounced the teriyaki flavor fill be. Preheat the oven to 275F, and then cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the fish is done.
  2. Skin, and thinly slice or shred for sushi.

 

Healthy Pregnancies: Looking at Epigenetics and the Difference a Healthy Lifestyle Makes

Healthy Pregnancies: Looking at Epigenetics and a Healthy Lifestyle

Friends, fellow blogger Lee from the website, Well Fed Family, is sharing an important message with us today about how the study of epigenetics is showing that our lifestyle choices can indeed make a difference in the health of our pregnancies and the future of our children. This is great news!  As someone who has lost a baby to a birth defect, I think it’s also important to say that this information is not shared to create parental guilt, but rather to give hope that our choices matter. If you have dealt with childhood illness, or the death of a child, you may want to read my post, When a Healthy Diet Doesn’t Translate into a Healthy Baby.

I hope that this post from Lee encourages us that while we can’t control everything and every outcome, that our choices and lifestyle decisions do play a crucial role in the health of the next generations.- Kimi 

By Lee, From TheWellFedFamily

What if it were possible to press a genetic reset button? To wipe away something that has been plaguing generations of your family. To give your children and grandchildren a fresh new future. The key to finding this genetic reset button lies within the science of epigenetics, and then the application of some timeless wisdom.

This article is possibly one of the most exciting for me to write because this topic melds two fields about which I am passionate; these fields intrigue me and make me want to learn more and more and more. The first is the cutting edge field of science called epigenetics, and the second is the historically significant field of ancestral diets. “Cutting edge science combined with dusty old diet studies from 100 years ago or more? How can this possibly excite?” you ask. Well because when you link the new information with the old you have the ability to radically change families, to help parents give their children AND grandchildren the best health possible, in some cases to even save lives.

From two words – “epi” meaning above or on top of, and “genetics” or the study of our genes – epigenetics studies the many layers of chemical signals and switches able to activate, silence or crank up our genes. What many people don’t realize is that just because you have inherited the genes for something doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen. Many genes stay dormant or asleep until something in their environment flips the switch that turns them on. As British writer David Derbyshire explains, “[Epigenetics] is where nature bumps into nurture.”

Dr. Bruce Lipton, considered by many to be the founding father of epigenetics, verifies we now have research showing it is absolutely possible for lifestyle choices and our environment to profoundly affect our genes without actually changing their basic blueprint. Meaning we can control and modify our genes by what we do, eat, breathe, where we live and even what we think. Amazingly these “above genetic” influences can actually be passed from generation to generation.

Although the field of epigenetics is still relatively new there are already real life applications to be made. One thing we know for certain is that there are definite periods during growth and development that are particularly sensitive to these outside influences on our genes. Furthermore the things that happen during these sensitive times are powerful enough to continue influencing our cells throughout their lifespan and beyond as they multiply, grow and make more cells. Nowhere is this more true than with the creation of a new life.

The first sensitive period is during the development of germ cells. If you recall your high school biology, germ cells are types of cells involved in reproduction, the two most well-known being the sperm and the egg. The second extremely sensitive period is during the first five to seven weeks following conception when everything about this tiny life is brand new and full of promise and potential.

Conception and following

Let’s examine the second period first. From the moment of conception the two parent cells fuse and combine into a tiny ball of life and energy growing at amazing speed. It is during this time that old epigenetic information, including baggage epigenetic information inherited from mom and dad, can be removed. Here is that window of opportunity – that reset button! But at the same time this microscopic person is extremely vulnerable to environmental damage. Looking at it optimistically, however, this means this little person is extremely open to positive and protective influences as well.

Parents who take time prior to conception to become as healthy as possible, optimizing their gut flora, cleaning up their diet and eliminating unhealthy habits are setting the stage for positive epigenetic support. Lifestyle changes which reduce or eliminate exposure to both dietary and environmental toxins as well as stress are also particularly powerful.

Germ cells

Depending on whether the baby is a boy or a girl determines when the germ cells, the reproductive cells, begin to develop.

With boys the sperm lie in wait until puberty when they are then able to mature, and from puberty onward new sperm cells continue to be made giving males the gift of being able to make constructive lifestyle choices (including diet) that positively affect each new generation of cells.

With girls, however, these germ cells begin forming even while the baby girl is still within her own mother’s womb. This places mothers of baby girls in the unique situation of having three generations – herself, her daughter and her grandchildren – under the influence of her personal environment and lifestyle choices. How many of us realize this when we are pregnant?

So now that we know all of this, what does this mean? What can we do?

Every choice we make is important – from the time we reach an age of fertility through to the conception, birth and the entire upbringing of our children. Our choices determine not only our children’s health but that of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We hold impressive power for health or disease. If you, or someone in your care, is of childbearing age then begin right now to nourish their bodies and nurture a healthy lifestyle.

Someone once said that the seeds of adult disease are sown in the womb and the first two years of life. I would amend that epigenetics shows us the seeds of disease are sown in the lifestyle choices of our parents as well. You see, a baby is not nourished simply from whatever momma eats once she learns she is pregnant. There are many crucial nutrients needed by baby that come from reserves momma has built up in her body in the years before conception. And not only mothers, but epigenetic studies prove that the lifestyle choices (such as smoking) by the fathers, even before they reached adolescence, can affect their children’s life chances.

