One day, while Idriss was making sushi, he caught me stealing a sheet of nori. He paused and looked at me, but I was spaced out and munching on ripped pieces contentedly. Then, disturbing my peaceful snacking, he reminded me that he was planning on using the nori (as if we’d run out) with an expression that branded me as a total weirdo.
I’ve been known to do some debatably odd things, and to him, this was one of them; but I was eating it because I read years ago about the health benefits of seaweed. I had since then long forgotten of its existence, to only be briefly reminded at all-you-can-eat sushi where I often have to stop myself from ordering a third bowl of seaweed salad. [Eating it just makes me feel so good, okay?!]
So, what is nori?
Nori is the green thingy that holds your sushi together… Also known as seaweed.
More precisely, it is of the variety of red seaweed porphyra, which grows underwater.
Seaweed is a staple in Asian cuisine and diets. Typically, you’d find seaweed in soups or sushi, but there are many other uses and tricks to incorporate seaweed in our diets and reap the benefits. We’ll get to that a bit later.
♥ The Health Benefits of Eating Seaweed ♥
Seaweed is extremely nutrient-dense; it is low in calories but high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. Seaweed acts as a filter in the sea, picking up plenty of nutrients as it grows. Since it’s high in fibre and protein, seaweed is amazing for your digestion; it slows digestion down making you feel fuller for a longer period of time and the energy from what you eat gets released more slowly (aka it has a low GI).
Some of the nutrients found in seaweed are hard to find in other foods. One of those bad boys is iodine, which is added to salt in order to help with iodine deficiency. The problem with finding foods rich in iodine is that food labels don’t include iodine in the nutrition facts, so to boost your intake of iodine, you’d have to know the sources before going to the supermarket.
Iodine is very important to include in our diets; a lack of iodine can lead (obviously) to a iodine deficiency, which is dangerous during pregnancy. Not pregnant? You still want to make sure you’re getting enough iodine because a deficiency thereof can lead to hypothyroidism. Iodine is crucial in the production of the thyroid hormone; since iodine is not something our body produces, we need to include it in our diets, or else we might be subject to symptoms such as: fatigue; weakness; weight troubles (gaining or trouble losing); hair loss and/or coarse dry hair; muscle cramps & aches; depression; constipation; irritability; decreased libido; memory loss; an intolerance to cold temperatures; and, abnormal menstrual cycles.
Seaweed contains 4,900 micrograms of iodine per 1/4 ounce, and the leading highest iodine-rich food are himalayan crystal salts, at 250 micrograms per 1/2 gram serving. Eating just a bit of seaweed a day ensures you’re getting your daily dose of iodine; it’s best to “consume smaller portions over time in order to gain the health benefits.” (Source)
Incorporating Seaweed Into Our Diets
There are many ways to include seaweed into your every day meals. For example, if you’re having soup you can rip up some nori and throw it in at the last minute. If you’re looking to go out for lunch, you can opt for sushi instead of a burger. Some have been known even to crumple up sheets of nori into a powder to put into smoothies as a similar alternative to spirulina. You can even use the nori sheets to roll up fillings of your choice such as rice and beans, rice and veggies, tofu, etc…
You can make nori chips, which are a versatile and easy recipe for you to enjoy nori on-the-go without just straight-up eating sheets of it (which is actually pretty hard to chew) like I sometimes do. Imagine flavour combinations like cajun, or salt & vinegar, or really anything you can imagine! If you’d like to see a recipe for nori chips, leave a comment below and I’ll make it happen.
Thanks for reading lovelies!