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Seaweed - Healthy Superfood from the Sea

Seaweed - Healthy Superfood from the Sea

Seaweeds are now considered a staple in healthy diets almost everywhere. In Japan and throughout Asia, the consumption of seaweeds has a long tradition, and they are used in the preparation of sushi, salads, and soups. Snacks made from dried seaweeds, lightly toasted or enhanced with sesame and other spices, are also available in Asian stores and delicatessen departments. What contributes to the value of these foods, and what should be considered when consuming them?

Why are seaweeds so healthy?

Algae are also referred to as the vegetables of the sea. They contain many essential nutrients such as:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin C
  • B-vitamins including Vitamin B12 - beneficial for vegans (in Nori seaweed)

Vitamin B12 is otherwise found almost exclusively in animal-based foods, which is why Nori seaweed is an ideal supplement for vegan diets. This vitamin is involved in various metabolic processes and promotes blood formation and cell renewal. All the other substances contained are also important for the body's metabolic processes.

What ingredients does algae provide for nutrition?

Each type of seaweed contains various proportions of minerals, trace elements, and vitamins. Furthermore, they have a similar basic composition. On average, 100 grams of fresh seaweed contain:

  • 90.5 g water
  • 5.9 g protein
  • 2.1 g carbohydrates
  • 0.4 g fat
  • 50 µg iodine
  • Calorific value 36.5 kcal

These proportions are naturally altered in dried seaweed. For example, they contain up to 75% dietary fiber.

Dried black algae

Supplement for pet food

If you have a dog or a cat, you can benefit your pet by giving it a well-dosed amount of kelp. This type contains a high content of substances such as phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, iron, selenium, and zinc. Additionally, they provide carbohydrates, unsaturated fatty acids, beta-carotene, high-quality amino acids, antioxidants, and more. For a dog, this supplement can optimize fur pigmentation and food utilization, promoting overall health.

What to look out for when using algae?

Seaweeds have a high iodine content. Kelp seaweed, in particular, should be consumed with caution due to its exceptionally high iodine content. Individuals with thyroid disorders, immunodeficiency, pregnant women, and the elderly should clarify whether they can tolerate the high iodine content before consuming seaweed.

Health can be jeopardized by an overdose of iodine, manifesting as increased heart rate and blood pressure. An individual should not exceed a daily intake of 200 micrograms of iodine.

Each batch of seaweed can have varying iodine content. Analytical components are often listed on high-quality and controlled products. If there is no information available, there may be a health risk, especially with less-known varieties.

Seaweed salad with avocado on a serving plate

You can eat these varieties

Edible seaweeds are known by various names, including:

  • Wakame seaweed
  • Nori
  • Kombu
  • Spirulina algae, Chlorella algae
  • Ascophyllum nodosum (Kelp)
  • Hijiki (Sargassum fusiforme)
  • Dulse (Palmaria palmata)
  • Arame (Eisenia bicyclis)

Wakame seaweed is an essential ingredient for Wakame salad and miso soup. Consuming Spirulina algae can contribute to maintaining good health, as this type not only provides essential nutrients but can also bind and eliminate undesirable substances like heavy metals from the body. The taste and texture can vary significantly between different types. Some varieties have a slightly sweet taste and a firm texture, while others have a soft, slimy consistency with a more aromatic and salty flavor.

Indispensable ingredient for sushi: nori seaweed

If you want to enjoy sushi, you can't avoid the dark Nori seaweed. This seaweed is flat-pressed and lightly roasted, giving it a paper-like structure that transforms into a soft and flavorful wrap when in contact with moist sushi rice. Nori is an ideal addition to a healthy diet.

Nori sheets have a standardized size, making them perfect for creating flawless sushi rolls. Whole sheets are used for slightly thicker Hoso-Maki rolls, while half sheets are suitable for small Maki rolls. Nori sheets can also be used to garnish Nigiri by wrapping a narrow strip around the Nigiri. They serve as a wrapper for California rolls or boats filled with caviar.

Basis for soups: Kombu seaweed

For preparing Miso soup, as well as other soups, Kombu seaweed is required. A dried sheet is boiled, and then removed from the cooking water. Kombu belongs to the category with a very high iodine content and should not be consumed directly. However, it imparts a unique, aromatic flavor to soups and sauces. If unsure about the dosage, Dashi powder can be used as a soup base instead. This powder is made from fish stock and Kombu, with careful monitoring of the dosage. Soups can also be enhanced with seaweed flour. This flour has a fine consistency and almost completely dissolves in the soup. It should be used sparingly as a seasoning due to its very aromatic taste.

Soup bowls view in the store »

Enjoy salads and snacks made from algae

Seaweed salad scores with a unique taste and many valuable ingredients. The most well-known is Wakame salad made from fresh ingredients. It is enhanced with sesame oil, sesame, a bit of sugar, and occasionally chili. This salad is ideal as a delicious appetizer or as a side dish to sashimi and a sushi platter.

Dried and roasted seaweed makes an excellent snack for nibbling. It's not advisable to serve and finish an entire pack. Instead, these crackers should be served in small quantities. They can be a great addition to nuts, fruits, or vegetable sticks to supplement additional trace elements, vitamins, and minerals. Moreover, they work well as a topping for salads, soups, or appetizers, adding an exotic touch.

Wakagame salad recipe

No. of persons2 portionsNo. of persons
Total Timeca. 15 minutes and 1 hour resting timeTotal Time
Level of difficultyeasyLevel of difficulty
DishSupplementDish
Calories150kcalCalories
Lactose-freeLactose-free
Kitchenware Kitchenware
List of ingredients
1 bag dried wakame seaweed (available in the Asia store)
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 pressed garlic clove
1/2 tbsp sugar
fresh grated ginger
some lime juice
coriander to taste
chili powder
Kochende Miss Oryoki
Preparation
Step 1

1. place the dried seaweed in a bowl, pour hot water over it and leave to infuse for approx. 10 mins.

Step 2

2. In the meantime, prepare the wakame salad dressing by mixing together the ingredients listed above. Add chili according to your preference.

Step 3

3. Drain the seaweed in a sieve and leave to drain. Then mix with the sauce and garnish with some sesame seeds. The salad tastes best if you leave it to stand in the fridge for a while.

Japanese recipes read in the magazine »
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