Wakame

35 mins read

The origin and much of Wakame seaweed’s history is found in Asia, particularly in Japan. Native to cold temperate coastal areas of Japan, Korea, and China, in current decades wakame has actually become established in temperate regions around the globe, including New Zealand, the United States, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Australia and Mexico.

How is Wakame Farmed?

Wakame cultivation was first studied at Dalian, northeast China, by Japanese scholar Youshiro Ohtsuki who patented growing strategies in 1943. Because the mid-1960s wakame seaweed has actually been extensively farmed there at a commercial level, however it can likewise be harvested from the wild. In the Republic of Korea, cultivation of wakame began in 1964, and was mostly established, promoted and industrialised throughout the 1970s, at that stage accounting for 30% of seaweed farming production in 2013.

In China, substantial production started in the mid-1980s, mainly in two northern provinces which have actually because become the main wakame producers worldwide. Usage of this macroalgae as a seafood is divided in two classifications; the processed midribs are taken in inside China, while the sporophylls and blades are generally exported to Japan and other Asian countries.

In 1983, wakame farming was deliberately introduced into the North Atlantic in the coastal areas of Brittany and at first cultivated at three websites. Wakame cultivation is also being established in Northwest Spain.

Coming closer to home, in 2010, the New Zealand government authorized commercial harvest and farming of wakame under specific conditions– simply put, that it be harvested from a man-made structure. There is still much work to be carried out in this area as a few of the New Zealand regulations are dated and complicated. The more we learn more about wakame, the easier this ought to end up being.

Wakame as an ‘Invasive Species’– aka a ‘weed’!

Remarkably, wakame has been considered as a poisonous invasive seaweed in nations besides those where it is considered to be native. It is believed that wakame was first presented to foreign waters through the ballast water of freight ships from Asia, as the spores (gametophytes) consisted of in the water can make it through long-distance journeys.

In New Zealand, wakame remained in truth stated an unwanted organism in 2000 under the Biosecurity Act 1993. It was first discovered in Wellington Harbour in 1987 and it is thought it likely gotten here in our water as hull fouling on shipping or fishing vessels from Asia. Wakame is now found throughout our marine environment in New Zealand, from Stewart Island to as far north as Karikari Peninsula. Despite the fact that it is an invasive seaweed, in 2012 the government allowed for the farming of wakame in Wellington, Marlborough and Banks Peninsula.

Wakame spreads out in two methods: naturally, through the millions of tiny spores released by each fertile organism, and through human activities, the majority of commonly via the hull of shipping vessels or marine farming equipment. It is a highly effective and fertile types, which makes it a severe invader. Nevertheless, its impacts are not well understood and can vary depending on the area.

Is Wakame a Good Friend or Enemy?

So as we learn about wakame, do we see it as a friend or enemy? The downside of wakame is that it is intrusive and can alter the structure of communities, particularly in areas where native seaweeds are absent. By forming a thick canopy, it shades the sub-canopy, and can impact the growth of slower-growing native seaweed types. For example, in New Zealand the native coralline algae which are very important for paua (edible marine snail) settlement were partly displaced by wakame, resulting in decreased paua quantities.

Moreover, this intrusive seaweed can affect not only the biodiversity of flora, however also the animals neighborhoods which are based upon these phytogroups. Wakame can grow on reefs which offer sanctuaries for fish, and slowly lead to habitat loss of fishes that harp on the reefs. Studies performed in the Nuevo Gulf revealed that the elimination of wakame from invaded websites resulted in an increase in the biodiversity at those places.

Research shows that the wakame seaweed or sea vegetable has the prospective to become an issue for marine farms due to the fact that it increases labour and harvesting costs, due to fish cages, oyster racks, scallop bags and mussel ropes ending up being covered. This growth can likewise limit water circulation through cages.

