Friday 20 April 2018

Delicious Celery Seed Salad Recipes for the Summer

Try making one of these delicious celery seed salad recipes.

Celery seed is an ancient ingredient with a plethora of health benefits. To skim the surface, some of the potential health benefits of celery seed are:

1. Celery seed helps maintain healthy blood pressure

A study published by the National Institutes of Health concluded that “celery seed extracts have antihypertensive properties, which appears to be attributable to the actions of its active hydrophobic constitutes such as NBP.”

2. Celery seed supports liver health

Another study examined how a variety of herbs, including celery seed, affected hypertension. Celery was noted as an herb that is helpful for those with hypertension, as it “acts upon the liver; one type of HTN is associated with the liver. In Mainland China, celery was useful in reducing HTN in 14 of 16 patients … it has also been reported to reduce systolic and diastolic BP.”

3. Celery seeds are packed with flavonoids, antioxidants, and more.

Celery seeds may be tiny, but they are absolutely packed with power. One tiny celery seed contains the following: flavonoids, volatile oils, coumarins, omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phenols. It is because of these compounds that celery seeds may support healthy blood pressure and maintain liver health.

When it comes to antioxidants, a study found that in comparison to onion, parsley, and dill leaves, celery leaves “exhibited the highest total phenolic content.”

How to Add Celery Seeds to Your Diet

With all of the potential health benefits of celery seeds, you may be looking for ways to incorporate them into your diet. One of the best (and most delicious) ways to increase your celery seed intake? Celery seed salad and celery seed salad dressing. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite recipes for celery seed salad (and salad dressing). Check them out below!

A Fruity Celery Seed Salad Dressing

The Sisters Cafe blog has a perfect celery seed salad for springtime. This celery seed salad dressing is for anyone with a sweet tooth. To make this dressing, you’ll need:
  • 1.5 - 2 cups of sugar
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp celery seed
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup prepared mustard
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil
Mix all the ingredients in a blender, and you’ll have a full quart of this dressing. The Sisters Cafe recommend serving this dressing over a salad of mixed greens, toasted pecans, red onion, feta cheese, and your favorite fruit (anything from strawberries to mangoes, peaches or nectarines).

Celery Seed Dressing on a Celery Leaf Salad

This salad uses celery roots, celery leaves and celery seeds -- a total win. The base of this Cooking Light salad uses 5 large stalks of sliced celery, 3 cups of shaved carrots, a 6 oz. package of cremini mushrooms, ½ cup of celery leaves, and ½ cup of packed parsley.

The celery seed salad dressing is made by whisking together the following ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ⅜ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

A Classic Celery Seed Salad Dressing

We had to include this one because it comes from the Farmers Almanac. This is another great spring and summer salad dressing, as the almanac recommends it with fruit salads. This is a simple celery seed salad dressing recipe, too. It requires:
  • 1 tsp grated onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ½ cup salad oil
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 3 TBSP vinegar
Combine all of the ingredients into a jar, shake, and enjoy!

Do you have a go-to celery seed salad dressing recipe? What’s your best recommendation?

Four Healthy Desserts for Spring

Ignore those last stray dustings of snow on the ground; it’s Spring! And while that means many things, like going to the park, wearing white, baseball season, digging out strappy sandals, and opening the windows come to mind. One of the most important things that spring brings? Spring desserts! Warmer weather and sunnier days call for their own special desserts.

Say goodbye (or at least “see you later”) to the savory spices and filling warmth of winter desserts. Desserts for spring are light, bright, and (often) citrusy! Is your mouth watering yet? If it isn’t, it will be soon. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite healthy desserts for spring.

Banana Mousse

This recipe comes approved by If you’ve never made mousse before, you might associate it with two things: one, chocolate, and two, sounding difficult to make. This recipe is neither. You’ll only need five ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 medium banana, cut into quarters (and 8 additional quarter inch banana slices for garnish)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, low fat
If you liked there only being five ingredients, you’ll love that there are only two steps.

Blend the milk, sugar, vanilla, and banana for about 15 seconds or until smooth.

More the blended ingredients into a bowl and fold in yogurt. Chill, garnish with banana slices, and serve!

(And if “mousse” has you thinking chocolate anyway, a few chocolate sprinkles or chocolate chips would go perfectly as a topping to this creamy treat.)

Grapefruit Brulee

Another great part about spring is that there are new, delicious fruits that are in season for use. And as long as you’re making desserts for spring … why not have desserts for breakfast? Making a simple grapefruit brulee can let you do just that.

