Every year, superfood suppliers notice a distinct trend in the types of foods that become popular for their nutritional density and purported benefits, and this year, all signs point to people looking for answers on the seabed.
According to Pinterest’s predictions, the so-called “Vitamin Sea” will rise from the ocean floor and become the next big family of superfoods to see a huge amount of popularity.
To understand why this is, we need to look at these undersea superfoods, the history of their use, and try to understand why now is the time for them to increase in popularity again.
- What Even Is Vitamin Sea?
Vitamin Sea is a catch-all term for a range of underwater greens and vegetables. The most common and notable one is seaweed, but it also includes the edible kelp Kombu, sea moss, algae and seaweed-derived foods such as nori and dulse.
What makes them popular as nutrient-rich superfoods is that they contain a lot of iodine, vitamins and compounds that are believed to have antioxidant properties and help with the functioning of many organ systems, with the thyroid, in particular, seeing specific benefits.
Seaweeds inherently soak up huge amounts of minerals, which means that certain species can pack a lot of mineral benefits into an exceptionally tiny package.
They are also seen as a way to add a salty, umami taste to a dish without a reliance on meat or added salt.
- Where Did It Come From?
Of course, seaweed is absolutely not a new culinary discovery and has been used in East Asian cuisine for millennia in a variety of different guises.
Nori, the thin, even seaweed sheets, are so popular and mainstream in places such as japan that they are commonly used as the cases for sushi rolls and can even be found in dry form in packets of instant noodles as a way to add instant texture and umami to ramen.
It has seen a revival countless times, most prominently for people practising vegetarian and vegan diets, as it provided protein, iodine and amino acids, as well as a distinct umami taste that could sometimes be lacking in earlier popular vegan diets.
Outside of health reasons, Vitamin Sea has a range of unique tastes and so has seen popularity as an alternate healthy green that can either be the centrepiece of a dish or fundamentally change its taste, as well as one that could easily be added to shakes, smoothies and juices.
- Is Vitamin Sea For Everyone?
The key point to bear in mind for many superfoods is that they are a great addition to a balanced diet and not a panacea in their own right, and as a result of this, there are certain people who should consult their GP before adding significant amounts to their diet.
The key reason for this is the levels of iodine, which is a beneficial and necessary part of many people’s diets but can be a problem for some people if they consume too much.
Similarly, be wary of seaweed if you are on blood-thinning medication or medication which raises potassium levels.