Though Americans have just recently discovered the nutritional benefits of seaweed, other cultures have been enjoying seaweed for hundreds of years. Many coastal communities in Japan and Europe depended on seaweed as a reliable source of food throughout history.
Due to the recent popularity of Japanese food, the chances are that you have encountered nori seaweed. Bon Appétit reports that nori is one of the most commonly eating varieties of seaweed. Nori seaweed is the seaweed “wrapper” that is used to hold the rice and fish together in sushi rolls. Not only is it a delicious way to hold together sushi ingredients, but nori and other seaweed products have been touted as a super food from the sea, with tons of fiber and other nutrients.
Nori seaweed is surprisingly nutritious. It is particularly high in Vitamin A, an essential vitamin that regulates growth and development, boosts immune function, and supports healthy vision. It is also packed with protein and fiber, and is a good source of folate, iron, and calcium.
Other Uses for Nori
Most Americans are most familiar with eating seaweed for sushi. But nori isn’t just sushi seaweed. Bon Appétit suggests toasting nori and adding it to scrambled eggs. It can also be crumbled up and used as a seasoning, or cut up and used as an ingredient in stir-fry. Some innovative chefs are even adding it to surprising foods like ice cream and risotto.
The next time that you are looking for a unique ingredient for a savory dish, or you’d like to try out a new kind of sushi roll, try experimenting with nori. Just remember to buy organic when possible – nori and other seaweeds from the ocean are subject to the ill effects of pollution.
- “Seaweed: The New Superfood”, Bon Appétit
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Researchers in Japan have discovered that some types of seaweed have the potential to reduce weight by 5 to 10 percent, if consumed regularly. Additionally, some researchers think that certain types of seaweed can aid in the treatment of osteoarthritis, endometriosis, and common skin conditions like psoriasis. Various types of edible seaweed contain nutrients our bodies need, including amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, magnesium, and calcium.
In Western culture, seaweed is often viewed as a specialty food item, one that holds raw fish and rice together to help make sushi rolls. However, seaweed has been a staple food product in the diets of people in Japan, Korea, and China for centuries. As people become more conscious of the importance of nutrition around the world, seaweed is becoming more popular on an international scale. In fact, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, there’s a movement in France to try to integrate seaweed-centered dishes into European cuisines.
Popular Types of Edible Seaweed
- Nori – This is the dark, green seaweed used to make sushi. It’s most frequently shredded to create papery sheets that are ideal for wrapping around other food products. Nori seaweed has plenty of protein and omega-3 fatty acids to nourish your body. Additionally, it’s full of vitamin C to and vitamin B12.
- Arame – This type of seaweed is dark brown in color and generally sold in the form of long, thin strips. Arame is sweet in taste and the perfect addition to a salad or a stir-fry. Loaded with potassium, this brown seaweed is a great choice for athletes to help them prevent cramping. Additionally, arame is thought to have antiviral properties and promote weight loss.
- Wakame – This is a green, leafy kind of seaweed that looks a bit like spinach. Wakame is mildly sweet in flavor and is often used in both salads and soups. It’s also commonly used in Japanese Miso soup and many different kinds of Korean soup. It’s loaded with calcium and magnesium. Plus, fucoxanthin, which gives Wakame its color, is thought to help improve insulin resistance and burn fat.
These are just a few of the most popular seaweeds you can include in your diet. Each type of edible seaweed offers different kinds of nutrients. So, next time you’re looking for the perfect ingredient to add to your salad, soup, or stir-fry, consider this versatile super food. It will help fuel your body and keep you trim!
- “Brown Seaweed Contains Promising Fat Fighter, Weight Reducer,” ScienceDaily
- “Seaweeds Used as Human Food,” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- “Seaweed identified as potential treatment for osteoarthritis,” Southern Cross University
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