Grapefruit is an amazing food that keeps you fuller longer, can lower cholesterol, and is full of fiber. For these reasons, it’s frequently considered one of the best foods to eat for breakfast. If you’re already a grapefruit fan, it’s easy to cut one in half and enjoy it for breakfast. But if grapefruit is a little sour for you, if you want a way to mix up your breakfast, or if you want to serve it as a full dessert, grapefruit brulee is the way to go.

Bon Appetit recommends cutting the grapefruit in half, letting it dry for five minutes on a paper towel, sprinkling a tablespoon of sugar over the flesh of each grapefruit half, and then either:
  1. Using a kitchen torch to melt and caramelize the sugar, or 
  2. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, using your oven’s broiler for about eight minutes to caramelize the sugar.

Pineapple and Coconut Frozen Yogurt

Have a frozen yogurt craving, but don’t want to shell out the money at one of those (amazing, but sometimes pricey) frozen yogurt chains? Enter the pineapple and coconut frozen yogurt. This is another easy “toss it all in the blender and it’s practically finished” recipe.

You’ll add two cups of frozen pineapples, 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar, ¼ cup plain yogurt (any variety), and a ½ tablespoon of lemon juice to your blender or food processor and blend until creamy and smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Once you’ve reached the right texture, stir in 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut, transfer to an airtight container, and freeze overnight (or for at least 6 hours). Voila! Instant (well, almost) frozen yogurt.

One Bowl Upside Down Cake

This one might be stretching the limits on “healthy,” but if you’re craving an easy cake to add to your “desserts for spring” list, this one is easy and delicious. You’ll need:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 10-ounce bags frozen sweet cherries or blueberries (no need to thaw)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar; plus more for serving
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sour cream or whole plain yogurt, room temperature, divided
For easy step-by-step instructions for this recipe, head over to Bon Appetit.

What’s on your list for healthy desserts for spring? Did you try any of these recipes? Tell us about it!

Best Cheeses to Turn Your Taco Dinner into a Fiesta

What’s the best cheese for tacos? If you’ve been making your tacos with cheddar, mozzarella, or a three-cheese blend, you might not have any complaints. After all, a mediocre taco is still a taco; which is to say, better than most foods anyway. But if you’ve become tired with your Taco Tuesday routine, or if you want to elevate your taco into something a lot more appetizing, then your cheese choice might need to be adjusted. There’s an entire world of cheeses that can elevate your taco from mediocre to miraculous.

History of Cheese on Tacos

According to Jeffrey M. Pilcher, a history professor at the University of Minnesota, tacos were likely invented in the 18th century by Mexican silver miners (and then reinvented by Mexican Americans in the southwest). The basic taco that many Americans are familiar with - hard shells, ground beef, cheddar cheese or queso, iceberg lettuce, and tomato - is a reinvention of the Mexican dish using more American ingredients.

Authentic Mexican tacos are a little different. They use small, soft corn tortillas (usually lightly grilled or steamed), meats (anything from beef to pork and chicken to seafood), and herbs and vegetables. These might include avocado, salsa, onions, and cilantro. Cheese isn’t necessarily a typical ingredient on an authentic Mexican taco. However, if it is used, it’s almost certainly not the bagged three cheese blend you find in the grocery store.

Best Cheese for Tacos

If you aren’t concerned with authenticity (or if you just love cheese), you’re probably still interested in the best cheese for tacos. There are a variety of fresh white cheeses that not only will give you a more authentic Mexican taco experience, but you might also find that they taste better.

Below, find a few of our suggestions of authentic Mexican cheeses that will make your taco night the most popular taco night in town.


Oaxaca is a semi-soft, stringy white cheese with a mild flavor. Its mellow and buttery notes make it a popular choice for quesadillas. Its texture and flavor are comparable to Monterey Jack. Oaxaca is a great choice for kids because of its mild flavor.


Cotija is a hard, crumbly white cheese from the Parmesan family; it is similar to feta cheese in appearance. Cotija has a strong, salty flavor and doesn’t melt. Not only is it a good cheese for tacos, it also can be sprinkled on chilis, salads, and soups.

Anejo Enchilado

Anejo Enchilado is one of the best cheeses for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. It can be made from either goat milk or cow milk, but the result is a semi-hard, cheese with a strong, spicy, salty flavor. Some of the flavor notes of anejo enchilado are owed to the process of rolling aneja enchilado in paprika, meaning that the cheese wheel has a distinct, bright red exterior. The more this cheese ages, the more it is easy to shred or grate, which is when it becomes ideal for baking or grilling tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.

