As an island nation surrounded by rich sea life, seaweed has been eaten in Japan from ancient times. Seaweed is used in many Japanese dishes and of course sushi is one of them! Nori is probably the most well-known seaweed to people outside of Japan. Also, kombu can’t be missed from Japanese food as kombu is used to make dashi stock (a staple ingredient used in authentic Japanese food).
There are some other, less known seaweeds, like wakame (a popular topping for miso soup), hijiki and mozuku are also often eaten in Japan.
Due to its nutritional content, seaweeds are also often referred to as sea vegetables. Four mutual elements that all seaweeds contain are lodine, minerals (like calcium), vitamins and dietary fibre. Seaweed also contains 12 kinds of vitamins, such as β-carotene and vitamin c.
Also, the fibre that’s contained in seaweed is special and it’s called ‘water-soluble dietary fibre’. The main components of this are ‘fucoidan’ and alginate. This fibre helps the body breakdown carbohydrates, lowers cholesterol, and helps prevent high blood pressure. It is also known to reduce the risk of cancer. This fibre gives the seaweed its slimy texture.
Seaweed also contains ω-3 fatty acid (omega 3 fatty acid) that reduces LDL cholesterol and increases good HDL cholesterol and it’s good for the blood.
Seaweed is truly a superfood, containing vitamins, minerals and fibre that are difficult to find in other foods.