When it comes to healthy eating, most people think of fruits and vegetables as the primary sources of essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. However, many edible seaweed varieties are packed with essential nutrients that offer many health benefits.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at wakame seaweed, one of the most popular sea vegetables that have been used for centuries in Japanese and Korean cuisine. We’ll explore the nutritional profile of wakame seaweed and its top health benefits. We’ll also share some delicious wakame seaweed recipes and tips on how to incorporate them into your diet.
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Wakame Seaweed Summary
|Plant name:||Wakame Seaweed|
|Other names:||Apron-ribbon vegetable, Asian kelp, or Japanese kelp|
|Supplements with this plant:||Prostadine for BPH and enlarged prostate|
|Main benefits:||Boosts Heart Health,|
Supports Thyroid Function,
Promotes Weight Loss,
Enhances Prostate Health,
Supports Brain Function,
Improves Skin Health.
|Similar plants:||Nori Yaki,|
|Recipes with this plant:||Goma wakame recipe,|
Wakame Seaweed Salad,
Miso Soup with Wakame Seaweed,
Wakame Seaweed and Cucumber Sunomono.
What is Wakame Seaweed?
Wakame seaweed is a type of edible seaweed that grows in the shallow waters of the Pacific Ocean. It belongs to the Undaria pinnatifida species and is native to Japan and Korea.
Wakame seaweed is known for its subtle taste and slightly slimy consistency. This type of seaweed is commonly incorporated into dishes such as soups, salads, and sushi rolls.
The History of Wakame Seaweed
The Wakame sea vegetable has been a staple food in Japanese and Korean cuisine for centuries. It has been used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments, including thyroid disorders and high blood pressure.
In the 1960s, wakame seaweed gained popularity in the United States as part of the macrobiotic diet, which emphasizes whole, natural foods and plant-based eating.
Nutritional Profile of Wakame Seaweed
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a single serving of wakame is equal to 2 tablespoons or 10g. This serving size contains 4.5 calories, 0.3g of protein, 0.9g of carbohydrates, and 0.1g of fat. Additionally, wakame is a rich source of iodine, manganese, magnesium, and calcium.
Here’s a breakdown of the nutritional profile of wakame seaweed per 100 grams according to the USDA:
- Calories: 4.5
- Fat: 0.1g
- Sodium: 87mg
- Carbohydrates: 0.9g
- Fiber: 0.1g
- Sugars: 0.1g
- Protein: 0.3g
- Manganese: 0.14mg
- Magnesium: 10.7mg
- Calcium: 15mg
- Folate: 19.6mcg
Wakame seaweed is also rich in antioxidants like fucoxanthin, which has been shown to have anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects. It’s also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential and support normal function of the heart and brain.
The Top 6 Health Benefits of Wakame Seaweed
Boosts Heart Health
Wakame seaweed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular health. Studies have also found that this seaweed may positively affect blood pressure levels, as well as cholesterol levels. This is particularly true for the systolic blood pressure.
Supports Thyroid Function
Wakame seaweed is a rich source of iodine, a mineral that’s essential for thyroid function. The thyroid gland uses iodine to produce hormones that regulate metabolism, growth, and development. A deficiency in iodine can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones.
Promotes Weight Loss
Wakame seaweed has a low-calorie count but a high amount of fiber, which can help you feel full and satisfied. Additionally, it contains fucoxanthin, a compound that animal studies have shown can reduce abdominal fat and improve insulin resistance.
According to studies, the combination of dietary fiber and fucoxanthin can lead to significant reductions in body weight. This suggests that this seaweed may be a useful addition to a weight loss plan.
Enhances Prostate Health
Wakame seaweed contains compounds called lignans, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Studies have found that lignans can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer by blocking the production of hormones that can stimulate tumor growth. One supplement that uses Wakame to enhances prostate is Prostadine by Jeremy Moore.
Supports Brain Function
Wakame seaweed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for brain health and function. Omega-3 fatty acids can help improve cognitive function, memory, and mood. They can also help protect the brain from oxidative stress and reduce inflammation, which can lead to age-related cognitive decline.
Studies suggest that Wakame’s B-group vitamins and magnesium can help support the nervous system’s normal functioning and improve the body’s ability to handle stress. Additionally, the iodine found in algae may contribute to cognitive function.
Improves Skin Health
Seaweeds are a valuable food source because they are a good source of bioactive lipids and are known for their nutritional benefits, according to studies.
Wakame seaweed is a rich source of antioxidants like fucoxanthin, which can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals. It’s also rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium, which are essential for healthy skin and bones.
How to Incorporate Wakame Seaweed into Your Diet
Wakame seaweed is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of dishes. Here are some tips on how to incorporate wakame seaweed into your diet:
Wakame seaweed is a common ingredient in sushi rolls. You can also use it to wrap rice balls or add it to nigiri sushi.
In Salads and Soups
Wakame seaweed is a great addition to seaweed salads and soups. You can use it to make a traditional Japanese seaweed salad or add it to miso soup for extra flavor and nutrition.
