Kombu And Its Benefits
Kombu is a type of brown algae that belongs to the genus Laminaria. This nutritious kelp plays an important role in Japanese cooking as well as other Asian cuisines. Kombu seaweed can be found fresh, frozen, dried or pickled in many Asian markets. Affordable and versatile, this sea vegetable is valued for its savory taste and amazing health benefits.
Kombu seaweed varies in color from gray to dark brown. When sun-dried, it forms hard sheets from dark green to almost black in color. Kombu sheets can be processed into food products, cosmetics, or health items. The fine white powder that forms on dried kombu contains significant amounts of glutamic acid which is responsible for its mellow, savory taste – also known as “umami” or the fifth taste in Japanese cooking.
Considered one of the most important sea vegetables, kombu has high levels of iodine, potassium, iron, carotene, calcium, protein, and B vitamins. It is also a good source of Vitamin C. Kombu also contains manitol, a natural sugar, which is responsible for its sweetish taste.
Dried kombu seaweed comes in sheets, strips or shredded form. Powdered kombu is used as food seasoning or topping on rice and grains. Naturally rich in glutamic acid, this sea vegetable has a strong flavor and is used as food flavoring and food tenderizer. It is used to flavor dashi, a fundamental soup stock used in many Japanese dishes.
Kombu enhances the flavors of sushi rice, stews and marinades. When added to a pot of beans, cooking time is decreased. It softens the beans, makes them easier to digest, and gives the bean broth a silky texture.
To prepare kombu for cooking, wipe down the sheets with a damp cloth to remove some of the white powder. Avoid excessive washing as this will diminish the flavor. Some recipes call for the kombu to be soaked until softened before use.
Health Benefits of Kombu
- Rich source of minerals. Kombu seaweed is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and iodine. The significant amount of iodine it contains makes it important in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland and the prevention of goiter and hypothyroidism.
- Protection against cancer. Kombu protects the immune system and has anti-inflammatory properties. It stops pre-cancerous cells and fights cancer.
- Rich source of vitamins. In addition to minerals, kombu is also rich in vitamins A, B1 and C. Vitamin C prevents the breakdown of collagen in skin and helps keep the skin looking smooth and young.
- Detoxifying agent. Kombu and other sea vegetables are known for their detoxifying effect. Kombu binds with toxins and heavy metals and removes them from the body naturally. The chlorophyll in algae also provides vitality.
- Essential trace minerals. The body needs trace amounts of certain minerals to function well. Seaweeds contain most of these minerals and they are available in a form that the body can easily assimilate. Kombu contains important trace elements such as selenium, copper, molybdenum, nickel, boron and manganese.
You can find easy to take Kombu along with other important sea vegetables in the Emerald Sea supplement capsules. Easy AND good for you at the same time!