Queso Fresco (Adobera)

Queso Fresco is another popular choice for kids because of its mild, salty flavor. In some regions of Mexico, the cheese is also flavored with pepper or adobo (making it a bit more spicy), but overall, queso fresco is a mild, fresh cheese that’s an easy crowd pleaser.

Chihuahua (Menonita)

Chihuahua (or Menonita) cheese is similar in flavor and texture to mild, white cheddar or Monterey Jack. Unlike many Mexican cheeses, which are white, chihuahua cheese has a light yellow color. It melts well and has a mild, buttery taste that makes it ideal for tacos.

There are countless more varieties of cheese, Mexican and otherwise, that may make the perfect pair with your taco. Which cheese will you try on your next taco night? Are there any cheeses that you would never use on a taco?

Monday 16 April 2018

Get The Most From Turmeric Root With These Foods

Turmeric root is a plant in the ginger family, and in the culinary world it is best known for adding a rich golden color and flavor to Indian and Chinese cooking (especially curry). But even though turmeric is delicious, there’s another reason that turmeric root gets a lot of attention: its many purported health benefits.

Turmeric root is used to support the body’s “many disorders involving pain and inflammation including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), acute injuries to the muscles and joints, headaches, and fibromyalgia.” Science supports this, backing up that turmeric root has “proven properties like anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, immunostimulant, antiseptic, and antimutagenic.”

A tumeric root post typically contains one of two things: a list of the herbs touted potential health benefits, or a list of recipes that utilize turmeric root so that you can add it to your diet. With this turmeric root post, we’re going to split the difference: we’ll talk about the best ways that you can take turmeric root to access its health benefits.

Method Matters

The reason we’re focusing on how you take turmeric is because if you’re looking for health benefits, the way that you take it matters. This all has to do with the “active ingredient” in turmeric, the flavonoid that’s behind the health benefits. The name of that flavonoid is curcumin.

Curcumin lends a lot to turmeric root, not least of which is its bright yellow color. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that composes about 0.3-5.4% of raw turmeric. Curcumin does a lot of the heavy lifting for turmeric, as it has the therapeutic properties of “antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic activity, and anticarcinogenic activity.”

But there is a downside to curcumin: it’s quite difficult for the body to absorb it. Curcumin metabolizes quickly; in fact, so quickly that it can be hard for your body to absorb it. Here are some ways to take turmeric root in a way that your body can absorb the curcumin (and, by extension, all of its potential benefits)!

Turmeric Root + Pepper

Turmeric root and black pepper are a match made in heaven, at least in terms of curcumin absorption. Melissa Rifkin, RD, a bariatric dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City tells Time Magazine, “If you pair the turmeric with the piperine, it improves the bioavailability of curcumin by 1000 times.” She recommends a simple recipe - chicken prepared with turmeric and black pepper. It’s that simple.

Turmeric + Fats

Curcumin is also fat soluble, meaning that it dissolves in fats. So to help your body better absorb the curcumin in your turmeric, try it with a fatty meal. A dish like Indian Butter chicken -- which is typically made with butter and heavy cream -- fits the bill, and is the perfect context for turmeric anyway.

Or, you might try a high fat version of golden milk. Golden milk is a traditional Ayurvedic recipe that has recently gained popularity in the West. Golden milk is a milk-based herbal tea: usually made with milk of any sort (dairy, almond, pecan, coconut), turmeric powder, black pepper, ginger, cayenne, and an optional sweetener like honey or maple syrup. The black pepper usually recommended in this tea will help your body absorb the curcumin, but if you really want to help the process (and you aren’t following a low-fat diet), then try using whole milk.

Curcumin Supplements

To access a higher amount of curcumin, it may be best to consider taking a turmeric extract as a supplement. This is an easy way to guarantee a higher concentration of curcumin than is found naturally in turmeric. This will free you up to use turmeric root in your cooking in any way you please -- from curries to chickens to golden milk, and all the possibilities beyond that.

What’s your favorite way to use turmeric?

Saturday 7 April 2018

Fast Food Alternatives That Aren't Too Bad For You

McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Arby’s, KFC: by now, it isn’t exactly news that fast food isn’t good for you. So the term “healthy fast food” might seem like an oxymoron. But even if you’re health conscious, it can be hard to avoid fast food entirely. Whether it’s because you’re on a long road trip, have kids who won’t stop begging for a Happy Meal, are busy - or even if it’s because you woke up craving something salty and greasy you knew wasn’t good for you, fast food happens.

