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Dried Seaweed Benefits: Why Snacking On Nori Sheets Is A Healthy Choice

Dried Seaweed Benefits: Why Snacking On Nori Sheets Is A Healthy Choice

When discussing vegetables, we don’t often mention seaweed, probably because they are not as available as the other fresh produce like tomatoes, cabbage, and garlic. But, with the emergence of dried seaweed, like nori and kelp, the benefits of these healthy sea veggies are within reach.

Seaweed: The Sea Veggies You Don’t Want To Miss Out On

Seaweed comes from large plants in or near saltwater. There are thousands of seaweed varieties, and while many of us are familiar with the green ones, it’s worth noting that a lot of edible seaweed types are mild-brown to deep-red in color. These kinds often have a sulfur-like or spicy flavor because of the vitamins, minerals, and protein they contain¹.

Nowadays, people have more access to the health benefits of dried seaweed. For instance, nori (the one used to wrap sushi) and dried kelp (kombu) are now available in many grocery stores.

What are the potential health benefits of dried seaweed?

Potential Benefits of Dried Seaweed

When consumed in moderation, you may obtain these science-backed dried seaweed benefits:

1. They are powerhouses of nutrients

As thin and weightless as they look, dried seaweed packs loads of nutrients.

For instance, a manufacturer of yaki nori (roasted nori) said on their website that 100 grams of their product have 188 calories. It also has over 40 grams of protein, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 3.7 grams of fat, and 530 mg of sodium. Also, nori contains various vitamins(A, B1, B2, C) and minerals like iodine potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium. Dried nori is also rich in “softer” fiber, which is essentially easier to digest.

The nutrition facts even boasted that 2 sheets of nori can give you enough vitamins A, B1, and B2 for the day, while 1 sheet will give you enough iron. That means nori can help you reduce the risk of anemia².

2. Dried seaweed helps address iodine deficiency

Experts say one of the best sources of iodine is seaweed, like nori, kombu, kelp, and wakame.

However, please note that the amount of iodine in seaweed varies depending on the type, and, of course, the processes it undergoes during manufacturing.

To give you an idea of how great of an iodine source dried seaweed is, reports say that 10 grams of dried nori contain 232 mcg of iodine. That amounts to 155% of the iodine you need daily³.

3. They might help reduce cholesterol

One animal study noted that nori dietary supplement reverses the negative effect of dietary cholesterol. This means nori might help decrease cholesterolemia.

Note that cholesterolemia is a significant risk factor for many cardiovascular diseases.

4. Dried seaweed may aid in weight loss

Like mentioned earlier, nori is rich in fiber. Now, reports say high fiber intake triggers delayed stomach emptying⁵. This essentially means one will feel fuller for longer, which helps prevent overeating.

Harnessing The Potential Benefits of Seaweed

As healthy as dried seaweed sheets are, many people find it hard to just eat them as they are. If you want to add kelp or nori to your diet, consider the following:

  • Prepare a kombu drink by soaking pieces of kombu in water for 15 minutes before simmering for around 10 minutes. Turn the heat off, remove the pieces of kombu, and then add pieces of ginger6.
  • Crush some nori pieces and sprinkle over salad or soup. Alternatively, you can crush the sheets and mix them with sea salt for seasoning dishes.
  • Use nori to wrap your salad or tofu.
  • Shop for fresh edible seaweed and use them as you would the typical veggies. However, please note that seaweed types have different flavors.

Reminders

Dried seaweed, like kelp and nori, appears to have several health benefits due to their nutrient content. However, please be careful with your choice of dried seaweed. As much as possible, refrain from eating overly seasoned products that might have added salt.

Learn more about Healthy Eating here.

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Sources

1. Chapter 2 – Food Science Basics: Healthy Cooking and Baking Demystified: The Science behind Healthy Foods, Cooking and Baking, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123918826000029, Accessed November 11, 2021

2. Nutrition Facts, http://www.nagainori.co.jp/english/about_seaweed03.html, Accessed November 11, 2021

3. Iodine, https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-HealthProfessional/, Accessed November 11, 2021

4. A Nori but not a Konbu, dietary supplement decreases the cholesterolaemia, liver fat infiltration and mineral bioavailability in hypercholesterolaemic growing Wistar rats, https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/nori-but-not-a-konbu-dietary-supplement-decreases-the-cholesterolaemia-liver-fat-infiltration-and-mineral-bioavailability-in-hypercholesterolaemic-growing-wistar-rats/134303C51421BF68A30E46BA9BEF7C91, Accessed November 11, 2021

5. Emergent Sources of Prebiotics: Seaweeds and Microalgae, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771980/, Accessed November 11, 2021

6. Kombu, From the Sea, https://www.umassmed.edu/nutrition/blog/blog-posts/2020/2/kombu-from-the-sea/, Accessed November 11, 2021

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Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated 3 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Lagorza