Thyroid-Nourishing Foods: What Are Sea Vegetables and Why You Should Eat Them


Let’s dive in and look at vegetables that grow in the ocean. The human body is made up mostly of water, both fresh water and salt water. To help us maintain a healthy internal liquid environment, we need to eat foods that come from the ocean. Energetically, sea vegetables are cooling and can help counteract “hot” conditions in the body such as inflammation, swelling, hot flashes, and high blood pressure.

Vegetables from the sea contain calcium, iron, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, magnesium, copper, chromium, and high levels of iodine, which is needed for thyroid health. Both too little iodine and too much iodine can lead to thyroid problems.

I’ve had many clients with hyperthyroidism, Graves’ or Hashimoto’s who think they need to stop eating iodine-rich foods, but it’s not necessarily true. When I was first healing my thyroid condition, I had hyperthyroidism and goiter. Eating an iodine-rich diet was one of the steps that helped me heal.

Many clients who had goiters have reclaimed a normal-size neck by including sea vegetables in their diets on a regular basis, about one to two times per week. I do want to caution against using kelp tablets. I’ve seen lots of people actually develop goiter or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis by using kelp and other seaweed tablets. It is too much concentrated iodine at one time, and is not balanced by other foods to make it easily absorbable. For example, a delicious bowl of miso soup contains a variety of foods that help make it more digestible: miso, scallions, fish broth (or water), sea vegetables, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and other vegetables. It’s not just a big bowl of concentrated iodine.

Sea vegetables also contain alginic acid that can bind with toxins and radioactive waste in our bodies and allow their elimination. According to a 1964 McGill University study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, kelp can reduce the intestinal absorption of radioactive strontium-90 by up to 80 percent.

A client came to see me for asthma, not thyroid disease. Julie had a dry hacking cough. We altered her diet and incorporated sea vegetables to help moisten and lubricate her lungs and intestines, so it would be easier for her to breathe.

Julie really enjoyed eating sea vegetables. She said, “I can’t stop eating them! I am craving them all the time.” I advised her to listen to her body and eat what she craved. Her body knew best what it needed. Within a few weeks, her lungs showed improvement, and she was using her inhaler much less often.

But, three months into her new eating regimen, she said, “Something terrible has happened! My thyroid got activated again.”

I said, “Wow that’s amazing!”

She said, “No, it’s not! Five years ago I took radioactive iodine (RAI) because I had hyperthyroidism. My thyroid is supposed to be dead!”

I said, “You could the be the poster child for how food can heal the body! The sea vegetables must have drawn the radioactive residue from your cells and the high amount of iodine may have started your thyroid functioning again. We should celebrate!”

She said, “No! My doctor warned me that I need to retake the radioactive iodine, or I will have a heart attack.”

I said, “Your thyroid gland wants to live after being radiated. That’s pretty miraculous. Can you ask your doctor if you can hold off for a few months?”

Julie told me she was going to see the doctor again the following week and would discuss this with him.

The next time I saw her, she told me the doctor advised her that she would definitely die of a heart attack if she didn’t take the RAI for the second time. So she did.

Many clients have confided in me that they feel guilty and are filled with remorse after taking RAI or having partial or full thyroidectomies. Just give yourself a big hug and a whole lotta love — you are alive, you are perfect exactly as you are (with or without your thyroid), and that’s what matters most.

We are all on our own paths doing things we need to do for our own survival. Always do what YOU believe you need to do to take care of yourself, regardless of what I say, and regardless of what any doctor says.

I know sea vegetables may be foreign to some of you, but they can be a wise addition to your healing diet. The one thing I would caution against right now is sourcing sea vegetables from Japan and its surrounding areas. Since the nuclear disaster in Fukushima in 2011, there have been numerous reports of high levels of radiation leaking into the ocean.

Even decades after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, radiation levels were still high and people suffered from high rates of thyroid cancer, anemia, reproductive disorders, and weak bones.

Let’s send our brother and sisters in Japan and Chernobyl, and any other place that has suffered a radioactive disaster, a whole heap of healing love. But, let’s source our sea vegetables from less contaminated waters for the time being.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate sea vegetables into your diet. Try out these simple recipes:

Kelp Noodles Asian Salad

Clean Out the Fridge Nori Wraps

Quinoa, Kelp, Black-Eyed-Pea Salad

Excerpted with permission from Happy Healthy Thyroid: The Essential Steps to Healing Naturally.

Check out Andrea Beaman’s Happy Healthy Thyroid: The Essential Steps to Healing Naturally to discover foods that are absolutely essential to thyroid health and delicious recipes that can improve your condition. Plus, learn about the connection between thyroid function and your emotions, environment, stress levels and digestive health. 

Want more? You might also like:

3 Toxins That Threaten Your Thyroid

If You Have Hypothyroidism, Are You Getting Enough of This One Important Element?

My Autoimmune Journey: I Could Have Saved My Thyroid If I Knew Then What I Know Now

The Diet That Changed My Life with IBS and Improved My Thyroid Symptoms

6 Tips You Need To Know About Rebalancing Your Thyroid…Naturally

Note: PLEASE consult with  your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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