Wakame Seaweed Nutrients And Benefits

Alaria esculenta, also called Atlantic wakame, is a popular sea vegetable that often finds its way into soups and broths.  This dark, greenish-brown seaweed is found in the coastal areas of the northern regions of the Atlantic Ocean.  It is a traditional food of the inhabitants of Ireland, Scotland, Greenland and Iceland.

Wakame is sometimes also called dabberlocks, badderlocks, or winged kelp.  The seaweed has a large central rib and wavy membranes on either side.  A strip of alaria or wakame in a pot of soup increases the mineral and nutritional value of the food considerably.

Wakame seaweed is traditionally dried although it can be eaten raw as a salad. The sea vegetable is an important ingredient in miso soup.  The nutrient composition of wakame is similar to that of kumbo and other kelps.

Nutrients in Wakame/Alaria

Wakame is rich in calcium and contains many different vitamins, particularly Vitamin A and B vitamins.  It is extremely high in dietary and soluble fiber.  It also contains enzymes, chlorophyll, beta carotene, iodine, iron, and protein.  Wakame seaweed is rich in fucoxanthin, a substance that is said to promote weight loss, control blood glucose levels, and fight cancer.

While the Japanese variety of wakame is often cooked before it is dried, Atlantic wakame is sun-dried in its natural state, possibly preserving more of its nutrients.

Wakame in the Diet

Wakame is a traditional ingredient in miso soup.  It also goes well with other vegetables. Wakame seaweed can be made into a salad or stir-fry dish.  It is also good with rice dishes.

Wakame can be found in Asian food stores or specialty markets where it is often sold in dried form.  Dehydrated wakame seaweed should be stored away from light in an airtight container.  When cooked, the wakame dish should be kept under refrigeration.

Wakame or alaria is flavorful and nutritious.  It is similar to Japanese wakame in appearance, flavor and nutrition but needs to be cooked longer.

Health Benefits of Wakame

  • Rich in minerals.  Wakame seaweed is rich in iodine, calcium, iron, and many trace minerals that the body needs to function properly.
  • Fight cancer.  Studies show that fucoxanthin in wakame may help prevent colon cancer as well as certain kinds of breast cancer.
  • Regulate blood sugar level.  Wakame helps regulate insulin and maintain blood sugar levels.
  • Aid in digestion.  High amount of dietary fiber in wakame prevents constipation.
  • Boost the immune system.  Wakame in the diet boosts the immune system and reduces the severity of herpes outbeaks.
  • Improve cardiovascular health.  Wakame may help lower blood pressure, resulting in better cardiovascular health.

You can find wakame in an easy to consume form along with several other important sea vegetables. Check out Emerald Sea for details.

Categories : Sea Vegetables

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