Our fascination with getting more greens into our diet continues to grow, along with our search for healthier and more sustainable food options. The Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA) named sea vegetables as one of the top natural health trends of 2016 — but it looks like they’ll be more than just a trend. The unwavering momentum shows that sea vegetables have lasting power to become an important part of our daily lives.
If you’re new to these greens, here’s the lowdown on three of the most popular ones — spirulina, nori, and chlorella — and why they’re being hailed as the newest superfoods, plus how you can easily add them to your daily routine for an extra healthy punch.
This proves to be the most popular choice of sea greens. In the past year, we’ve seen spirulina added to the aisles of natural health stores across the country in a variety of forms. This dried, blue-green algae, grown naturally in the ocean and some subtropical lakes, can be found in organic powder form, supplements, and even in snacks like dark chocolate (which is already rich in antioxidants), making spirulina an extremely versatile ingredient.
Spirulina is high in B-vitamins, specifically riboflavin (vitamin B2), which is essential in helping your body produce red blood cells, turning carbohydrates into fuel, and metabolizing fats and protein. Spirulina is also a source of C-phycocyanin, a powerful liver detoxifier that helps increase your liver’s ability to break down and remove toxins from the body. An easy way to get more spirulina in your diet is by adding it to your morning smoothie.
If you’ve ever gone out for sushi, you’ll know what this one is. Nori is the name for this particular type of seaweed (which is actually a type of red seaweed, but has a green appearance). While nori is a staple in Japanese and other East Asian cuisines, we’re finding more and more uses for this delicious snack.
Nori contains many beneficial vitamins and minerals, such as calcium, folic acid, fibre and magnesium. Not only that, but it’s rich in iodine, which creates thyroid hormones that help in the regulating of our weight and metabolism, as well as in the enhancing of our growth, development and energy. You can get nori cut up in small pieces in convenient snack packs, or in larger sheets that you can crumple up and sprinkle on your salad.
Chlorella is also a green algae that’s typically grown in Asian countries like Taiwan and Japan, and is available in powder and supplement forms. Similar to spirulina in more than just colour, chlorella contains all the essential amino acids and is high in protein.
Chlorella is an excellent vegan source of iron and the form of vitamin B12 that can be absorbed well by your body. Both of these essential nutrients aid in the production of hemoglobin in your red blood cells, which helps to ensure that these cells — and your body — receive enough oxygen. The best part is that you can experiment. Try it in a supplement, in powder form in your shake, or in a homemade salad dressing.
These greens may not be new, but they’ve never been more easily accessible than they are now. Visit chfa.ca to find your nearest natural health retailer and discover how these supplements can help you. – NC