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A short guide to seaweed consumption

by La Boite à Grains 05 Jun 2024
Petit guide sur la consommation d’algues marines - La Boite à Grains

Seaweed, or sea vegetables, have been gaining in popularity in recent years, particularly because of their benefits. Despite their greater accessibility, they remain little-known. That's why we've put together a short guide to demystify this marine food. 

Tips and tricks: A short guide to eating seaweed

The role of seaweed and its benefits

Seaweed has been on the menu of Pacific peoples and the vast majority of Asians for several hundred years. Most edible seaweeds are of marine origin, whereas freshwater seaweeds are mostly toxic. This is one of the reasons why, before the advent of international food trade, seaweed did not feature on Western menus.

Some seaweeds are edible, while others are used as fertilizers in the processing industry or in childcare.

In the kitchen and in alternative medicine, seaweed is considered a superfood, with a multitude of health benefits. Seaweed is a source of :

  • Dietary fiber ;
  • Iodine: an essential mineral for thyroid health;
  • Electrolytes and a host of marine minerals; 
  • Vanadium: a mineral which, according to preliminary research, may prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes;
  • Vegetable proteins and vitamin B12 (sought-after by vegans);
  • Plant iron: easily absorbed by the body;
  • Zinc: essential for immune and reproductive health;
  • Omega-3: vegetable source.

What's more, seaweed has beneficial properties for :

  • Cardiovascular health: seaweed has an anticoagulant and antithrombotic action, as well as lowering cholesterol levels, particularly bad cholesterol (LDL);
  • Fighting cancer: anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help combat inflammation and oxidative stress, two of the main triggers of many cancers;
  • Estrogen: regulates estrogen production and reduces the risk of breast cancer linked to excess estrogen. 

Tips and advice: A short guide to seaweed consumption

Seaweed in cooking

Each seaweed has its own unique taste, shape and texture. Although there are more than 10,000 varieties, a few have made a name for themselves in the kitchen. These are classified by color, origin and properties.

Brown seaweed is used in a wide variety of ways in the kitchen, including :

  • Aramé a soft-tasting seaweed that forms long filaments and is often used in salads;
  • Kombu a dark seaweed often available in leaf form, used to season dishes;
  • Wakame a cousin of kombu, used in soup recipes. miso soup ;
  • Aleppo Aleppo: bright green in color, available in flakes for seasoning;
  • Hijiki an almost black seaweed that resembles a spaghetti-like paste.

The best-known red seaweeds are :

  • Seaweed A tender, soft purple seaweed;
  • Nori a well-known seaweed used to make sushi;
  • Agar-agar a gelatinous substance often used in vegan cooking to replace bovine gelatin.

Blue-green algae are gaining in popularity and include :

  • Chlorella Chlorella: rich in proteins and trace elements, widely popularized in recent years;
  • Spirulina particularly rich in vitamin B12, now one of the best-selling natural health products;
  • Green caviar still unknown to Westerners, a very popular seaweed in the Philippines.


Try different kinds of seaweed in a variety of recipes to discover your own preferences. To simplify your life, we suggest the following three recipes featuring this superfood. Come and see us at La Boite à Grains for expert advice and everything you need for your recipes. We've got you covered!

Enjoy your discovery!

Véronique Cousineau, ND, RHN


La Boite à Grains

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