Hypothyroidism is an illness that usually affects women over the age of 50, but can also appear after giving birth. It brings with it symptoms that can affect one’s quality of life and even the physical appearance of those who suffer from it.
In this article we will explain some of the many benefits of seaweed, and particularly how it can help you thanks to its iodine content and other minerals. We will also provide some suggestions so you can discover how easy and fun it is to cook with seaweed.
What is hypothyroidism?
The most common symptoms are the following:
- Tiredness and exhaustion.
- Muscle weakness.
- Feeling cold.
- Increase or decrease of weight without an apparent cause.
- Double chin in thin people.
- Hair loss.
- Pale or yellowish face.
- Fluid retention.
- Extremely dry skin.
- Lack of hair on the outer ends of the eyebrows.
What is the cause?
The most common causes of this disease are the following:
- Different types of thyroiditis.
- Birth defects.
- Radiation therapy on the neck.
- Anti-thyroid medication.
- Treatment with lithium.
- Chronic iodine deficiency.
Seaweed is still relatively unknown in the culinary world, despite being a medicinal food that also allows for numerous uses in our dishes.
Most people who do not use seaweed admit that it is because they do not know how to cook with it. However, adding seaweed to our dishes is much simpler than it seems and it can also add an original touch to our everyday recipes.
Thanks to Japanese cooking, seaweed has been introduced into our kitchens. Also vegetarian and macrobiotic diets add them to our menus in order to significantly increase the amount of minerals, including iodine, which is usually very deficient in people with hypothyroidism.
Before using these recommendations, it is very important to note that seaweed should always be ecological or with the guarantee that it does not contain toxic substances.
How can we use seaweed?
Every seaweed type has different usage instructions according to its unique characteristics. The more delicate kind you only need to soak for a few minutes, while the thicker, stronger kind should be cooked for up to 30 or 40 minutes.
Below we will provide a few suggestions:
- Nori: This seaweed is used in very thin sheets for making sushi. Simply moisten it and use it to wrap rice or any stuffing you choose.
- Kombu: A piece of kombu in our vegetable stews will make it easier to soften and will improve digestion.
- Wakame: If we add a little wakame while cooking creamed vegetables, it will add creaminess when you blend it, letting you replace the potato or cheese.
- Sea spaghetti: Ideal with pasta or rice.
- Dulse: These need almost no cooking, so it is very suitable for quick soups, sauces and vinaigrettes or salads.
On the other hand, there are two very beneficial seaweeds that we recommend you use as a supplemental form:
Always use under medical supervision.
Another option to consume seaweed daily is to prepare a salt made from seaweed, which will help increase the flavor of your foods.
- To make it, you must grind sea salt and whichever seaweed you choose, mix them well and keep them in a glass bottle with a tight lid. You can also add a few aromatic plants.
- The salt will act as a preservative.
You can use it the same way you would normal salt when cooking, in soup, stew, etc.
We suggest making this salt with kelp seaweed, since it is very rich in iodine and widely used in prepared salts which are sold as dietary salts.
Foods which are best avoided
Along with the consumption of seaweed, we should limit or avoid eating foods that, although for many people are healthy, are not beneficial for those suffering from hypothyroidism because they block the absorption of iodine:
- Cruciferous vegetables: cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli and cabbage.
Also every type of processed or refined food is prejudicial to your health, just as tap water is. Choose instead spring or mineral water.
Images courtesy of Jacqueline and Michel Kappel.