You can also enjoy this seaweed as a snack. Look for roasted seaweed snacks at your local grocery store or make your own by roasting dried wakame seaweed in the oven with a sprinkle of sesame seeds and sesame oil.
Top 4 Delicious Wakame Seaweed Recipes to Try
1 – Goma wakame recipe
- 2 cups Wakame Stems
- You can use 3 tablespoons of vinegar with rice or white (or even apple)
- 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of sugar or you can replace it with Stevia or Splenda.
- You can use Wheat free Tamari instead of Soy sauce. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons
- You can use either toasted or regular Sesame Oil, and the amount needed is half a teaspoon
- Add red chile according to your taste
- Garnish: Sesame seeds
- You can add one teaspoon of ginger as an optional ingredient.
- You may optionally add 1 teaspoon of garlic.
- To prepare the wakame, soak it in water for 5-10 minutes and then drain it.
- There are different ways to prepare it, such as steaming or heating it up in a frying pan on low heat to avoid browning. On the other hand, you can also have it cold.
- Combine the rest of the ingredients and then pour the mixture over the top.
Source: Big Oven
2 – Wakame Seaweed Salad
This traditional Japanese seaweed salad is a light and refreshing side dish that’s perfect for summer. You’ll need:
- 1 ounce dried wakame seaweed
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
To hydrate seaweed, follow these steps: Fill a large bowl with water and place the seaweed in the bowl. Allow it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes or until it becomes soft. Then, take a handful of the seaweed and gently squeeze out any excess water. Repeat the process until all of the seaweed has been squeezed.
To prepare seaweed, slice it into roughly 1/2-inch pieces on a cutting board. Then, season the seaweed with vinegar, oil, salt, and sugar. Taste the seaweed and adjust seasonings to your liking. Finally, sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve cold or at room temperature. You can store leftover seaweed in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Source: Serious Eats
3 – Miso Soup with Wakame Seaweed
This classic Japanese soup is a comforting and nourishing meal that’s perfect for chilly weather. You’ll need:
- 4 cups water
- 1/4 cup miso paste
- 1/2 cup dried wakame seaweed
- 1/2 cup cubed tofu
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
Bring the water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the miso paste and whisk until dissolved. Add the wakame seaweed and tofu and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until the seaweed is tender. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve hot.
4 – Wakame Seaweed and Cucumber Sunomono
This refreshing Japanese salad is a great side dish for sushi or grilled meats. You’ll need:
- For our recipe, you will need 720 ml of dashi soup stock, which is equivalent to 3 cups (1 cup being 240 ml).
- Use 3 tablespoons of miso
- Half a package of soft tofu, which is about 5 ounces or 150 grams.
- 1 teaspoon of dried wakame seaweed
- Half a cup of chopped leeks or green onions
- Put the dashi soup stock in a pot and heat it on a high flame.
- After bringing the dashi stock to a boil, reduce the heat to low and add the miso while stirring until it dissolves.
- Cut the tofu into cubes that are approximately 2 cm or 3/4 inch in size. Cut the wakame seaweed into squares that are about 2 cm or 3/4 inch as well. Add both ingredients to the soup. To prevent the tofu from crumbling, carefully transfer it directly from the cutting board to the pot.
- Once the tofu begins to move but before it starts to float, turn off the heat.
Source: Hikari Miso
Top 3 Nori Yaki supplements
Here are our top three Wakame supplements:
1 – Emerald Cove Ready-to-Use Pacific Wakame
The Emerald Cove Pacific Wakame is an edible seaweed with a delicious taste that includes elements of brininess and umami, as well as a subtle sweetness. It is also versatile and can be used in a variety of ways.
Emerald Cove Pacific Wakame Main benefits:
- 1 Natural and Gluten-Free: The Emerald Cove Pacific Wakame (Undaria pinnatifida) is cultivated in North China, specifically on nets suspended between posts that are anchored on the shallow ocean floor along the southern coast of the Shandong Peninsula.
- 2 Natural Nutrition: Wakame, which is often found in soups and salads, is a great source of eicosapentaenoic acid – an omega-3 fatty acid. Additionally, it contains high amounts of sodium, calcium, iodine, thiamine, and niacin.
- 3 Made in China: The Emerald Cove Pacific Wakame is made in China using traditional methods and the highest quality standards.
- 4 Ready to Use: You can use Emerald Cove Wakame straight out of the bag by tossing it into miso soup. Alternatively, you can soak it lightly, drain it, squeeze out the excess water, and add it to any dish you like.
Emerald Cove Pacific Wakame Price:
At $7.49, the Emerald Cove Pacific Wakame is an affordable and delicious way to enjoy the health benefits of wakame.
2 – Wakame Seaweed Flakes
The Wakame Seaweed Flakes are a great way to enjoy the benefits of wakame. They are made from pure, high-quality seaweed that’s harvested in a sustainable manner.
Wakame Seaweed Flakes’ Main benefits:
- 1 Great Quality: Enjoy delicious Atlantic wakame seaweed that is 100% pure and freeze-dried using a technique that preserves nutrients without additives. This seaweed is kept free of spoilage due to low humidity. It’s a perfect vegan, GMO-free, and cruelty-free whole food that you can savor with peace of mind.
