Seaweed is a versatile and tasty vegetable that can be used in a broad spectrum of ways. There are more than 2,500varieties of seaweed, which include everything from the algae that forms on ponds to kelp and other marine plants. Seaweed is usually classified according to its color—brown, red, green, and blue-green.
In Japan, seaweed is also used to enhance flavors in a variety of dishes, due to its high natural MSG content. Kombu, a type of kelp (a brown plant that is one of the most common seaweeds), is used to flavor soup stocks. Wakame, another type of kelp, is used in Japan in soups and stir-fries. Nori, the algae used to make sushi rolls.
Boosts thyroid health
Most seaweeds are a rich source of iodine, which the thyroid gland needs to produce the hormones that regulate body metabolism.
Helps build muscles
A ½-cup (113-g) serving of raw nori has a mere 40calories yet provides about 6g of protein, with no fat or cholesterol.
Boosts the immune system
Beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, boosts the body’s resistance to disease while aiding vision, bone growth, and cell function. A ½-cup serving of raw nori provides 5,200 IU of vitamin A as beta-carotene.
Prevents folate deficiency
A ½-cup serving of kelp contains almost 200mcg (micrograms) of folate (50% of the adult Recommended Dietary Allowance) which the body uses as folic acid to build DNA and red blood cells. Because folate is not stored in the body in large amounts, you must eat it regularly to maintain levels of it in the blood.
Your body requires healthy fats as an essential part of a balanced diet. Seaweed provides heart-healthy fats called omega-3 fatty acids. It contains omega-3 fatty acids as two avocados. This type of fat helps to raise healthy HDL cholesterol levels, while lowering harmful LDL cholesterol levels. Omega-3 fatty acids also help reduce inflammation in the body.