What is Wakame?
Undaria pinnatifida or Wakame as it is more commonly referred to is a seaweed used frequently in Japanese cuisine. Although it is considered one of the most invasive species of seaweed in the world, Wakame has numerous health benefits.
The Japanese have been using the seaweed in their soups, salads and side dishes, such as tofu, for a long time. Farmers in Japan have been growing this seaweed for decades and it is now starting to gain popularity in other parts of the world, such as France.
Wakame doesn’t just add flavor to food, but the delicate green leaves are also bursting with nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
What are the Health Benefits of Wakame?
Wakame is A Terrific Food for Weight Loss
The nutritious seaweed contains a minimal amount of fats, carbohydrates and calories making it a terrific food choice for those seeking to lose weight. Another reason as to why this seaweed is so popular in trying to control obesity is because it contains something called fucoxanthin.
As scientists have recently discovered, fucoxanthin has been proven to prevent the accumulation of fat in the cells and also aid in fat oxidization. According to scientists, this compound gives the seaweed its unusual brown color that is rarely found in vegetables and is also responsible for photosynthesis.
Wakame is Heart Healthy
Wakame is known to assist with cholesterol and heart problems. Sine it inhibits fat production and accumulation, it also stimulates the liver to produce more DHA, which is actually a good fatty acid that lowers the amount of cholesterol in the body.
Bad cholesterol is responsible for heart disease and artery blockage. So ingesting this seaweed can help to prevent against various types of heart disease, attacks and strokes.
Due to its high content of iron, Wakame is ideal for increasing circulation. The increased circulation from the high level of iron helps to boost energy, increase the health of your skin and also speed up the healing process within your body.
Wakame is a Cancer Fighter
It is believed that Wakame can prevent the formation of cancer due to its high level of iodine. More and more people are turning to seaweed as a food choice for its high content of iodine and as scientists have proven, the lignans contained in most seaweed, especially Wakame have been linked to lower levels of breast cancer.
Wakame is a Multivitamin and Mineral Powerhouse
Wakame contains Magnesium, which is a multi-functional mineral in the body. This mineral allows you to transfer energy efficiently, regulate hormones and utilize and produce protein that is essential for healthy muscle growth and repair.
Folate has been recommended for years to pregnant women, since it is directly connected to significantly lower chances of neural, tubal defects in babies. Scientists have discovered that Wakame contains large amounts of folate and pregnant women would benefit from including this folate rich seaweed in their diet. But is imperative that pregnant women consult with a medical professional before taking a wakame supplement or any other supplement.
Calcium is imperative for good bone health. According to researchers, Wakame contains 15 times more calcium than milk, which helps to speed up repair and growth of the bones in the body. Good bone health is vital in order to avoid bone diseases such as osteoporosis.
Wakame Balances Hormones
Iodine is also known to be helpful when it comes to balancing your hormones. It also helps to create and regulate the thyroid gland that is responsible for various functions in the human body, such as the production of energy in the body.
Wakame Helps the Skin
The seaweed is also extracted and purified when used in skincare products. It is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals for the skin since it contains, high levels of sodium, iron and potassium. Being that wakame is such a big part of the diet and present in skincare products is perhaps one of the reasons that the Japanese have youthful looking skin.
The Side Effects of Wakame?
Although Wakame has many health benefits and is extremely good for overall health, it must also be noted that it contains significantly high levels of sodium. The average serving of seaweed salad contains 691 milligrams of sodium that is very high.
If you add soy sauce you increase the sodium content in your salad. Ingesting high levels of sodium is related to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
The iodine content in Wakame is good for the proper functioning of the thyroid, however, it should be ingested in small quantities, too much iodine will send your system into iodine overload and this will in turn decrease the functioning of the thyroid.
Ingesting too much seaweed could increase levels of heavy metal. As with all food items, caution must be taken when including it into your diet. Wakame is an excellent addition to soups, salads and variety of side dishes.