Seaweed: It’s not the most appetizing word, and it usually conjures up images of something slick and slimy in the water or littering the sand on the beach. But for those who enjoy eating it with sushi and those who farm it in our oceans, seaweed offers many benefits.
The edible kind of seaweed, like nori or kelp, provides nutrients as it’s full of calcium, fiber, iron and antioxidants. Seaweed farming in the U.S. benefits the economy by creating more jobs; our lakes, rivers and oceans reap the reward from the growth of more seaweed, which helps to filter pollution.
At Temaki House, we use nori (dried seaweed) to wrap our temaki and sushi rolls, which adds a briny flavor and crisp texture to our delectable concoctions. To debunk the idea that eating seaweed is gross, we invite you to consider the following:
What is Seaweed?
Seaweed is actually algae that grows in our oceans, lakes and rivers, and there are about 10,000 different seaweed species.
Nori (the dried seaweed used to make sushi rolls and temaki cone-shaped sushi) comes from red algae called Porphyra. Kelp (the blanched seaweed often used as a spinach or kale substitute or sometimes as noodles) is a larger seaweed that comes from brown algae called Laminariales.
While abundantly grown in China, Japan and Korea, more seaweed farms are popping up in U.S coastal cities as ocean farmers discover the many benefits of growing seaweed. Often called a “zero-input crop” because it requires no fertilizers or freshwater, seaweed is also used as animal feed, a binding agent for toothpaste and fruit jelly, a softener in organic cosmetics and skin-care products, and even shows promise as a source of biofuel.
What are the Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed?
Seaweed is full of calcium, fiber, and protein. One sheet of nori contains as much fiber as a cup of spinach and more omega 3 fatty acids than a cup of avocado — all at less than 10 calories per sheet. It’s also rich in iodine, iron and vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, niacin, and C.
Ever wonder why the Japanese rank No. 1 for longest life expectancy and longest healthy life expectancy in the world? A key factor to their longevity is diet, and their consumption of algae contributes greatly to the country’s 3.2% obesity rate. The U.S., in comparison, is much worse off with an estimated obesity rate for adult men at 32.2% and 35.5% for women.
A 2010 study found that algae can actually reduce the rate of fat absorption by almost 75 percent. It seems pretty clear that the Japanese are onto something with their regular consumption of seaweed.
How Can I Try Seaweed?
Let the chefs at Temaki House win over your taste buds with our savory-tasting nori, wrapped around the sushi combination of your choice. It’s the healthiest meal you’ll eat all week.