On the other hand, Pacific Harvest is proud to offer a tidy, fairly gathered wild wakame, which is densely nutritious and useful for health. The accountable harvesting and proper drying of wakame, and subsequent use of it as an incredibly useful cooking area pantry staple, implies we rid our oceans of a ‘bug’, lower expenses of removal, and add to a circular economy. [2]

Wakame Nutrition Information

One serving of wakame (2 tablespoons or 10g) offers 4.5 calories, 0.3 g of protein, 0.9 g of carbs, and 0.1 g of fat. Wakame is an outstanding source of iodine, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. This nutrition information is provided by the USDA.

  • Calories: 4.5
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 87mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.9 g
  • Fiber: 0.1 g
  • Sugars: 0.1 g
  • Protein: 0.3 g
  • Manganese: 0.14 mg
  • magnesium: 10.7 mg
  • calcium: 15mg
  • Folate: 19.6 mcg

Carbohydrates

Wakame, like all seaweed, is really low in carbs. A normal serving determining 2 tablespoons provides less than 1 gram of carbs. But even a more considerable 1/2 cup (100-gram) serving provides just about 9 grams of carbs. Most of the carbohydrate is starch. There is less than 1 gram of fiber and less than 1 gram of sugar in a serving of wakame.

The approximated glycemic load of wakame is absolutely no if your serving size is 2 tablespoons. The 100-gram serving has a glycemic load of 4, making it a low glycemic food.

Fats

There is almost no fat in wakame seaweed. Even the larger serving has less than 1 gram of fat, and most of that is healthy polyunsaturated fat.

Protein

Wakame can increase the protein material of your preferred soup, salad or meal, depending on just how much you utilize. A little serving has less than 1 gram of protein, but the bigger 100-gram serving offers 3 grams of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Wakame is an excellent source of iodine, providing about 42 micrograms per gram of seaweed. A 2-tablespoon serving would provide 420 micrograms of iodine, or almost three times the advised daily intake for grownups.2 Other minerals in wakame include manganese, magnesium, and calcium.

Wakame likewise offers vitamins. Each 2-tablespoon serving of wakame offers 5% of your recommended daily intake of folate. It also supplies smaller sized amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin E, and pantothenic acid.

Calories

One 10-gram serving of wakame supplies 4.5 calories, making wakame a low-calorie food.

Summary

Wakame is a low-calorie and mineral-rich food that delivers manganese, magnesium, and calcium. It offers minimal carbohydrates, protein, and fat, however boasts healthy levels of fucoxanthin and iodine. [3]

What research study says?

Wakame is high in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. It is a low-calorie, low-cholesterol, low-fat food including a reasonable quantity of fucoxanthin, a marine carotenoid with anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative properties. The majority of its health benefits originate from the rich supply of vitamins and minerals in its fragile green leaves, which benefit one’s health.

Much like other seaweeds, wakame is low in carbohydrates. In 100 grams of raw wakame seaweed, 9.14 grams of carbs exist, generally from starch and fibre. Additionally, wakame is a non-starchy vegetable that can likewise fit into the ketogenic diet plan. As per research study, Wakame’s glycemic index (GI) is low at simply 4 in 100 grams serving, making it appropriate for individuals with diabetes.

There is a trace of fat in 100 grams of Wakame seaweed, and the fat content of Wakame is 0.64 grams per 100 grams. And the fat is mainly healthy poly-unsaturated fat (0.218 grams).

Research reveals that the protein content of wakame is relatively high compared to other seaweeds (3.03 grams per 100 grams). Therefore, wakame can enhance the protein content of your favourite soup, salad or meal, depending on how much you utilize.

Information shows that wakame is high in several micronutrients, with niacin (1.6 mg), potassium (314 mg), magnesium (107 mg), sodium (872 mg), beta-carotene (216 µg), and folate (196 µg) topping the list.

Besides the nutrients mentioned above, it consists of a small quantity of pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium. Both potassium and magnesium add to decreasing your blood pressure. In addition, potassium counters the results of high sodium in the blood with urination and assists launch tension in the capillary.

Due to the high amount of sodium, wakame is an excellent source of iodine, offering more than the recommended day-to-day intake for grownups.

