With the 95-degree plus weather in New York City where I live, I have naturally been gravitating towards cool foods. Wakame has thus become much more of a staple in my diet, which is quite excellent since this seaweed is so healthy! Wakame is not only extremely high in nutritional value but is also extremely low in calorie and minimal in fat (only contains about five calories per serving and is said to actually help burn fat). It helps to prevent heart disease, cancer, diabetes, blood clotting, and obesity. Wakame has beneficial effects on stroke, hypertension (high blood pressure), viral infections, tumors, oxidation and inflammation while promoting a good immune system. Wakame is a great addition to any diet as there are few things we can eat that are so replete with nutrients and health benefits.
What is Wakame?
Wakame is an edible brown seaweed or kelp common in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese cuisines.
Health Benefits of Wakame: Wakame is a good source of the following:
1. Magnesium. This mineral is critical in the contraction and relaxation of muscles, function of certain enzymes in the body, production and transport of energy, and the production of protein.
2. Iodine. Iodine is needed for strong metabolism of cells - the process of converting food into energy. It also maintains the balance of the thyroid gland and is needed for the production of thyroid hormones.
3. Calcium. Wakame easily allows for the absorption of calcium into the human body. Each 100 grams of raw wakame contains 150 milligrams of calcium. Calcium is needed for strong healthy bones and the prevention of osteoporosis.
4. Iron. We need iron because it is essential for the production of red blood cells and the prevention of anemia.
- Vitamins A, C, E, and K. These vitamins are all amazing for skin health and repair as well as immunology.
- Vitamin D. Promotes the absorption of calcium for healthy bones and enhances the nerve, muscle, and immune systems.
- Riboflavin (Vitamin B2). We need riboflavin to use the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat. Riboflavin helps us use these nutrients for energy in our bodies for growth and is also necessary for red blood cell production. Riboflavin functions as an antioxidant and works in the body with other vitamins such as niacin, folate, and vitaminB6.
6. Folate. Helps the body make new cells and is especially important for pregnant women.
7. Lignans. Thought to play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly breast cancer.
How can we make wakame?
There are many different ways of re-hydrating wakame, which you need to do before eating it. Here is one:
"In another bowl, soak the wakame in lukewarm water for 10 minutes. It will swell and become a rich, glossy green. Drain the water, then plunge the seaweed briefly into boiling water. Rinse immediately with cold water to intensify the color. Trim away any rough stems, then coarsely chop the wakame."
Here is a simple wakame salad recipe I concocted at home:
What You Need
- Re-hydrated wakame prepared in rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, and lemon
- Baby Arugula
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
How to Make?
Place all the ingredients artfully on a plate: I like to make a bed of arugula with a centered pile of avocado and walnuts and then two piles of wakame on the side. Drizzle olive oil and squeeze lemon over it all. Grind salt and pepper for flavoring.
You might also like to try this delicious wakame salad recipe I found in The New York Times.