If you’re one of those people, you may find yourself wondering if there’s a way to do healthy fast food. Or you may be on the other side of the coin: maybe you know that you indulge in your fast food cravings a little too often, and you want to start cutting down on your fast food intake (or at least start making better choices when you order off of the drive-thru menu).

Even if “healthy fast food” continues to sound strange, there are some ways to make healthier fast food choices. Below are some tips for choosing the healthy options at various fast food chains, as well as some other tips and tricks.

Why is Fast Food Bad?

Before helping you make healthy fast food choices, it might be good to review just why so many consider fast food to be “bad.” Fast food falls into the category of “junk food.” Junk food, according to a Washington Post dietitian, can be defined as “ any food that is highly processed, high in calories and low in nutrients. Junk food is also usually high in added sugars, salt, and saturated or trans fats.”

Fast food is food that can be prepared and eaten quickly, and often on the go. While not every item on a fast food menu necessarily has to be junk food, the majority of the time, it is (as junk food is frequently cheaper and quicker to prepare than healthier options).

The reason this is a problem is that foods that are defined as junk foods can have devastating effects on your health.

A review of studies found that eating fast food consumption was a “main risk factor for lower diet quality, higher calorie and fat intake and lower micronutrients density of the diet.” Eating fast food more than once a week was connected to a higher risk of obesity; eating fast food more than twice a week was “associated with a higher risk for metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and death from coronary heart disease.”

Best Choices at Some Popular Fast Food Chains


At the home of the (fried) chicken sandwich, try a greener option. Chick-fil-A’s Spicy Southwest Salad is rich in protein and vegetables (featuring chicken, along with lettuce, assorted greens, red cabbage, carrots, and more).

Chick-fil-A also offers grilled nuggets in place of its fried nuggets. The grilled option is always healthier.

Taco Bell

Try ordering a chicken taco instead of beef - a single soft chicken taco at Taco Bell has 160 calories and quite a bit of protein. Taco Bell also offers the option to make your order “fresco,” subbing in pico de gallo for cheese and sour cream.

Taco Bell also has choices for vegetarians, including the Power Menu Veggie Bowl (which has black beans, rice, guacamole, and a variety of veggies).


Try the Egg McMuffin - it’s 300 calories, and you have the option to skip the cheese. McDonald’s (like many chains) also gives you the option to sub in healthier sides, like apple slices.

Burger King

More good news for vegetarians - you can get a MorningStar Veggie Burger at Burger King. Burger King also offers a grilled chicken sandwich; as always, if you see the word “grilled” on a fast food menu, chances are, you’re looking at a healthier choice.

As always, the less fast food you eat, the better. One study found that for twelve healthy men, eating fast food for just five days reduced their ability to turn glucose into energy; a single fast food meal can narrow your arteries.

But when you do eat fast food, there are ways to make healthier choices. Pay attention to the menu, make substitutions and deletions where you can, and if you need some fries every once in a while, go for it - make sure to take care of your body in between cravings.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Creative Ways to Prepare Fruit for Healthy Desserts

Healthy desserts sounds like an oxymoron, but it doesn’t have to! There are so many ways to indulge your sweet tooth, meet a craving, or cap off a long day with a delicious treat that doesn’t have to be unhealthy. In fact, there is a whole range of dessert options that range from (slightly more) healthy desserts to great-tasting treats that pack a good nutritional punch.


If you aren’t quite ready to branch out into new, more nutritious desserts, then the place to start is with portion control. If you’re wondering about what a healthy portion of dessert might look like, start with the USDA’s MyPlate.

The USDA has replaced the formerly ubiquitous Food Pyramid with the MyPlate, but the idea is the same: MyPlate is a visual representation of what a balanced meal should look like. The reason?

As the USDA explains, “today, about half of all American adults have one or more chronic diseases, often related to poor diet. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans emphasizes the importance of creating a healthy eating pattern to maintain health and reduce the risk of disease. Everything we eat and drink — the food and beverage choices we make day to day and over our lifetime — matters.”

The basic idea behind MyPlate is that half of your plate should contain fruits and vegetables; half of your grains should be whole grains; low-fat or fat-free yogurt and milk should be prioritized; proteins should vary; and you should aim to eat and drink less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars.

Nature’s Healthy Desserts - Fruit

There were a few important hints about an easy way to utilize healthy desserts in that last paragraph. Did you catch them? The first was the recommendation to eat fewer added sugars (emphasis on added). The second was that at each meal, your plate should be composed of half fruits and vegetables.