Health Benefits of Wakame Seaweed

Rich in Antioxidant

Research study suggests that antioxidants improve the immune system, preserve nerve cells and keep the capillary healthy. In addition, they neutralise free radicals that cause oxidative cell damage and safeguard the body versus macular degeneration and illness like heart problem and cancer.

Wakame seaweed is high in anti-oxidants such as fucoxanthin, the primary carotenoid in brown algae. Research studies show that it has 13.5 times the antioxidant potential of vitamin E. In regards to cellular membrane defense, fucoxanthin surpasses vitamin A. While the body doesn’t constantly soak up fucoxanthin well, eating it alongside fat can assist.

Wakame contains a variety of valuable phytochemicals, consisting of flavonoids, folate and beta-carotene, along with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K. As per studies, they likewise protect the cells in your body from complimentary extreme damage. However, these advantages still require more research study since there is insufficient human study to support these assertions. But, at the same time, specialists believe that consuming wakame has no negative effects and you can extract fucoxanthin quickly from wakame.

Skin and Hair Care

Wakame offers numerous essential elements, including vitamin C, needed for the function of numerous body functions. Wakame supplies 3 mg of vitamin C in 100 g. In addition, research studies show that wakame seaweeds assist produce collagen, a component of skin tissue used for making and fixing damaged skin and organ tissues. The antioxidants in wakame help revitalize, moisturise, and smooth the skin. In addition, it helps thicken hair and nails by contributing to keratin synthesis.

Routine intake of wakame avoids early signs of ageing, such as scars, acnes, wrinkles, and age spots, due to ample amounts of minerals, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and dietary fibre.

Anti-inflammatory

Wakame’s anti-oxidants protect the body from oxidative stress and unstable particles called complimentary radicals. Wakame is likewise rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce total swelling. These inflammations can result in chronic illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal problems. In addition, wakame contains polyphenols, which act as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant representatives that lower the risk of diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and swelling.

Helps in Weight-loss

According to the research study, fucoxanthin, a carotenoid found in wakame, help in controlling fat deposition and triglycerides. The compound also assists people reduce weight. Fucoxanthin likewise helps in reducing white adipose (fatty) tissue effectively. However, most of research study on wakame and weight loss is animal-based. But, studies show that fucoxanthin increases fat oxidation in overweight mice, particularly harmful stubborn belly fat. Fucoxanthin is identified for its fat-burning abilities considering that it avoids fat development in cells and speeds up fat oxidation.

Regulates Thyroid Hormones

Thyroid hormonal agents aid in development, metabolism, protein synthesis, and cell repair work, manage metabolic process and are necessary for brain advancement during pregnancy and infancy.

iodine is important for thyroid gland function. Wakame is a great source of iodine, with approximately about 42 micrograms per gram. Research study suggests that iodine consumption for grownups should be 150 micrograms per day. In addition, numerous research studies prove that routine usage of wakame seaweeds positively associates with healthy thyroid function. However, studies also show that excessive consumption may have harmful effects.

Bear in mind that insufficient iodine can raise TSH (Thyroid Promoting Hormonal agent), resulting in goitre or an enlarged thyroid gland. It’s generally the preliminary sign of hypothyroidism. According to research study, a shortage in this crucial micronutrient can result in hypothyroidism, a disorder in which your thyroid can not produce enough thyroid hormonal agent to support typical function. Additionally, iodine deficiency reveals signs like weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, and dry, broken skin. However, people with hypo or hyperthyroidism should seek advice from a doctor prior to eating wakame or seaweed.

Lowers the Risk of Diabetes

Fucoxanthin exerts an anti-diabetic effect in overweight individuals. An animal study found that wakame lipids minimize hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, or hyperleptinemia. Even in people, wakame’s fucoxanthin has actually shown an anti-diabetic effect. Nevertheless, it needs more human research.

A research study discovered that eating wakame can help stabilize blood glucose and insulin levels since it contains 107 mg of magnesium. Research likewise shows that routine intake of wakame might help prevent prediabetes. Moreover, research study suggests that the dietary lipids in wakame help resolve insulin resistance brought on by a high-fat diet. So if you’re searching for a diabetic-friendly food, wakame is an outstanding option to consist of.

