The Japanese hold the stake for one of the longest life expectancies on the planet, with studies linking diet as directly attributable to this impressive record. It’s interesting to learn that the intake of iodine from seaweed products in Japan, is grouped with the highest intakes of iodine globally.
Seaweed has the ability to absorb many minerals from the ocean, with almost 40% of its total dry weight containing minerals and nutrients. Seaweed is a great source of iron, manganese, zinc and copper. It’s also a rich source of vitamin A, B12 and C.
Seaweed is not only used extensively across the Japanese diet, but also medicinally to help treat a variety of ailments. It helps to clear phlegm in the throat, reduce edema (water retention) and is often used to treat thyroid issues. In particular, a swollen thyroid has been recognized as a sign of iodine deficiency.
Seaweed also contains selenium, which is another mineral that assists in hormone production and promote healthy function of the thyroid. The thyroid gland needs iodine for a balanced TH hormone production. Without a proper iodine intake, you can develop hypothyroidism (slow function of the gland) or goiter (and enlargement of the gland to make up for the low hormone production).
It’s important to take care of any thyroid issues early on, as it’s an incredibly important gland. It’s intricately linked to the function of all cells within the body, to the way we age, the muscle and brain function and even keeping your body at the correct temperature.
Given seaweed’s high nutrient content, it helps to banish disease within the body and boost immunity. Seaweed contains healthy omega-3 fats, which go a long way in reducing inflammation and boosting brain health. As inflammation is at the heart of many modern-day diseases, seaweed plays an important role throughout your diet.
For all of us not living in an Asian country or having grown up around an Asian culture, I would say that including more seaweed into your diet is a habit you need to form, as traditionally you would consume more Westernized dishes each day.
I think there were occasions where I’ve even had to make a note to self, and stick it up somewhere around the kitchen to remind myself to consume more seaweed-based dishes!
The nori seaweed used to wrap sushi doesn’t really contain a very high intake of minerals. That’s why this soup will be sure to offer a high potency of the many minerals stolen from the ocean!
- 2 cups purified water
- 1 tbsp light soy sauce
- 2 oz dried seaweed (wakame or kelp) soaked into purified water for 1 hour
- ½ cup firm tofu, cut into cubes
- 1 inch ginger piece, peeled and cut into thin slices
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 5 scallions, finely diced
- Diced scallions, to garnish
- Drain the seaweed and preserve the water. Add their water into a medium soup pot, together with the 2 cups purified water, ginger and scallions, and bring to boil over medium heat.
- Reduce the heat to low and add the ginger, garlic and drained seaweed. Cover with a lid and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In a non-stick skillet heat the sesame oil and add the tofu cubes. Fry for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until golden.
- Turn off the heat for the soup, and add soy sauce, garlic, tofu and freshly ground black pepper.
- Divide into serving bowls, garnish with diced scallions and serve warm.