What does this mean? Simple: the easiest way to turn desserts into healthy desserts is simply to eat fruit for dessert. And while fruits on their own will work just fine, you can also have fun with it. Some easy ways to elevate fruit to something that feels like a genuine dessert are:

Make Banana Swirl

Made famous (among preschoolers) on the PBS show Daniel Tiger, Banana Swirl is an amazing ice cream substitute with only one ingredient: bananas. To make banana swirl, peel and slice a few ripe (or overripe) bananas, throw them in the freezer until they are completely frozen, and then place the frozen banana slices in a blender until smooth. The result: a sweet, frozen treat that tastes exactly like banana ice cream - minus the ice cream.

Try Grilled Pineapples

Pineapples are delicious as they are, but if you want to experience a different version (with new flavors, temperatures, colors, and textures), then grilled pineapple slices is the way to go. Throw some pineapple slices on the grill for a few minutes on each side, and then take them off to either eat as they are, coat with honey, or serve on top of some frozen yogurt, and your taste buds will thank you.

Elevate the Fruit Salad

Fruit salads are a delicious way to enjoy a variety of fruits altogether. One way to get the variety of flavors and nutrients offered by a fruit salad, but with a twist, is to make a fruit shish-kabob. Simply use the wooden or bamboo skewers you would use to make a typical, savory shishkabob, and instead of grilled meats and vegetables, use fruits. A strawberry-cantaloupe-pineapple-kiwi-blueberry-grape shishkabob is not only delicious, but it also creates a rainbow -- a really fun healthy dessert for kids (and, let’s face it, adults).

For a sweet and savory mix, try this American Heart Association recipe for fruit kabobs with balsamic drizzle.


If you’re making your desserts healthy by eating fruits, use the time to experiment. Try that strange, tropical fruit you’ve also wondered about in the grocery store. Ask around for recommendations of other people’s favorite unusual fruit. Make dessert a time for experimentation, or, if you’re a family who loves apples and bananas, go for that too! (And maybe experiment with dips, like peanut butter or honey). provides even more healthy desserts recipes (with and without fruit).

What are your favorite fruits? Do you have a creative way to prepare them for dessert?

Thursday 29 March 2018

How Blessed Thistle Supports The Immune System

Blessed thistle is the name of a strange and beautiful looking wild plant native to the Mediterranean area of Europe, but also found in parts of the United States and Europe. The prickly flower has a bright, flowering top (varieties range from yellow to purple) and equally prickly stems and leaves.

The scientific name for the plant is Cnicus benedictus, and its common names - including blessed thistle, holy thistle, and St. Benedict’s Thistle - can be looked at as compliments. Or, in other words, after people experience the potential health benefits of this plant, they begin bestowing nicknames such as “blessed” or “holy” upon the plant.

People have used the tops, leaves, and stems of blessed thistle since the Middle Ages to make medicine. At the time, one of blessed thistle’s primary functions was as a treatment for the bubonic plague. It was also given as a tonic to monks.

Still, even today, blessed thistle is used in natural and alternative medicine. There are many ways to prepare blessed thistle (which we’ll discuss later), but it is used “for loss of appetite and indigestion; and to treat colds, cough, fever, bacterial infections, and diarrhea. It is also used as a diuretic for increasing urine output, and for promoting the flow of breast milk in new mothers.”

What lends blessed thistle all of these potential health benefits? In a word: tannins.

Blessed Thistle and Tannins

Blessed thistle contains tannins. If you’ve heard the word “tannins” before, it’s likely been in the context of wine. Put simply, if you’ve ever had wine that left your mouth or tongue feeling dry, that was likely because of the tannins. The dryer the sensation, the higher the tannins.

Tannins are polyphenolic compounds present in many plants that bind to proteins. They are full of antioxidants and help protect the body from cellular oxidative damage. In other words, they are a crucial part of supporting your body’s natural defense system. There is even some evidence that tannins may have anti-carcinogenic properties.

How to Use Blessed Thistle

There are a number of ways to use blessed thistle, depending on your goals.


One popular way is to make blessed thistle tea. You can buy blessed thistle tea bags or blessed thistle tea concentrate. Often, blessed thistle will come as part of a tea blend, with other herbs selected based on your health goals. For example, a mother’s milk tea (meant to support lactation) may contain blessed thistle, fenugreek, fennel, anise, and coriander.


