Fresh and dried seaweed that can be eaten like nori, hijiki, and several other types of seaweed including kombu, wakame, and arame, usually often used as an additional ingredient in the cuisines of Asian countries, including South-East Asia. That types of seaweed usually involved in some dishes such as soups, salads, stir fry, and other dishes. As for the other varieties such as dulse seaweed, dark red, also used in the same way, but this type of seaweed is more popular in Canada, Ireland, and other European countries.
Nutrition Contained in Seaweed
The types of edible seaweed do have different levels of nutrients. There is a type of seaweed with higher content of magnesium and calcium, there is also a higher content of potassium and protein. But overall, edible seaweed is offering a variety of nutrients that are essential such as vegetable protein, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Therefore, eating seaweed is extremely beneficial for a healthy body.
Among the edible seaweed, nori is considered one of the most nutritious, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Department. Nori consists of 30 to 50 percent protein. Most of the protein derived from the amino acid alanine, glutamate and glycine, which is responsible for the distinctive flavor of seaweed. Kombu contains approximately 10 percent protein.
Nori seaweed contains vitamins C, A, and vitamin B, especially folic acid and niacin. Wakame is also rich in vitamin B. On the other hand, although the kombu and nori hiziki low in vitamins comparison, but both types of seaweed is rich in minerals. Vitamins are found in fresh seaweed can generally last up to dry, but it will be much reduced if processed further.
In general, seaweed offers a very important mineral for the body such as calcium, potassium, sodium, copper, iron, and zinc. In addition, brown seaweed such as kombu, and hijiki also contain iodine. Kombu contains iron three times as much as nori. Hijiki even contains iron, manganese, and copper that is higher than kombu. Meanwhile, dulse is also rich in iron and also contains all the essential minerals that are needed to meet the nutritional needs of humans.
Seaweed is generally rich in kinds of gel-forming fibers, known as nonstarch polysaccharide. Wakame is famous because it has more fiber than most other types of seaweed. A study by researchers from Korea, Kim Min Sun et al, entitled “Effect of Seaweed Supplementation,” published in 2008, “Nutrition Research and Practice,” notes that, although the seaweed fiber is different from a fiber found in the plants that grow on the ground, but equally beneficial, such as reducing triglyceride (blood fat) and controlling blood sugar levels.
- Healthy fats.
All seaweed is known to be low in fat, but some varieties of seaweed offers a small number of healthy fatty acids omega-3 such as Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA), which are beneficial to heart health and have been proven to reduce triglycerides or blood fats, high blood pressure and inflammation associated with arthritis. Seaweed is healthy food alternatives for those who want to meet the nutritional needs of omega-3 fatty acids than fish and fish oil supplements.