- 2 USDA Certified Organic: The Numami baby seaweed is grown in a responsible manner in the North Atlantic. This seaweed helps in purifying the ocean, generating oxygen, and promoting sea life. It is harvested after four months to maintain its freshness and to avoid heavy metals and toxins that are commonly found in other wild seaweeds.
- 3 Grown in North Atlantic: The Numami baby seaweed is harvested in the wild from the North Atlantic. This ensures that this seaweed is free from contamination and pollutants.
- 4 Great Value: This eco-friendly bag contains 30 servings and each serving is equivalent to 25 grams of fresh seaweed, as one gram of seaweed flakes represents this amount. The harvested Atlantic Wakame is freeze-dried to retain the nutrients and eliminate 99% of its water content, which results in more seaweed and less water per gram.
Wakame Seaweed Flakes Price:
At $13.90, the Wakame Seaweed Flakes are an affordable way to get all of the health benefits of wakame.
3 – Wel-Pac – Fueru Wakame (Dried Seaweed)
The Wel-Pac – Fueru Wakame (Dried Seaweed) is a great way to enjoy the flavor and nutrition of wakame. It is made from 100% natural seaweed that’s harvested in the wild. This Japanese food is considered very healthy because it contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, and a compound called fucoxanthin. Research has shown that fucoxanthin may help to burn fatty tissue.
Wel-Pac – Fueru Wakame (Dried Seaweed) Main benefits:
- 1 Versatile: Wel Pac Wakame Dried Seaweed can be used in various dishes such as salads, vinegar-based dishes, miso soup, ramen, and more. This seaweed is also a great addition to any sushi roll.
- 2 Healthy: Wel Pac Wakame Dried Seaweed is rich in vitamins, minerals, and fucoxanthin – a compound that may help to burn fatty tissue. It also contains dietary fiber which can help promote digestion and regularity.
- 3 Made in Korea: The Wel Pac Wakame Dried Seaweed is harvested in the wild and made in Korea. The quality is ensured by experienced fishermen and strict standards.
- 4 Ready to Use: This seaweed can be used straight out of the bag without any prior preparation. Simply toss it into your favorite dish for a nutritious boost!
Wel-Pac – Fueru Wakame Price:
At $6.80, the Wel-Pac – Fueru Wakame (Dried Seaweed) is an affordable way to enjoy the health benefits of wakame. It’s a great option for those looking for a healthy and delicious seaweed alternative.
Potential Risks of Consuming Wakame Seaweed
While wakame seaweed is generally considered safe to eat, there are some potential risks to be aware of. This seaweed can accumulate heavy metals and other pollutants from the ocean, so it’s important to choose seaweed that has been harvested from clean waters. It’s also important not to consume too much iodine, as excessive intake can lead to thyroid problems, while sufficient intake tackles iodine deficiency.
Wakame Seaweed vs. Other Types of Seaweed
Wakame Seaweed vs. Nori
Nori is another popular seaweed variety that’s often used in sushi rolls. While both nori and wakame seaweed are rich in essential nutrients, wakame seaweed is higher in iodine, calcium, and magnesium.
Wakame Seaweed vs. Kombu
Kombu is a type of kelp that’s often used to make dashi, a traditional Japanese broth. Kombu is higher in iodine than wakame seaweed and is also a good source of calcium and potassium.
Conclusion: Is Wakame Seaweed Worth Including in Your Diet?
Wakame seaweed is a nutrient-dense food that offers numerous health benefits. It’s rich in essential vitamins and minerals like iodine, calcium, and magnesium, as well as antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It can help support heart health, thyroid function, weight loss, and more.
If you’re interested in trying this seaweed, there are plenty of delicious ways to incorporate it into your diet. From sushi rolls to the famous wakame salad and snacks, this seaweed is a versatile ingredient that can add flavor and that special wakame nutrition to a variety of dishes.
FAQs About Wakame Seaweed
What is Wakame in Ramen?
Wakame seaweed is a common ingredient in ramen, a Japanese noodle soup. It’s often added to the broth along with other ingredients like pork, eggs, and vegetables. This dish is a great way to enjoy the flavor and nutrition of wakame seaweed.
Where Can I Find Wakame Seaweed?
Wakame seaweed can be found at most Asian grocery stores and health food stores. You can also order it online from specialty retailers. When shopping for this seaweed, look for organic or sustainably-harvested varieties that have been harvested from clean waters.
This will help ensure you get the most nutritious and safest product available. Finally, ensure you pay attention to the storage and food safety instructions provided on the package.
How Much Wakame Seaweed Should I Eat?
It’s recommended to consume no more than 3 grams of wakame seaweed per day to avoid excessive iodine intake. Be mindful of any potential interactions with medications, as some may interact negatively if taken together. As always, it’s important to consult your doctor before adding new foods to your diet. By eating a balanced and varied diet, you can enjoy the health benefits of wakame seaweed without worrying about potential risks.