Nutrition Corner: Seaweed's Role in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Have you noticed that during the summer you may feel more irritable during the day and experience more insomnia at night? In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer is the season associated with the element of Fire and the heart organ. When the heart is balanced, the mind is calm and restful sleep follows.

In Chinese medicine, seaweed is considered to be salty and cold, and is recommended to clear heat and disperse accumulation, reducing irritability as well as insomnia.

There are many types of edible seaweed derived from marine algae, most of them regarded as a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, essential aminos acids and omega-3 fatty acids. Some are used in Asian cooking, while others are used as additives in food processing. In Chinese medicine, eating seaweed is recommended to reduce inflammation, detoxify the blood, increase energy, maintain strong bones and teeth, support thyroid function and hormonal balance, and even reduce the risk of cancer.

There are many ways to eat seaweed, but I suggest you simply add a few pieces of seaweed to any savory soup, stew or pot of beans. You can find a variety of recipes using seaweed in Korean, Chinese and Japanese cookbooks. Adding some to your meals will help your body and mind stay cooler and lighter this summer!