Seaweed has long been a staple of Japan, which is one of the longest living cultures in the world. Is there a connection? In particular, the benefits of wakame algae are rich in various vitamins and minerals; They provide a great nutritional boost while supporting the cardiovascular system, maintaining hormonal balance, strengthening bones, improving circulation and promoting skin health. Some research suggests that the benefits of wakame algae may reduce the incidence of breast cancer and mortality among postmenopausal women; It is not surprising that Japanese marine farmers have been cultivating wakame for hundreds of years.
Also, like many marine vegetables, wakame algae add a delicious component to a variety of foods, but it has recently gained popularity due to its many health benefits.
10 Benefits of Wakame Seaweed: The Seaweed Superfood:
1. Reverse the Symptoms of Diabetes:
An important component in the benefits of wakame algae is fucoxanthin, it exerts an antidiabetic effect; the anti-obesity and antidiabetic effects of lipids of fucoxanthin-rich wakame algae were tested in a group of obese mice, this study showed that these algae can significantly suppress body weight. Before treatment with wakame, the mice showed signs of hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia, but the addition of wakame algae to the diet normalized these conditions. The researchers concluded that wakame algae has the ability to prevent diabetes, related disorders and obesity by reversing insulin resistance due to a high fat diet.
2. Promotes Fat Burning:
The fucoxanthin present in the benefits of wakame algae promotes the burning of fat within the fat cells of animals; It is believed that fucoxanthin fights fat in two ways: it encourages the action of the protein that causes the oxidation of fats and is found in the type of fat surrounding the organs. It also promotes the production of DHA in the liver, which helps lower bad cholesterol or LDL. Fucoxanthin also reduces the weight of abdominal white adipose tissue in rats and mice, making it one of the best foods to burn fat.
3. Help Balance Hormones:
The benefits of Wakame algae provide in addition to manganese, some iron and calcium, three of the minerals that help balance hormones naturally. Manganese and calcium help improve the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome; because manganese helps with hormonal regulation and shows antioxidant activity, wakame algae can also function as a natural infertility treatment.
4. Strengthen the Bones:
One hundred grams of wakame algae provide 15 percent of your daily value of calcium, which is essential to prevent osteopenia or osteoporosis. Calcium-rich foods help increase bone growth and accelerate bone repair, while calcium deficiency occurs easily because we lose the mineral through the intestines, kidneys and skin. Osteoporosis is a common feature of aging; It involves the loss of bone that begins in women at the time of menopause and in men at 55 years of age. It can lead to an increase in fracture rates, which is why it is so important to get enough calcium in your diet.
5. Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer:
There is a small body of research that suggests that there is a relationship between seaweed and a lower risk of breast cancer; In traditional Chinese medicine and Japanese folk medicine, seaweed is used to treat tumors.
“People who eat algae regularly, especially in Japan, have dramatically lower rates of breast cancer”.
In 2013, the impact of the introduction of the benefits of wakame algae on the diet of postmenopausal women was evaluated; 15 healthy postmenopausal women were recruited for the three-month clinical trial; Five of the women had no history of breast cancer (they served as a control group) and 10 were breast cancer survivors. Algae consumption reduced concentrations of the urokinase plasminogen activator receptor, a protein that is present in several physiological sites and is generally higher among postmenopausal women. It is known that the concentration of uPAR influences cell surface signaling, adhesion to calls and communication and response of the growth factor in breast tissue. The researchers believe that the ability of wakame seaweed to decrease these receptors may help explain the lower incidence of breast cancer and mortality among postmenopausal women in Japan. There is no doubt about it, science is supporting these incredible benefits of wakame algae and more studies are being carried out to evaluate its effectiveness as a cancer treatment or a preventive measure.
6. Support a Healthy Pregnancy:
Folate or B12 is an essential vitamin present within the benefits of wakame algae; It is necessary to copy and synthesize DNA, produce new cells and support nerve and immune function. Folate is known to be one of the most critical vitamins or a healthy and vibrant pregnancy. For pregnant women, folate deficiency is especially risky because it can cause neural tube defects such as spina bifida, anencephaly, limb malformations and cardiac complications. Because folate is needed to copy DNA and build new cells, it is vital that pregnant women consume enough folate foods, such as wakame algae, to decrease the risk of developmental problems.
7. Reduce High Blood Pressure:
Several studies have investigated whether the benefits of wakame algae have the ability to naturally prevent high blood pressure; One study found that treatment with wakame algae significantly reduced systolic blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Another study conducted in Japan admitted that the wakame diet can have beneficial effects on hypertension. A study was conducted in 2011 and examined whether seaweed could affect blood pressure in children. Healthy Japanese preschoolers, aged 3 to 6, measured blood pressure and pulse before and after a three-day period that involved seaweed consumption. Blood pressure measurements, complete diet and height and weight records reported by parents for 223 boys and 194 girls were obtained. The researchers found that girls with higher algae consumption had significantly lower systolic blood pressure readings. The results suggest that algae intake was negatively related to diastolic blood pressure in boys and systolic blood pressure in girls, demonstrating that seaweed could have beneficial effects on blood pressure among boys.
8. Reduce Cholesterol Naturally:
Fucoxanthin present in most of the benefits of wakame algae has another function: it stimulates the liver to produce DHA, which helps reduce the amount of harmful cholesterol in the body. Therefore, it is an excellent food to reduce cholesterol. One study found that dry wakame seaweed dust altered the activities of enzymes involved in the metabolism of fatty acids in the liver in rats. Rats that were fed diets containing wakame powder had lower levels of triacylglycerol, suggesting that seeweed wakame is useful as a food to prevent hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia means that there are too many lipids or fats in the blood, this leads to high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which can lead to the development of dangerous pests and blockages.
9. Good Source of Iron:
The iron in the benefits of wakame algae increases the production of red blood cells and helps with the metabolic enzyme processes that the body carries out to digest proteins and absorb nutrients from food. An iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world and is associated with developmental delay, altered behavior, decreased intellectual performance and decreased resistance to infections. Excessive iron supplements can cause iron overload and should be avoided, so the safest and purest way to get enough iron per day is to stick to iron-rich foods such as wakame.
10. Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids:
Wakame seaweed is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which is an essential fatty acid because it is not made by the human body, but is still necessary for normal metabolism. Omega-3 foods can be used to reduce cholesterol, fight depression, reduce anxiety, reverse diabetes, reduce inflammation, relieve arthritis and promote skin health. They have also been shown to be compatible with weight loss, healthy pregnancy, sports recovery and thickening of hair and nails. Due to the excessive consumption of omega-6 fats in the western world, it is important that we stick to the foods with omega-3 that our body needs.
How to Use and Cook Wakame Seaweed?
You can find dried or fresh wakame seaweed; It can be stored in a refrigerator, where it is preserved with sea salt, or it can be found in a sealed package where it is dehydrated and brittle, similar to nori (the seaweed used for rolling sushi). If you have dehydrated wakame seaweed, start by cutting it into small pieces, as it will expand after rehydration. To rehydrate wakame, soak in water for about 30 minutes or until smooth; Then you can add to soups, french fries and salads. The water used to rehydrate wakame is also full of nutrients, so it can be used as the base of the soup.
Possible Side Effects of the Benefits of Wakame Seaweed:
Although wakame seaweed is a nutritious food that offers a handful of health benefits, it contains a good amount of sodium, 872 milligrams per 1 ounce of wakame; People with high blood pressure may want to see their wakame intake to make sure they are not consuming too much sodium in a day, since sodium acts against potassium to lower blood pressure levels.