Anti-Cancer Properties

Wakame has abundant fucoidan, a bioactive sulfated polysaccharide. Based on research, fucoidan offers lots of useful homes, consisting of antioxidant and antiviral properties. Wakame’s most widely known health benefits are reducing cancer cell development and expansion. In addition, scientists discovered that fucoidan from wakame had anti-cancer residential or commercial properties. Fucoidan’s sulphate material is accountable for its anti-cancer residential or commercial properties.

iodine in wakame seaweeds likewise aids in cancer cell death or apoptosis. However, excessive iodine consumption might have unfavorable results such as thyrotoxicosis.

Wakame can likewise assist manage the inflammatory action in cancer clients. Hence, it is a component in some anti-inflammatory medications. Nevertheless, some studies show contradictory outcomes. For instance, based on a research study, increased seaweed intake results in a higher threat of thyroid cancer, perhaps due to excessive iodine. However, it requires more research study to see how wakame impacts human cancer cell production.

Minimize Cholesterol Levels

Cholesterol contributes in multiple aspects of health, from hormonal agent generation to fat absorption. On the other hand, excess Cholesterol levels can block arteries and lower blood flow, increasing cardiac arrest and stroke chances. Nevertheless, wakame can assist lower Cholesterol and increase heart health.

According to a study, the fucoxanthin in wakame induces the liver to produce more DHA, a kind of fat that reduces LDL (bad) Cholesterol. Despite these appealing outcomes, limited to animal studies, extra research needs discovering how wakame can affect human Cholesterol levels.

Enhances the Bones

calcium preserves the strength and integrity of our bones. The high calcium content (150 mg) in 100g of wakame aids bone development and repair work.

Wakame likewise contains a significant quantity of vitamin K, which benefits bone health, bone metabolic process, and general health. It likewise assists maintain calcium in the bone matrix by raising protein levels. According to research, increased vitamin K intake helps minimise fractures and bone loss.

Wakame also serves as an anti-inflammatory due to omega-3 and polyphenols, preventing joint swelling and keeping you healthy and active far into old age.

Improves Energy

Wakame consists of a reasonable quantity of carbs (9.14 g), proteins (3.03 g), and iron (2.18 mg), which assists enhance energy. In addition, the high magnesium content (107 mg) of wakame help in transforming dietary carbohydrates into energy. As a result, magnesium can assist effectively transfer energy and produce and use protein, which is essential for each bodily function related to development and repair. Therefore, getting adequate magnesium through wakame can assist in preserving energy levels and prevent tiredness.

Lower Blood Pressure Levels

High blood pressure affects the heart and blood arteries, weakening heart muscle and increasing the danger of cardiovascular disease. According to particular research studies, consisting of wakame in your diet can assist lower high blood pressure and improve heart health.

According to animal studies, wakame extracts can considerably lower angiotensin I-converting enzyme activity (ACE), linked to high blood pressure advancement. In addition, wakame also lowers systolic high blood pressure when given up single or several doses. Nevertheless, more human research study is needed to identify how wakame impacts blood pressure in the wider population.

Ways to Utilize Wakame

There are lots of wakame recipe options with a number of different ideas for including this into your diet. Here are a few wonderful and healthful methods to integrate this unique ingredient into your diet plan.

Japanese Wakame Salad

Serves: 2 portions

Preparation Time: 5mins

Soaking: 10min

Ingredients

  • Dried seaweed (Wakame type): 28g (1 tbsp)
  • Shallots, finely sliced: 1
  • Soy sauce: 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Rice vinegar: 1 tbsp
  • Mirin (sweet rice wine): 1 tbsp
  • Sesame seed oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Cayenne pepper: 1 pinch
  • Ginger Root, grated: 1 tsp
  • Sesame seeds [optional]: 1/2 tablespoon

Approach of Preparation

  1. Rinse the seaweed and soak it in a minimum of 5 times its volume of water in a container. Allow resting for 10 minutes, or up until rehydrated and tender.
  2. In a salad meal, add the remaining active ingredients (excluding the sesame seeds).
  3. Squeeze the seaweed carefully to eliminate extra water. Add it to the salad bowl.
  4. Toss, taste, and change flavoring as required. Serve with sesame seeds as a garnish.

