1. Health
Send to a Friend via Email

Seaweed's Health Claims

The Nutritional Properties of Seaweed

By

Updated August 31, 2008

Seaweed is a potential wonder crop, with significant health benefits. For ages, the Chinese, Japanese and other Asian cultures have eaten foods wrapped in dried seaweed. Victoria Beckham is said to drink seaweed smoothies to get ready for Spice Girls performances.

Health Claims of Seaweed

It seems that no matter how healthy and nutritious a food is, marketing people and health fanatics always have to overdo the claims. That’s true of seaweed, where health claims boast it: These claims are largely unfounded. It is a shame, because the nutritional composition of seaweed makes it a great food to work into your diet, and it doesn’t need these exaggerations and hype.

Why is Seaweed Healthy?

Seaweed (obviously) grows in the ocean, where it picks up a range of minerals and other nutrients. It is also a fairly simple food, making it easy for the body to break down and release the healthful substances inside, providing a variety of vitamins and minerals. Seaweed also has no fat or other unhealthy component, and it is usually prepared without any oils or other naughty additives. The way I see it, the optimal diet focuses on a variety of fruits and vegetables. Since seaweed grows in the ocean, it contains certain vitamins and minerals that aren't as available in land-grown vegetables. This extra variety makes seaweed a good food to mix into your diet.

How to Eat Seaweed

The easiest way to eat seaweed is by using dried seaweed wrapper, the kind you find served in sushi restaurants. You can find packs of these wrappers (called "nori") in most grocery stores. The seaweed comes in thin dried sheets and can be used to wrap most anything. You can also break up these wrappers and sprinkle dried seaweed flakes onto a salad or anything else to increase the nutritional value. When eaten like this, it is almost tasteless. Another place to find seaweed is in many Asian soups, such as miso soup (just watch the sodium content).

Back to Strange Foods for Longevity

Sources:

Bee, P. Let's eat seaweed. The Times Online. Sept. 23, 2007.

USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20 (2007).

Related Video
How to Choose and Prepare Seaweed

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.