FeaturesJune/July 2014 Issue

Sea Vegetables

Sea Vegetables

These ocean plants are swimming with flavor and nutrients

While we might not blink while eating sushi rolls neatly bundled in a nori seaweed wrapper, the idea of eating vegetables from the ocean can strike us as strange. Yet sea vegetables are rich in nutrients and health benefits, as well as in savory flavor. From arame to wakame, there are over 11,500 different types of sea vegetables, also called seaweed or sea algae. The unique taste of sea vegetables falls into a category of flavors called umami, a Japanese word for the savory fifth taste (along with sweet, sour, bitter and salty). Translated, it means “delicious.” Umami foods contain high levels of naturally occurring glutamate, an amino acid found in protein-containing foods that’s vital for healthy metabolism and brain function. Glutamate helps produce the savory flavor in foods.

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