Seaweed is a very popular food that is often a part of Asian cuisine. Anyone who has had sushi has tasted this sea vegetable. Seaweed is a form of algae which grows in abundance in the sea.
There are over 10,000 species of seaweed, the most popular being nori, which is dried in sheets and commonly used to make sushi. Other very common varieties include dulse, arame, wakame, kelp, and spirulina. Seaweed has been used all over the world for culinary and medicinal purposes.
In addition to being used in sushi, these algae can be used in salads and soups, and can even be turned into a low carbohydrate noodle. Due to its health benefits, its popularity is rising in Western populations. Let’s go over some of seaweed’s benefits.
Benefit #1: Rich in Iodine
The thyroid gland is a ductless gland in the neck which secretes hormones that regulate growth and development. They also assist in repairing damaged cells in the body. Our thyroid relies heavily on iodine to undergo numerous functions. Without this element, you may begin to experience weight gain, fatigue, and even abnormal hair growth.
Currently, the recommended dietary allowance of iodine is 150 mcg per day. Seaweed has the unique ability to absorb iodine from the ocean. This means its iodine content is dependent on location and amount of sunlight the algae are exposed to. Nori, the commonly used seaweed in sushi, contains 25% of the RDA at 37 mcg. Wakame contains 93% of the RDA at 139 mcg, making it a great source of iodine.