An herbal poultice is a “paste made of herbs, clay, activated charcoal, salts, or other beneficial substances” that is wrapped in cloth and placed on the skin. Obviously, a poultice is used when contact with the skin is beneficial - think herbal poultices that may treat bug bites, stings, burns or rashes.

Because blessed thistle is used to treat bacterial infections, some people will use a blessed thistle poultice as a treatment for boils, wounds, or ulcers. The tannins in blessed thistle, and their potential anti-inflammatory properties, may make a blessed thistle poultice ideal for swelling around an injury. To make a simple blessed thistle poultice, soak some gauze in blessed thistle and apply it to the area that needs treatment.


If teas or poultices aren’t your thing, capsules are an easy way to ingest blessed thistle. You can find blessed thistle capsules online, or at most grocery or health food stores. As with tea, you can take capsules that are strictly blessed thistle, or a blend that contains blessed thistle, such as this fenugreek, anise, and blessed thistle blend meant to support lactation.


As with all herbal supplements, your use of blessed thistle (including the appropriate dose) may be affected by your age, medical history, and other drugs or supplements you are taking. Pregnant women should not take blessed thistle. Be sure to talk with your healthcare practitioner to make sure you can safely incorporate blessed thistle into your diet.
Have you ever made a blessed thistle poultice? How about tea? How did it go?

Tuesday 27 March 2018

What Makes Bladderwrack Perfect for Thyroid Health

Bladderwrack is an oddly named plant with a lot of potential health benefits. Bladderwrack is a type of algae and seaweed. It also goes by names like black tang, rockweed, sea oak, and rock wrack.

If you’re in an area where bladderwrack grows naturally, then you can easily pick some of your own. Bladderwrack grows in cold ocean waters, and is found mostly on the United States’ northern Atlantic and Pacific coasts and Europe’s Baltic coast.

Bladderwrack that is ready to be harvested will have fully inflated bladders. These bladders (which the plant gets its name from) are how you can identify them. Bladderwrack has a tough central stem (called the thallus) that is full of air-filled pods, or “bladders.” When they are inflated they help the plant float on the surface of the water.

Bladderwrack Benefits

Although bladderwrack has a strange name (and a strange appearance), there are a lot of reasons you might want to incorporate it into your diet. These are three main components of bladderwrack, iodine, alginic acid, and fucoidan, that are believed to provide it potential medicinal benefits.


Bladderwrack is most often associated with iodine. Seawater and soil naturally contain iodine, so plants like bladderwrack that grow and live in seawater absorb and contain large quantities of iodine. All types of seaweed, including kelp, dulse, and nori, contain iodine. However, because they derive iodine from their environment the amount of iodine present in bladderwrack varies.

Iodine is an essential element that helps to regulate thyroid hormone production. Our bodies do not naturally make iodine, so we need to get it from outside sources. A lack of iodine can lead to an enlarged thyroid or hypothyroidism. 

Alginic Acid

Alginic acid is a type of dietary fiber that may provide temporary relief from occasional constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and heartburn (though human studies have not been completed to confirm this). Some components of alginic acid such as calcium alginate and the sodium salt of alginic acid have been found to support healthy-looking skin and abdominal comfort.


Fucoidan is a dietary fiber that may support cholesterol and glucose levels already within the normal range, may support the immune system, and clotting factors. 

How to Take Bladderwrack

Bladderwrack is most commonly taken in a supplement, tablet, extract, or powder form. However, there are also ways to cook bladderwrack and incorporate it into your diet.

Bladderwrack Egg Drop Soup

To make this simple soup, you will first mince leeks, ginger, and turmeric and fry them in sesame oil. Bladderwrack is then added to the pan and lightly fried, and then spiced with black pepper and chili flakes. Add some water to start the broth, and add rice noodles (if desired). Finalize the soup by incorporating egg and miso. See the full directions for this soup here.

Mile High Wild Pie

The best part of this recipeis its versatility. Most ingredients can be subbed in for other ingredients. You should include some wild coastal green, fresh wild fungi, your choice of woodland or hedgerow greens, and herbs or flavorings available to you. The directions for this one are a little more involved, so you’ll want to follow this recipe, but as a whole, it’s a recipe that makes natural use of bladderwrack as an ingredient.

By Itself

The bladders of the bladderwrack can also be eaten on their own. After the bladders are separated from the frond and dried, they can simply be eaten as is. If you’re a fan of seaweed flavorings, you’ll enjoy bladderwrack.

Have you found a better way to enjoy bladderwrack? Are you in a location where you can find and pick your own?