Adzuki Bean and Sea Vegetable Soup

Ali Segersten Jan 27, 2012 13 comments

Seaweed? Yep, that's right, those beautiful vegetables that grow in the ocean. They're really quite tasty! I realized recently that I had not yet highlighted this wonderful, mineral-rich plant. Did you know that sea vegetables offer a concentrated source of trace minerals, particularly iodine? Iodine is needed to make thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is incredibly important for normal function of the human body. So important that every single cell has a receptor for this amazing "master switch" of metabolism. Want to have perfectly regulated body weight and body temperature? Then shoot for optimal thyroid hormone function. How do you do that? Eat a diet that keeps your autoimmune thyroid antibodies down, and add in some seaweed on a regular basis.

Seaweed is one of nature's richest sources of iodine. Iodine is THE key ingredient in thyroid hormones. We have all heard of T4, tetraiodothyronine, the pre-hormone, and T3, triiodothyronine, the active form of thyroid hormone, but what does that mean? It means four iodines attached to a tyrosine amino acid or three iodines attached to a tyrosine amino acid. One of these iodines is removed with the help of selenium as a cofactor when turning the inactive T4 into the active T3 thyroid hormone. So in essence, if you do not have adequate iodine and selenium, your body may not be able to produce enough thyroid hormone. Are you eating a diet high in phytates or oxalates? You may have an increased need for iodine as these foods tend to bind to iodine.

Seaweed can be found at your local health food store. Look for kombu (kelp), wakame, hijiki, arame, or dulse. I keep kelp granules in a small container on our table to sprinkle on food. I like to add wakame to soups like this one.


About the Author

Ali Segersten

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University and a Master’s of Science in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine from the University of Western States. She is a Functional Nutritionist, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Alissa is the founder and owner of Nourishing Meals®.

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Thanks for the amazing recipes, cookbooks, and inspiration on healthy foods. I love your work.

I am on day 4 of the Elimination Diet and would like to know what other miso pastes are acceptable to use as I cannot find Adzuki miso. Would a brown rice miso be appropriate if this exists?

I have had autoimmune thyroid disease since age 14, first Graves and now Hashimoto's. Gluten free helps alot, but if you have autoimmune thyroid you should avoid seaweed. The high iodine content will make you feel great at first, and then your antibodies will shoot sky high within a few weeks. I had this happen to me over the summer after consuming dulse. Dr. Kharrazian, who is the natural medicine thyroid expert talks about this in his book "Why Do I still have symptoms if my thyroid tests are normal?" Seaweed is great if you don't have graves or hashimotos. Just a word of caution. High antibodies are not fun, and neither are the heart palpitations, mood swings and fatigue that accompany them.

There's so few recipes floating around out there for adzuki beans. This sounds lovely and a great way of getting more into my diet. Looks great.

I'll be hosting whole food wednesdays at if you'd like to come over and share, we'd love to have you!

Can you recommend a gluten free miso?

Is there such a thing as having too much seaweed? I live in Japan right now and I eat fresh seaweed everyday! I can't get enough, but I wonder if it is too much for my thyroid. However, I also eat a ton of cruciferous vegetables. In fact cabbage, wakame, cucumber, and salmon salad with black sesame oil has been a recent favorite.

Made this soup for dinner, with the only change being the substitution of celery with parsnips (it added a bit of sweetness to it, I highly recommend this substitution). Garnished the soup with some liquid aminos. Very nourishing and very yummy!

I can't wait to try this! I was wondering if you have any resources for more info on the connection to a GF diet and other diet changes to thyroid function. I've had Hashimotos for 13 years, under control with meds, and a very strong family history. I honestly don't have side effects from the meds and expect that I'll be taking some for the rest of my life. But I am interested in learning more about whether or not diet changes could significantly change my dosage, or perhaps to introduce to my kids so they are less likely to develop thyroid problems later (again, super strong family history, so quite likely already). We are not currently GF, but I love many of your recipes anyway :) Thanks!

Ali, the timing of your posting couldn't be more perfect for me. I'm loving gut soothing soups right now and I suspect I might be having some thyroid issues. Thanks for the recipe and the information about the health benefits of sea veggies! 

As regards small crockpots, I use mine mainly for soaking oatmeal overnite, then cooking it in the morning. If I had to rush off to work, I'd put it on a timer, but I don't.

I recently cooked Adzuki beans in a soup for the very first time. I loved it. Thanks for a new recipe idea. May you would like to try mine, too. Here is the link:

This looks fantastic! I love seaweed. I haven't cooked all that much with it, but I have yet to meet a sea vegetable I didn't like! And now that you've reminded me of its health benefits (specifically for the thyroid-thyroid issues run in my family) I'll have to start incorporating it more!

This soup is just what I've been craving! I've been looking for yummy adzuki bean recipes and wanting to add more sea veggies and mushrooms to my diet lately. We'll definitely make this!


I adore seaweed and sprouted adzuki's are one of my favorite sprouted beans.
Peace and Raw Health,

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