Kombu: The SECRET to a Healthier Broth
There are many benefits to broth and it is something that everyone who wants to be well-nourished should incorporate in their lives on a regular basis. It is so simple to make and provides us with a whole host of nutrients including gelatin, which helps to strengthen our gut so we can absorb those nutrients effectively. It makes the most sense to get as much nutrition into our broth as possible, and adding kombu is one of those ways that we can add nutrients that are typically low in our diets.
What is Kombu, anyway?
Kombu is a type of seaweed that is widely used by the Japanese for making a variety of dishes including soup. Kombucha is actually the name of their kombu tea, although more recently it has been adopted for the fermented tea which is quickly gaining in popularity.
How would I use it?
It is very easy to use kombu to improve the nutrient content of meals. It is sold in a variety of ways including dried and powdered. The dried strips can easily be added to foods cooked in water like beans and stock–they actually help to tenderize beans! Kombu has a pleasing flavor and can enhance the taste of rice and other things cooked with it. It provides additional nutrients to broth including iodine, which many people are deficient in. All you do is add the strip of kombu, bring to a boil, reduce heat and leave the strip in for 15 minutes.
Why Would I Do That?
Many people underestimate–or are unaware of–the benefits of seaweed. Some just do not like the taste so have a hard time incorporating it into their diets. Others may actually be unable to digest seaweeds and suffer gastrointestinal issues from ingesting it. Extracting the nutrients into broth makes it easy to take advantage of the health boost sea vegetables have to offer. Liquid nutrition is easier for anyone to absorb and especially those with gut issues. It adds great flavor so it is also not something to shy away from if you don’t like fishy or green tastes!
What Are The Health Benefits Of Kombu?
This sea vegetable is a natural source of glutamic acid which can enhance flavors with an umami taste, as well as improve brain, muscle and prostate function. Kombu contains fucoidan which protects us from radiation. It is high in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and iodine. It contains a compound called PLG that reduces the risk of blood clots. Studies have shown it has an ability to decrease LDL cholesterol levels, possibly because of its anti-inflammatory properties–it is a great source of a variety of antioxidants including vitamin C and E. It even has anti-viral properties!
Kombu’s Claim To Fame–Iodine
Iodine is one of the most beneficial properties of seafood and sea vegetables, and kombu has one of the greatest concentrations. Iodine deficiency is increasing despite the use of iodized salt, which isn’t healthy anyway. This mineral also helps to prevent cancer and goiter. It has antibacterial properties and is helpful in the fight against chronic diarrhea and bacterial overgrowth such as H. pylori. It aids in detox by ridding the body of heavy metals and chemicals such as chlorine, bromide and fluoride. Some of the signs of iodine deficiency include hormonal imbalances, dry skin, hair loss, constipation, and even fertility issues. Getting our iodine from natural sources ensures that we get the co-factors needed for our bodies to use it properly.
Kombu is obviously one of the Japan’s best kept secrets. Generations of Japanese have added kombu to their foods for improved flavor and nutrition. Adding kombu to your broth can help to improve your health and decrease your chances of cancer, diabetes, thyroid problems, anemia, and mineral deficiencies.