A healthy soup to start the year….Seaweed Soup. I remember eating lots of this when I was growing up. My mom cooked it very often. She said that seaweed contains iodine and eating it often will help the thyroid glands to function well. She would often show us people who suffer from goitre and we would be so frightened we would drink lots of this soup, together with the seaweed, too. I have seen people (more women and men) with huge goitre….that big growth in front of the neck. Some have big bulging eyes.
Seaweed For Thyroid Health
Seaweed, as the name implies, is vegetable from the sea. It comes in many forms with different names. I often buy wakame here because it’s very easy and simple to cook but I also like this long type (shown above)) that my mom cooked for us. Seaweed is highly nutritious as it contains all the important minerals and also some important vitamins that our bodies need. It also contains trace elements that are essential to our health. It also contains large amount of natural iodine which helps in the proper function of the thyroid as iodine is essential in the production of thyroid hormones, T3 and T4.
Seaweed And Weight Loss
Seaweed is reputed to be able to bind toxic metals in our intestinal tracts so that they are not absorbed into the body. It also plays an important role in any weight loss programme. Seaweed is high in a natural fibre that researchers have found to reduce fat intake by a high percentage. Besides, seaweed itself has no fat and very low in calories. It contains complex carbohydrate and protein which are beneficial to our bodies.
Seaweed is widely consumed in Asian, especially in Japan and Korea. They are eaten in all sorts of ways…as snacks, in soups, in stir fries, for making sushi (Japan) or called kimbab (Korea), sprinkled over other dishes, as a cold salad or even used in baking. Could that be the reason why the Japanese and Koreans are so slim?
Thyroid And Thyroid Disease
Our thyroid is a very important gland situated in front of our neck. It produces a hormone called thyroxine which is very important in helping the body to make energy, keep our body temperature regulated and assist other organs in their functions.
Thyroid disease like hypothyroidism (under active thyroid) or hyperthyroidism (over active thyroid thyroid) affect a lot of people but often go undiagnosed. Some of the symptoms for hypothyroidism are fatigue, exhaustion, depression, difficulty concentrating, unexplained weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair, feeling cold, constipation, muscle cramps etc. Some of the symptoms for hyperthyroidism are nervousness, irritability, increased perspiration, shaky hands, panic disorder, insomnia, racing heart etc. A simple blood test for T3 and T4 will show whether your thyroid is functioning properly.
It is easier to detect hyperthyroidism because of fiery temper, shaky hands, nervousness, etc. However it is much more difficult to detect hypothyroidism and doctors don’t always give you a thyroid test even with the symptoms above. But you can request for it just to make sure, before it is too late. It’s just a simple blood test.
Cooking this long seaweed is very easy. Here is my simple Healthy Seaweed Soup recipe:
1/2 packet seaweed (soaked, washed and cut)
lots of ginger
1 whole garlic
2 big onions
Kikkoman soya sauce to season
Cut the dry seaweed into shorter lengths. Put into a big pot or basin. Add water and leave it to soak for a couple of hours.
Wash the seaweed clean. You need to wash it piece by piece on both sides. I just wipe it with my hands. Then cut it into short strips.
Put all the ingredients above, except the kikkoman soya sauce and pepper, into a pot. Add water and let it boil over medium heat until the seaweed is soft. Season with kikkoman soya sauce and pepper to taste. We like it quite peppery. This is very delicious with rice. I like it even just as it is.
Note: There are several types of this long sea weed. Some become very soft (too soft) when cooked while some remain tough when cooked. The best is to ask the shopkeeper whether the seaweed will cook properly. So far this one that I used here is very good, not too mushy and not too tough.
Note: One packet of seaweed may look little when dry but when you soak it, it will be a lot. Maybe you can try one piece first if you have never tried before.
Note: A very good soup is very important for making this soup as the seaweed is tasteless. My mom used to fry the dried anchovies (ikan bilis) and then boil it with pork bones and lots of big onions. The soup was very tasty.
Quote of the day……
“A successful man is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at him.”
- David Brinkley