Chinese and Japanese cultures have been eating seaweed since 300 B.C. And with good reason: seaweed is a great source of vitamin A, C, E, K, and B-vitamins. It’s also rich in many minerals including iodine, selenium, calcium, and iron.
Not to mention, recent studies reveal that the fiber in seaweed may help prevent fat absorption due to the polysaccharide, alginate. And if that isn’t news enough to eat it, other studies have suggested that ingestion of seaweed may reduce the risk of breast cancer due to its anti-estrogenic effects, as well as improve menstrual symptoms.
But with all of those health benefits, you do need to be careful about how much seaweed salad you eat because it can be high in sodium and sugar. Sodium is an electrolyte that attaches itself to water – the more sodium you eat, the more water you retain which prevents weight loss and increases swelling. Word to the wise – too much of anything is probably not a good thing.
Below are a few healthy ways to eat seaweed and reap its many benefits:
Hijiki seaweed looks like black linguine and tastes great as an addition to vegetable stir-fry or tofu dishes. Plus, it will give you a calcium and phosphorous boost and it’s good for bone health.
Nori seaweed is what you’ll typically find at Japanese restaurants in their rolls, soup, and rice balls. It contains high levels of fiber, protein and cancer-fighting lignans.
Because seaweed comes from the sea, it is naturally high in sodium (as mentioned above). For a more heart-friendly seaweed salad, prepare it yourself using low-sodium soy sauce instead of regular and eliminate the salt and sugar. (Ingredients include: wakame seaweed, sesame oil, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame seeds, and rice vinegar)
Like traditional vegetables, seaweed is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol and is high in fiber. Low-fat, high-fiber diets can prevent diabetes and heart-disease and promote weight loss. If you are getting bored of your typical veggies, spice up your life with atypical ones, like seaweed. Sprinkle dried seaweed on top of your favorite vegetables or salad dishes, roast it in the oven on its own and top with some sesame seeds, or stir-fry with mushrooms and bake it on top of your favorite fish. The possibilities are endless!
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