Nutritional Value per Serving

Wakame Soup

  • Serves: 8 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 mins
  • Soaking: 10min

Active ingredients

  • Wakame, cut into bite-size pieces: About 2 cups
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cut into bite-size strips: 1 cup
  • Garlic, grated: 6 cloves
  • Reduced-sodium tamari: 2 tablespoons
  • Toasted sesame oil, divided: 3 teaspoons
  • Low-sodium chicken broth: 8 cups
  • Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

Technique of Preparation

  1. Soak wakame seaweed in a big container of cold water for about 30 minutes. Two or three rinses later on, drain. Cut into small pieces if essential.
  2. Add the chicken, garlic, tamari, and two tablespoons of oil to a big blending container. Enable marinating at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  3. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high flame, heat one teaspoon of oil. Cook, constantly stirring, up until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside or about 1 minute. Cook for 3 minutes more, stirring often more with the drained wakame.
  4. Add broth; bring to a boil over high heat, scraping off any foam on the surface. Further, you need to cook for thirty minutes at low heat. Serve it right away, and leading with sesame seeds.

Nutritional Value per Serving

Important Tip

Prior to including dried wakame seaweed to the soup, rehydrate it in water. Including dried wakame seaweed directly to the soup can increase the saltiness. [4]

Properties of wakame seaweed

The fresh wakame, not dried, has high concentrations of water, hydrates, and proteins. The dried seaweed has the very same nutrients but more focused. It likewise has very couple of calories and fats with a high satiating impact due to its high water content.

This kind of algae has a high content of calcium, magnesium, and iron. It likewise supplies iodine, various vitamins of group A, B and C and, specifically, folic acid.

The wakame likewise has natural pigments very helpful for the skin and body. For instance, it has a high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory impact. Moreover, it has neuroprotective and speeding up properties of metabolism.

By way of summary, the most remarkable homes of Wakame undaria are:.

  • It consists of water, hydrates and proteins, and a couple of calories
  • High content of calcium, magnesium, iron, folic acid, and iodine
  • Vitamins of group A, B, and C
  • Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
  • Neuroprotector
  • Metabolic process accelerator [5]

Wakame vs. Nori (Plus Other Seaweed)

Before we start comparing some common seaweeds, let’s answer this question: Is seaweed a vegetable?

Technically, seaweed is a kind of algae, but seaweeds are typically referred to as “sea veggies” and often dealt with as vegetables for cooking purposes.

What consumes seaweed? In addition to human beings, seaweed (in its natural surroundings) is typically taken in by sea urchins, sea snails and plant-eating fish, such as the bunny fish and parrot fish.

There are 3 main ranges of seaweed typically used as food: wakame, nori and kombu seaweed. Nevertheless, these are definitely not the only edible seaweeds.

Other consumable choices, consist of

  • kelp (available as fresh or dried kelp, as a supplement or in kelp powder kind)
  • ogo seaweed (generally used in dried type for poke dishes)
  • dulse seaweed (commonly used as fresh, raw dulse or dulse flakes)

While wakame is eaten fresh or dried, nori is generally offered in dried type. What is nori? It’s the most common papery seaweed wrapping for sushi rolls, and unlike wakame, it is never ever soaked prior to serving.

Nori is best eaten twisted around other items (like sushi) or toasted.

Kombu is a member of the kelp household, and like wakame, it’s a brown seaweed. Kombu is frequently used to make dashi, a tasty broth standard to Japan and used to make miso soup.

Kombu and wakame have numerous overlapping health benefits and a comparable flavor profile, but wakame is slightly sweeter. Both kombu and wakame are typically utilized in seaweed salads and soups.

Kelp comes from the brown algae class (Phaeophyceae), and kombu is a specific range of kelp that’s very typical in Japanese, Chinese and Korean food. It can be used in salads, soups and smoothies, and there’s also kelp sushi.

