What is wakame and why should we eat it?
Wakame is a type of edible seaweed that has been cultivated in Japan and Korea for centuries. In addition to bringing a unique taste and texture to soups and salads, wakame is low in calories but high in several nutrients that are essential to health!
If you are not already a seaweed lover, wakame is an amazing food to introduce into your diet and to expose to your gut! It contains vitamins and minerals such as Iodine, Manganese, Folate, Magnesium, and Calcium. It also contains vitamins A, C, E, and K, iron, copper, and phosphorus. In ¼ cup of wakame, you will find 0.1g of fiber!
Wakame is very high in iodine. In fact, ¼ cup of wakame contains 28% of the recommended daily intake of iodine. Researchers have found that thyroid and gut health go hand in hand– iodine absorption takes place in the gut and then goes to the thyroid, which supports efficient movement of food through the digestive system. Sufficient iodine is essential for optimal thyroid function, as often thyroid and intestinal diseases coexist; gut dysbiosis has been regularly found in those with autoimmune thyroid diseases. The composition of the gut has a big influence on essential nutrients and their availability to the thyroid. Those with thyroid or intestinal diseases have a more difficult time absorbing iodine and those who have a low iodine intake are at greater risk of getting thyroid diseases and intestinal diseases.
Eating wakame is a delicious and great way to ensure that you are getting the right amount of iodine. It is a natural food source from the ocean, and wonderful food to introduce to your gut microbiome. Not only does wakame contain lots of iodine to support thyroid function, but it also contains iron which is also important for thyroid function. Wakame is a perfect food for thyroid function, but compounds contained in wakame can potentially contribute to a longer lifespan and anti-aging.
Ways to eat it
Roast wakame in the oven with sesame oil, salt, pepper, and other seasonings to make a delicious crunchy seaweed snack!
Add wakame to your grain bowls!
Make a healthy and delicious cucumber and wakame salad.
Recipe: Miso Soup with Wakame
Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup green chard or another sturdy green, chopped
1/2 cup green onion, chopped
1/4 cup firm tofu, cubed
3-4 Tbsp white miso paste (fermented soybean paste)
1 sheet dried wakame, cut into large rectangles or small pieces
2 pinches kelp flakes
Place vegetable broth in a medium sized saucepan and bring to a low simmer.
Add wakame and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
In the meantime, place miso (starting with the lesser end of range) into a small bowl, add a little hot water and whisk until smooth. This will ensure it does not clump. Set aside.
Add green chard, green onion, and tofu to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat, add miso mixture, and stir to combine.
Taste and add more miso, add the kelp flakes, or a pinch of pink salt if desired.
Serve warm. This recipe tastes best when fresh.
Heal with each meal!
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Frey, M. (2021, October 3). Wakame Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Verywell Fit.
Knezevic, J., Starchl, C., Tmava Berisha, A., & Amrein, K. (2020). Thyroid-Gut-Axis: How Does
the Microbiota Influence Thyroid Function? Nutrients, 12(6), 1769. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12061769
Link, R. (2018, October 10). 8 Surprising Health Benefits of Wakame Seaweed. Healthline.