Wakame has been known to mankind since ancient times now. It has been recognized as a sea vegetable that has immense benefits. It was first cultivated in Japan, but because of the numerous(1) benefits of wakame, it soon spread across the world. There are a lot of benefits of wakame which include aiding in weight reduction, regulating blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, etc. It is very easily available and can be bought at the local supermarket. It can be eaten as a salad, in dishes, or even had raw.
Wakame: An Overview
The credit of finding wakame, cultivating, and using it as a daily food item goes to the Japanese. Wakame has been a staple food of the Japanese since ancient period. They consumed wakame since 3000 B.C. Wakame is liked by most people mainly because of its mixed flavor which a bit is salty, and because it is effortless to find and use. The benefits of wakame are limitless, but the most significant benefit is that it helps in weight reduction and regulates cholesterol.
[Also Read: Health Benefits of Coconut Oil]
Nutritional Facts of Wakame
Wakame is deep brown or deep green in color. This vibrant color of wakame is a result of its essential constituent- fucoxanthin. Fucoxanthin is a different compound which is not usually found in vegetables, but it is very beneficial. Fucoxanthin is a unique compound which can help burn fatty tissues with ease.
It is full of vitamins B, C, E, and K. In addition to this, wakame is rich in minerals like calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium, which helps to make the structure of the body more robust.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), wakame is not harmful to the body, because it contains an adequate amount of each nutrient, and contains no caffeine, and no cholesterol.
What are the Health Benefits of Wakame?
There is a massive list of wakame benefits that are known to us. Some of the benefits of wakame which are listed below.
1. Promotes the Burning of Fats:
One of the essential benefits of wakame is that it encourages the quick burning of fats. This property of wakame is mainly due to its primary constituent fucoxanthin. According to a study conducted at Hokkaido University in Japan, fucoxanthin combats fat in two simple ways.
First, it encourages the action of proteins that oxidize fats. Secondly, it boosts the production of DHA in the liver which helps lower the LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body. In this way, it helps fight fat and reduces weight.
2. Aids in Fighting Diabetes:
Wakame helps regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. According to a study conducted in 2009 on mice suffering from hyperglycemia, and hyperinsulinemia(2), wakame helps prevent diabetes, and all the disorders associated with the irregularity of blood sugar levels.
3. Helps Maintain Hormonal Balance:
As already mentioned above, wakame is rich in various nutrients, and it has three essential minerals which help in regulating the balance of hormones in the body. These three minerals are manganese, calcium, and iron. These three minerals are essential to regulate the hormones in one’s body. Calcium and manganese help to correct the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome in females.
4. Makes the Bones Stronger:
This is obvious as wakame contains minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Calcium is one of the main bone constituents, whereas phosphorus and magnesium help make them durable. Replenishing calcium in our body is very important as much of it is lost through hair loss, or nails, etc.
5. Reduces the Risk of Breast Cancer:
People who consume wakame regularly have a lower chance of suffering from breast cancer according to a study conducted by the University of California in 2013. This property of this wonderful sea vegetable adds to the benefits of wakame. As wakame contains fucoxanthin, it possesses the ability to act as a chemopreventive and chemotherapeutic compound in colon cancer cells.
[Also Read: Essential Oils for Breast Cancer]
6. Reduces High Blood Pressure:
According to a study conducted on mice suffering from hypertension, the people who consume wakame regularly had a more controlled and reduced systolic blood pressure. Thus, wakame has to ability to lower high blood pressure instantly.
7. Naturally Reduces Cholesterol:
Wakame is a sea vegetable that is free from any cholesterol. The fucoxanthin present in this beautiful sea vegetable boosts the production of DHA by the liver, and as a result, the amount of harmful cholesterol in the body gets reduced.
8. Excellent Source of Iron:
Wakame is rich in all kinds of nutrients, and the minerals that wakame contains includes a perfect and adequate amount of iron too. The amount of iron present in wakame is just the right quantity required by the body. As a result, it makes blood healthier.
[Read: Rich Iron Foods]
9. Helps to Strengthen Metabolism:
The adequate amount of iron present in wakame adds to the numerous benefits of wakame as it helps to enhance the metabolic enzyme processes in the body. A healthy metabolism ensures proper digestion of food and adequate absorption of the nutrients in the body. It also helps to digest the proteins which are not easily synthesized by the body.
How to Consume Wakame?
Wakame is usually consumed by people in its dry form, or in soups. When it is used in its dry form, it needs to be hydrated for some time before being consumed. After it is rehydrated, wakame swells up considerably, and then it is cut into smaller pieces. People often buy fresh wakame and refrigerate it to use it later, whenever required.
DIY Recipes of Wakame:
Wakame is very easily available. It can be eaten in its raw form, or even as a soup, or in salads. Some delicious DIY recipes of Wakame Salad are listed below:
1. Japanese Seaweed Salad
- Rice Vinegar
- Soy sauce
- Take freshly cut pieces of wakame in a bowl and soak it with some rice vinegar until the taste of the vinegar can be felt in the wakame pieces.
- After this, add some soy sauce on the pieces.
- Mix them properly, and then serve it.
2. Wakame Sunomono
- Take some cucumber and marinate it.
- Now add all the other ingredients according to your taste. Add a limited quantity of vinegar.
- Add some fresh wakame.
- Serve this delicious appetizer.
Side-Effects of Wakame
Wakame is a sea vegetable and has a high amount of sodium. This high amount of sodium can act against the potassium in the body, and it can mess up with the blood circulation of a person if it is taken in excess.
People who suffer from blood pressure problems, who have very high blood pressure should avoid overeating wakame. Also, you consult a dietician, or a doctor, before add wakame to your diet.
Wakame can easily be called a beautiful sea vegetable. It is a gift of the sea to humanity. The list of benefits of wakame can be stretched very long, but most of its benefits are still being discovered. Although it is a very nutritious food, it should not be taken in excess.
However, the benefits of wakame outweigh its risks. People should consume the right amount of wakame in their routine and lead a healthier and longer life.