The oceans are vast and widely unexplored water surfaces. They are a constant source of nutritional substances. Amongst the nutrients is the edible seaweed.
Also known as Zicai, Nori is the most recognizable seaweed in the world. After all, it is used to make your favorite dish –sushi. Still, aside from the occasional sushi, the majority of people do not eat seaweed on a regular basis.
One thing that is on-trend nowadays is seaweed farming. It is considered the least environmentally damaging agriculture, and it produces a large amount of seaweed. The seaweed is then used for food, animal feed, and biofuels, all of which represent a transformational change in global proportions.
Aside from the environmental benefits, eating seaweed has many advantages for your health. Keep reading to find out which nutrients are in the Nori Seaweed and can you eat Nori raw!
What is Nori?
Nori is an edible seaweed that is made from red algae. It is often used to wrap rolls of sushi or rice balls. This type of dried seaweed is commonly used in Japan and Korea.
Nori Seaweed is typically available in thin sheets that are cut into smaller pieces which are used to wrap small portions of rice, garnish, or any type of sushi dish.
This popular seaweed originates from red algae called Pyropia, including P. yezoensis and P. Tenera. It is recognizable by its strong and distinctive flavor.
Nori is sold in packs and serves many culinary purposes. Since the sheets that are made from nori seaweed easily absorb water, if you plan to store it for a long time, you may need a desiccant.
Nutrients in the Nori Seaweed
Seaweeds are known for their significant amount of nutrients. Specifically, Nori Seaweed offers one of the broadest ranges of nutrients of any food. Because the chemical composition of seaweed is close to the composition of the human blood plasma, they serve as a magnificent blood purifier.
Before we answer whether you can eat Nori raw, it is essential to list the nutrients in the Nori Seaweed.
Nori is a great source of iodine, hence if you add it to your diet at least three times a week, you will keep the thyroid in check. On the plus side, eating Nori can reduce cholesterol levels.
We all know that iodine is a crucial micronutrient. Because our bodies cannot make iodine by themselves, eating Nori can enhance the production of thyroid hormones.
Seaweeds are the most concentrated source of iodine. For instance, only 5 grams of Nori will satisfy over 50% of your daily iodine intake requirements!
However, try not to exaggerate. The recommended daily iodine intake is 150mg, and if you go over the upper limit of 1,000 mg, you can cause thyroid dysfunction.
Sodium is essential for the proper function of the muscles and the nerves. It helps maintain healthy blood pressure. Almost every dietary guideline recommends 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day. However, going over that number may put your body at risk for health complications.
One sheet of Nori has 3 milligrams of sodium. Although it seems insignificant, many nori sheets contain additional flavor hence additional sodium intake.
Even though sodium is good for your body, try not to add too much soy sauce or salt when eating seaweed. High sodium intake puts your body at risk for heart or kidney disease.
DHA stands for docosahexaenoic acid, which is a type of Omega-3 acid. DHA is commonly found in seafood products such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and of course, seaweed.
Nori Seaweed is a vegetarian source of DHA. Fatty acids like DHA promote the proper development of the nervous system. Also, this omega-3 acid supports brain and vision health.
Vitamins and other nutrients
One of the main vitamins in seaweed is vitamin K. It serves as an anticoagulant and allows the blood the flow freely to the heart, lung, and brain hence helping protect from blood clotting.
Beyond that, Nori is rich in vitamins A, B, C, D, E, niacin, folic acid, and taurine. Thanks to vitamin C, Nori is rich in iron content.
In addition, Nori contains carotenoids, flavonoids, and several types of alkaloids that have antioxidant properties. The Chlorophyll pigment that makes the plants green is a powerful and natural detoxifier that can help you eliminate toxins from your body.
Last but not least, Nori is loaded with fiber and protein. One hundred grams of Nori contain 24 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein!
How to Add Seaweed to Your Diet?
Though it is rich in vitamins and nutrients, you can’t compare Nori to other green plants. Also, you cannot consume it like you consume spinach, for instance.
Think of Nori as a natural iodine supplement and try to add only small amounts to your everyday meals.
You can sprinkle little seaweed into your salad or soup. Or maybe add Nori to your hummus or nut cheese to make an awesome low-carb and high protein snack. Also, seaweeds come as a crispy, original snack, just like a casual bag of chips!
Conclusion: Can You Eat Nori Raw?
In general, when eaten in a moderate amount, Nori is safe and provides a lot of healthy nutrients to the body. Still, if you exceed the normal amount, it may have hazardous side effects.
Research published in May 2019 stated that seaweed could be a source of heavy metals such as arsenic. However, small amounts of Nori are low on toxic substances.
So, the answer to the question ‘can you eat Nori raw’ is yes, but in moderate amounts and not that often.
Nutritionists recommend not to eat seaweed regularly.
Raw Nori has a stronger taste, and it is a bit chewy with a thick texture. Although it is a great addition to salads, rice dishes, and stir-fries, it is unsuitable for preparing sushi.