Updated: November 06, 2018
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Wakame Seaweed: Health Benefits Of The Super Food And Two Easy Recipes!

Wakame. You've probably heard of it and might have even tried it if you have any interest in Japanese cuisine, but you perhaps have never heard of its amazing health benefits and may not know how to use it. This article will present the health benefits of the algae as well as super easy and authentic Japanese recipes made with wakame.

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Wakame

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First things first, if wakame is a completely foreign thing to you, here are the basics. Wakame is a type of brown edible seaweed that has been farmed and consumed in Japan for over 1,000 years (it dates back to the Nara Era of Japan). It's harvested from the sea, then often dried to be sold as a long preserving ingredient.
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If you've had it before, it most likely came in something that looks like this, basically a miso soup. Wakame has a special kind of sea flavor that contributes to adding that deep taste the Japanese call "umami". Umami derived from seaweed is an important element of many kinds of soup stocks in Japan. Although wakame is often found in soups, it can also be a good ingredient to add to different kinds of dishes. More on recipes in the section below!

Health Benefits

But before we move on to some easy recipes, let me tell you about the health benefits of this common kelp (actually, one of the most invasive seaweed species on earth). Once you know them, you'll probably feel much more willing to try out the recipes.
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It Helps You Burn Fat And May Prevent Cancer

The wakame contains something called fucoxanthin, which is a rare molecule responsible for the pigmentation of brown algae that increases metabolic activity that burns fat cells. Wakame is low in calories too, so it's a great food if you are trying to lose some weight. Furthermore, some research indicates that fucoxanthin may have some cancer-preventing properties.

Rich In Many Essential Vitamins

By eating wakame, you will get a good dose of vitamins A, C, D, E and K. All of these vitamins are off these are essential in keeping your body healthy. They have benefits that range from helping blood circulation and clotting to helping your skin rejuvenate. In oriental medicine, its properties of blood purification have been recognized for a long time.

Contains Iodine And Calcium

Iodine plays an essential for the functioning of the thyroid gland, and the thyroid gland is a vital organ of the body that helps regulate the body's metabolism. Calcium is essential for maintaining a healthy bone structure. Many women experience a decrease in calcium while pregnant, so it's an excellent food to have during pregnancy.

Rich In Omega 3 Fatty Acid

Vegetarians should take particular note of this because wakame is one of the few non-animal product that contains a good amount of Omega-3. Omega-3 is a kind of oil vital for brain functions, and that some studies indicate may help in improving mental and cardiovascular health.

Recipes

Now that you know the amazing health benefits of the wakame, you may be wondering how do you actually consume it. Its uses are virtually limitless but here are some super easy recipes. Below are two of them: miso soup and wakame salad.
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More than likely, what you buy will be the dried version of the product such as the one pictured above. It simply needs to be rehydrated to be consumed.

Miso Soup

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Ingredients

Miso paste - one Tbsp per cup of water
Soft tofu - to taste
Dashi (fish stock) - if using granulated dashi, about 1 tsp per 2 cups, otherwise as indicated on the product. Dashi may already be included in the miso. You can omit the dashi if you are vegan.
Wakame - to taste
Green onions - to taste
Wakame - to taste

Simply add all the ingredients to some water that you heat to its boiling point. Once it has started boiling, immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about three to five minutes, until the miso paste has dissolved entirely and the wakame has rehydrated. You're done!

Aside from the miso and dashi, the amount of ingredients you put in your miso soup is really based on personal preference. If you want something more filling, add lots of tofu. If you want something with more nutritional, add a lot of wakame that you can cut into small pieces while it is dried.

Wakame Salad

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Ingredients

Dried wakame - 100g
Sesame oil - 1 Tbsp
Vinegar (preferably rice vinegar) 2 Tbsp
Sugar - 1 Tbsp
Soy sauce - 1 Tbsp
Sesame seeds - to taste

First, you'll need to rehydrate your wakame, so simply put it in water until it gets back to its original form. Then, cut the wakame into bite-sized pieces or in slices. Add every ingredient to a bowl and mix well. You're done! This kind of salad is often served as a side dish in Japan.

Lastly...

There is a wide variety of ways you can use wakame so be creative with this ingredient! Hope you've learned something about this healthy Japanese seaweed and that you'll enjoy trying out some recipes with it.
tabikamome
Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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