As with “land veggies,” sea veggies likewise have unique private health benefits along with many overlapping advantages. In general, wakame, nori, kombu and kelp are all distinctly various yet share resemblances in their flavor profiles, uses and possible health benefits. [6]

Where to Buy Wakame

Many Asian markets will have wakame, but other supermarkets may have wakame in the worldwide aisle, or in a section dedicated to sushi, where the sushi rice, soy sauce, and nori are stocked. Another alternative is to discover it online. Wakame is most frequently discovered in little bags in its dried form, but the dry salt-preserved kind will be in the refrigerated section, most likely in an Asian market rather than the common grocery store. [7]

Adverse Effects of Seaweed

The seaweed benefits and adverse effects go hand-in-hand. A benefit to a single person may be a side effect to another.

The high-fiber material in seaweed can assist food digestion, but it can likewise trigger gastrointestinal pain. Each gram of fiber adds up, and a number of servings of seaweed daily can easily press you over the advised day-to-day allowance of fiber. Excessive fiber can cause bloating, gas and constipation.

People with health issues connected to the thyroid should be particularly cautious of overconsuming seaweed because of its high iodine material. According to a March 2014 research study released in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, excess iodine usage does not have major repercussions in the average individual. However, people with particular risk elements connected to thyroid diseases– such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism– may discover that excessive iodine can impact their thyroid function and thyroid medications.

One adverse effects of consuming seaweed is related to the environment rather than the actual food. Most of the world’s seaweed is grown in China, however Korea and Japan are likewise major manufacturers of seaweed. There is concern that seaweed grown on Japanese coasts is contaminated by radioactivity arising from the Fukushima nuclear mishap in 2011. A January 2014 study published in the Journal of Plant Research found infected samples of algae. Nevertheless, researchers do not encourage restricting your seaweed consumption due to potential radioactive direct exposure.

Another adverse effects related to the environment is heavy metal direct exposure. According to a February 2018 research study published in Scientific Reports, red seaweed contains considerably higher levels of copper, nickel and other metals compared to brown seaweed. Though researchers discovered heavy metals like lead and mercury, they report the threat level is low. Nevertheless, they advise the regular security of metals in seaweed.

When it comes to seaweed and seafood, examining the source of your products will assist prevent contamination. The health dangers are low, but getting to know where your food comes from belongs to being an informed, health-conscious consumer. [8]

Dose

The right amount of wakame intake may vary from one person to another. For the very best recommendations, you should speak with a nutritionist, a dietitian or another health specialist.

Typically, the majority of people who regularly eat wakame eat small amounts at a time, especially if the wakame is mixed in a soup or in sushi rolls. Beware not to consume too much wakame, as it might result in unfavorable side effects, as pointed out above. [9]

The Bottom Line

Wakame is a highly nutritious, edible seaweed that can include a variety of vitamins and minerals to your diet for a low variety of calories.

It’s also been related to different health advantages, including lower Cholesterol levels, decreased blood pressure, enhanced weight-loss and reduced blood sugar level.

Most importantly, there are several ways to enjoy this delicious seaweed as part of a balanced diet plan, making it easy to make the most of its distinct health-promoting homes. [11]

References

  1. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wakame
  2. https://pacificharvest.co.nz/seaweed-blog/about-seaweeds/about-wakame/
  3. https://www.verywellfit.com/wakame-nutrition-facts-calories-carbs-and-health-benefits-4772400
  4. https://www.healthifyme.com/blog/wakame-seaweed/
  5. https://www.klaubeauty.com/en/wakame-seaweed-properties-benefits-and-usage/
  6. https://draxe.com/nutrition/wakame/#Wakame_vs_Nori_Plus_Other_Seaweed
  7. https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-wakame-seaweed-3376826
  8. https://www.livestrong.com/article/470501-what-are-side-effects-of-eating-seaweed/
  9. https://druggenius.com/health/wakame-uses-benefits-and-side-effects-of-this-seaweed/
  10. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/wakame
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