The Nielsen’s 2015 Global Health & Wellness Survey found that 88 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for healthier foods. The poll found that many people are drawn to the concept of utilizing their food to manage their health. (1) For many people, this means adding in more superfoods, such as seaweed.
A recent poll found that consumers are willing to pay more money for healthy foods due to increased understanding of how these foods impact their health!
Seaweed provides numerous health benefits and is a staple in Japanese cuisine. Wake seaweed is rich in vitamins and minerals that can help support cardiovascular health, maintain hormonal balance, strengthen bones, improve circulation and promote skin health.
An older study from the University of California found that wakame may lower the incidence of breast cancer and mortality for postmenopausal women. The health benefits associated with wakame don’t stop there, consider the following 10 health benefits! (2)
Ten healthy benefits from eating wakame!
- Diabetes: Wakame contains fucoxanthin which has an anti-diabetic effect. A 2009 study from Japan found that fucoxanthin rich wakame had an anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effect on obese mice. Wakame added to a high fat diet caused the body to suppress body weight.(2)
- Burns Fat: Another Japanese study found that wakame promotes fat burning due to its ability to promote DHA production in the liver, which helps decrease bad cholesterol. Wakame also helps encourage fat oxidation and reduces abdominal white adipose tissue.(2)
- Balance Hormones: Wakame is a good source of manganese, iron and calcium, all of which help balance hormones. Manganese has been shown to help reduce PMS symptoms in women as well as improve infertility.(2)
- Strengthen Bones: Wakame provides 15 percent of daily value of calcium which can help prevent osteoporosis.(2)
- Decrease Risk of Breast Cancer: Traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine has long used seaweed to treat tumors. People who consume seaweed regularly have been found to have dramatically lower rates of breast cancer. A 2013 study introduced wakame into the diet of American postmenopausal women. Fifteen women participated int he study, five of which had no history of breast cancer and 10 of which were breast cancer survivors. Wakame was found to lower the uPAR protein that were higher in postmenopausal women. This protein have been found to influence cell surface signaling, call adhesion, and growth factor communication and responsiveness in breast tissue. It is believed that wakame’s ability to lower these receptors explains the correlation between wakame and lower breast cancer incidence and mortality.(2)
- Healthy Pregnancy: Wakame is a good source of folate or vitamin B12. Folate is needed for synthesizing DNA, producing new cells and supporting nerve and immune function.(2)
- Lower Blood Pressure: A 2011 study conducted on healthy Japanese preschoolers found that girls who consumed a higher seaweed intake had significantly lower systolic blood pressure readings.(2)
- Lower Cholesterol: Wakame stimulates the liver to produce DHA, which helps reduced the amount of harmful cholesterol int he body. (2)
- Fight’s Iron Deficiency: Wakame was found to increase the production of red blood cells and helps with the metabolic enzyme process that the body utilizes to digest proteins and absorb nutrients from food.(2)
- Improve mental health: Wakame is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which helps fight depression and reduce anxiety among other important physical health benefits.(2)
Lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and balance hormones with seaweed salad!
If you are seeking to increase your wakame intake, try eating more miso soup or seaweed salad. Rather than eating out, try making this healthy seaweed salad recipe by Marc Matsumoto.(3)
Seaweed Salad Recipe:
- 30 grams (1 ounce) dry mixed seaweed
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon non refined sugar (you can substitute a 1/2 tablespoon agave)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger juice
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 scallion, finely chopped
- Put the dry seaweed in a large bowl and fill it with cold water. If you like your seaweed crunchy, soak it for 5 minutes, if you like it more tender, soak it for 10 minutes.
- To make the dressing, combine the rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar, salt and ginger juice in a small bowl and whisk together.
- Drain the seaweed and use your hands to squeeze out excess water. Wipe out any excess water in the bowl, and then return the seaweed along with the dressing and sesame seeds. Toss thoroughly to combine. Plate the salad and garnish with scallions. (3)
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