Seaweed has joined the category of superfood category because of its abundant health benefits.
It is also considered a natural remedy for many medical ailments.
Seaweed is popularly used in many Asian cuisines in both fresh and dried forms.
Apart from many culinary benefits, it is also rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, and fibre.
Belonging to the algae family, seaweed is usually found in red, brown and green varieties.
The red variety is usually used in making sushi (nori); brown variety is often used to make soups and stews because of its chewy texture; and green variety is usually used to make salads and soups.
Almost all varieties of seaweeds are safe for consumption during pregnancy; however, talking to your doctor is suggested before making any dietary alterations.
Nutritional Value of Seaweed
Nutritional values present in 10 grams or two tablespoons of ‘Raw Wakame seaweed’:
|Vitamin A||35.0 IU|
|Vitamin C||0.3 mg|
No matter if you cook it or consume it raw, seaweeds are a power pack of nutrients like iron, zinc, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamin, vitamin A, B, C & K etc.
The high amount of antioxidants present in seaweed protects the body from damages caused by free radicals and protect cells from their impact.
Too much production of free radicals contributes to health problems such as cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Seaweed is rich in plant compounds like flavonoids and carotenoids, which can limit the generation and effect of free radicals.
Seaweed is low in calorie content while being high in Omega 3 fats and fibre. Thus, consuming seaweed can keep you fuller for longer.
Animal studies have found that substances found in seaweed help increase production of a protein that metabolises fat effectively.
Seaweed is high in fibre content, which is a boon for gut health.
Any disbalance of good and bad bacteria in the digestive tract can lead to diseases and since the fibre in seaweed delay digestion; the good bacteria in the gut can feed on it and grow.
About 25 to 75% of the weight of dry seaweed is made of fibre.
Hormones released by the thyroid glands are responsible for growth, energy production and repairing of damaged cells.
They depend on iodine for hormones production.
Seaweed absorbs a large amount of iodine from the salt content underwater and one dried sheet can contain 25 to 1682% of recommended daily intake (RDI) of iodine.
Research suggests that consuming it can help in managing diabetes by balancing the sugar levels in the blood.
The brown seaweed used in this study contains fucoxanthin which is linked to controlling sugar levels in the blood.
It also helps with insulin resistance and managing sugar spikes after having a high-sugar meal.
Tips For Using Seaweed
You can experiment and make a number of preparations owing to the versatility of seaweeds.
They are absolutely delicious on top of being a nutrition powerhouse!
Crispy Nori- Nori makes a great savoury snack on its own. The dry and likewise crispy sheets are a great option to snack on the go.
You can even make healthy breakfast rolls to start your day with a burst of energy.
Seaweed Flakes– Sprinkle fine chopped kombu or nori with salt, black pepper as well as sesame seeds over your meals to add a kick of taste and health.
Use it in Stews– Kombu can be used in soups, stews and stocks to add a healthy savouriness. Just boil in water and strain it later.
You can also fine-chop as they are perfectly edible.
Healthy Dressing & Ingredient for Salads– Mixing seaweed powder in your salad dressing can make your salad more nutritious.
You can also chop different types of seaweed and toss together in a salad!
Spirulina Spiked Smoothie– Adding even a teaspoon of spirulina powder to your smoothies enhance their nutritional value by adding a burst of protein.