Like many other non-Asian people, you must be familiar with seaweed just because you have been to a sushi bar.
However, can seaweed become a part of your everyday menu?
Is it healthy?
How to cook it?
These and other questions might come to mind of those, who want to vary their diet and add something exotic to their meals.
Although, we are all interested in the secret of beauty and longevity Japanese people can boast of. In this article, we are going to present a number of facts about seaweed and reasons to eat it.
Rich and low-calorie nourishment
There are many types of seaweeds, so describing the nourishment of each and every one would be not easy. However, all of them are calorie-wise and contain less salt than their taste may suggest. If you are trying to reduce the amount of salt you consume, then you should consider replacing a saltcellar with a bowl of seaweed.
Nutrition experts claim that seaweed contains more nutrients than most ground vegetables.
You can get a sufficient amount of iron, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B12, and vitamin K from a small portion of seaweed. Also, most types of edible sea plants contain a great amount of protein and amino acids so they can compete with beef and chicken.
Thus, it’s not very likely that you will eat the amount of seaweed that would be enough to cover the need for protein, but this is still a pleasant fact for vegetarians.
The other element present in seaweed is fiber. Only five grams of seaweed cover 15% of your daily need for this nutrient.
Fiber is beneficial for our health in many ways. First, it improves digestion and reduces cravings. This element gives a long-lasting sense of fullness so this might be an option for those, who are trying to lose weight and control the amount of calories they consume daily.
Fiber is a great source of energy that will help you control your appetite. What is more, some experts claim that fiber can reduce risks for heart attacks and different kinds of cancer.
Different types of seaweeds – different nutrients
As we have already mentioned, there are various types of seaweeds. The most widely-used ones are:
- Brown algae – this one is used to prepare dashi (special flour for Japanese soups);
- Red algae – this is famous nori, used to wrap the rolls;
- Green algae – sea lettuce otherwise.
These types of seaweeds are the heart and soul of Japanese dishes. People use them to garnish soups, make salads, and bring out dish flavor. There are millions experiments you can make with them.
Today, seaweed becomes more popular in the USA and the trend for Japanese food is one of the reasons of this to happen. It shows up in different forms, which are not limited to sushi.
For example, you can see seaweed snacks on supermarket shelves, which are a perfect replacement for unhealthy potato chips.
Still, processed food contains harmful elements like sodium, so one shouldn’t overdo with them as well. If you are a vegan, you should try algae oil, which might be a perfect option for those who don’t eat fish and meat.
This is non-animal fat that contains healthy acids, which are good for your hearth.
Natural source of antioxidants
Antioxidants serve to make reactive substances of your organism called free radicals less harmful. If they are too active, then they can damage your cells, however, antioxidants regulate this process. This might be the case for people, who suffer from diabetes and heart problems.
Seaweed is a source of vitamins C, E, and A, which serve as antioxidants and protect your organism from cell damage caused by free radicals.
Brown algae has the highest antioxidant capacity, therefore, a wakame salad is a good option for those who need to clean their organism a bit.
This plant includes such element as fucoxanthin, which protects cells even more efficiently than vitamin A. While there are supporting elements that work together and have a beneficial effect on your organism, there is one nuance.
Be aware that fucoxanthin is not always absorbed by the organism without fat, so make sure to include some non-animal fat to your meals as well. Otherwise, your attempts to improve your health with the help of seaweed will be less successful.
But on the minus side…
There is one significant problem about seaweed. Despite the fact that it is a source of healthy nutrients, it can also be harmful.
The reason is that some plants serve as a natural filter for the environment, where it grows. The most dangerous are heavy metals like aluminum, silicon, tin, lead, and cadmium.
Therefore, those plants that grow in a specific environment can bring serious harm to one’s organism. Korean and Japanese healthcare representatives issue the risk of such types of seaweed, but most of them are still available in shops and restaurants.
The other types of sea plants absorb a high amount of iodine, which is not recommended to people who have problems with hormones.
Those types of seaweed that contain vitamin K, which interact poorly with anti-coagulants. This can be problematic for people with kidney and heart diseases.
In Asian countries, seaweed is more like a side dish that is consumed in moderate amounts along with other products.
It is a great replenishment for your meals, but not a superfood, just like an essay writing service, which is a perfect life-saver for students, when used wisely.
Eating salads twice a week or sushi rolls won’t do any harm, however, eating an entire bowl every day is too much. Limited amount of seaweed is a perfect addition to your everyday meal, but you should avoid overdoing with it because of the micro-elements described above.
So eat seaweed, make your diet more diverse, but don’t forget that enough is as good as a feast!
A small bowl of chuka wakame salad, roll with salmon wrapped in nori, and a small sprinkle of seaweed in your soup are perfect. Consider this resource of energy and healthy elements as a part of your menu and feel fit!