This is where respecting the wisdom of traditional cultures, and learning from their lessons becomes a valuable part of this puzzle. Studies of healthy traditional cultures done by Dr. Weston Price  show that these cultures knew to give special care to those of childbearing age to insure continued generations of healthy children. Just as the seeds of adult disease are sown in the womb, so are the seeds for lifelong good health. Giving purposeful, thoughtful preparation for parenthood should be more important than the kind of detailed planning frequently given to the wedding day. The wedding may be expensive, but it only lasts a day. Children are yours for a lifetime.

(I am not a doctor or health care provider, and the above and below are offered for educational purposes only.)

What we can do:

Sources:
Coursera – epigenetic control of gene expression by Dr. Marnie Blewitt, University of Melbourne https://www.coursera.org/course/epigenetics
(Lipton, Bruce, PhD. The Biology of Belief. p 67-68. CA:Mountain of Love/Elite Books, 2005.)
http://www.germlineexposures.org/germline-development.html

Lee headshot2Lee holds a Masters in Music Education from Florida State and was a band director in her past life. Married to her college sweetheart for over 27 years, she has been homeschooling their two children for the last 9 years. A lifelong foodie, her real food journey got a kickstart when her sister took her to hear Sally Fallon speak on Nourishing Traditional Foods in 2007. Together with her sister, she produced a DVD on making nourishing traditional breads using the soaked flour method. Today Lee is co-leader of her local WAPF chapter, and teaches about real food and alternative health topics to her local community. She is busy pulling out the shrubs from her home in the suburbs of Orlando and replacing them with edible landscaping. She also blogs at Well Fed Family, shares videos on the Well Fed Family YouTube channel, and interacts on all the usual social media networks: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

4 Reasons You Should Eat Seaweed

Seaweed can add so much flavor and depth to dishes, plus it is a great source of iodine and other nutrients! Learn 4 reasons why you should eat seaweed here.

Eating seaweed was something I heard a lot of jokes about in high school. It was viewed as kind of the ultimate dorky health food that “no one” could ever like. That’s changed in recent days because people have finally realized how delicious and beautiful Asian food is, and many traditional Asian dishes contain seaweed. Our sushi obsession has helped changed our mind as well.

Besides being delicious, it turns out that seaweed is a wonderful healthy food to include in your diet! My doctor recommended that I eat seaweed three times a week for health reasons, and I have failed in meeting that goal. So one of my recent pushes for myself was to start making a lot more dishes (for the benefit of the whole family!) on a regular basis that use seaweed in a delicious way.

But I’m not the only one that may benefit from seaweed! Here are four reasons you may want to join me in eating more seaweed!

Seaweed is delicious

From a culinary perspective, what would sushi be without nori, or what would miso soup be without wakame? So many Asian dishes get part of their scrumptious flavor from seaweed. My husband is half Japanese-American, and he has introduced me to Asian cooking that goes far beyond Americanized “Chinese take out”. As I have slowly worked at learning how to use a variety of seaweeds in dishes, I’ve learned there are many ways to enjoy it. So reason number one? It makes your Asian food more authentic and taste great as well.

Dr. Price noted the traditional consumption of it

In his book, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, Dr. Price noted that those consuming a traditional diet who lived far away from the sea often went to extra-ordinary lengths to get seaweed. It was considered a very important food for maintaining health. For those of us who try to take cues from a nutrient dense diet based on traditional foods, adding in seaweed makes a lot of sense for us. This is especially true because many of us don’t eat iodized salt, but prefer unrefined salts that only have very minute amounts of iodine (if any, depending on the salt).

Traditionally, seaweed based soups and foods were given to the ailing, the pregnant, and the nursing mother.

Seaweed is a source of iodine and other nutrients

The reason seaweed was recommended to me was because it is a great source of iodine, and my levels were a little on the low side. Iodine is a crucial nutrient for us to get, and there is a lot of interesting research on the possible health benefits of iodine. It is also a source of vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B2, vitamin A, copper, pantothenic acid, potassium, iron, zinc, vitamin B6, niacin, phosphorus, and vitamin B1, and it contains protein as well.

The Weston A Price Foundation has a fascinating article on iodine’s possible health benefits that you may find helpful. They begin with this, “Iodine is critical to human health. It forms the basis of thyroid hormones and plays many other roles in human biochemistry. While the thyroid gland contains the body’s highest concentration of iodine, the salivary glands, brain, cerebrospinal fluid, gastric mucosea, breasts, ovaries and a part of the eye also concentrate iodine. In the brain, iodine is found in the choroid plexus, the area on the ventricles of the brain where cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced, and in the substantia nigra, an area associated with Parkinson’s disease.”

Current research on the benefits of seaweed is encouraging

Take a peek at some of the research out there showing promise for the benefits of including seaweed in your diet.

Sea vegetables and lower blood pressure: “A 2011 study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reviewed 100 studies on the health benefits of seaweed and reported that some of the proteins in seaweed could serve as better sources of bioactive peptides than those in milk products. These reduce blood pressure, and boost heart health.” Times 

Seaweed and breast cancer: There is a lot of research on this topic as scientists attempt to figure out why Japanese women have such lower rates of breast cancer. Could seaweed consumption be part of the reason they have lower rates? Here are just two of many studies on the topic:

Seaweed May Improve Heart Health: Not surprising if it helps lower blood pressure, seaweed may be a heart protective food.

And those are just a few of the many, many studies out there. There is a reason that many call seaweed a “superfood”! Because of my new push to include seaweed in our diet more consistently, expect to see some dishes including seaweed in them soon.

And if anyone has a favorite recipe using seaweed, I’d love to hear about it!