Wakame is a seaweed that can be edible and is most commonly used in Japanese cuisine. However, because of its growing popularity and essential health benefits, it is now used by many people across the world. Let us take a read further and discover the top 13 health benefits of wakame seaweeds.
Wakame (having its scientific name, Undaria pinnatifida) is an edible seaweed that has a brown or deep green color and is known for its amazing health benefits. It contains a unique compound known as fucoxanthin, which has several nutritional and medicinal qualities. It is commonly used in Japanese cuisines especially in salads, soups, and also as a form of a side dish. It is slightly sweet and briny in taste. Because of its impressive list of health benefits, wakame seaweed has become a staple in raw vegan food and macrobiotic diets.(1)
Nutritional Facts of Wakame Seaweeds:
Wakame is a low-fat and low-calorie food containing fucoxanthin, having anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties. These seaweeds are packed with a rich source of protein and carbohydrates. However, water is the major component present in these weeds along with some amount of sugar and fiber. Wakame also contains a rich supply of vitamins and minerals like calcium, iodine, iron, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, and zinc, along with vitamin A, vitamin B2, B9, vitamin C, D, E, and vitamin K. Apart from these, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidants are also found in these seaweeds.
Top 13 Health Benefits Of Wakame Seaweeds:
Extensively Known For Its Anticancer Properties:
One of the most important health benefits of wakame seaweeds is that they are greatly known for their anticancer properties. As per a review article of 2014, published in the journal named, “Marine Drugs”, it has been found that fucoidan that is found in seaweeds has anticancer activity and is known to be essential for colorectal and breast cancer.(2)
One more review article that was published in the year 2014 mentioned the antitumor activity of fucoidan and fucoxanthin present in wakame seaweeds.(3)
Wakame Seaweeds are an Excellent Source of Weight Loss:
Since wakame contains an extremely low amount of calories, fats, and carbohydrates, it makes you feel full without adding any excess of calories to your diet. It is known to be an excellent source of weight loss as it has got fat-burning properties, that come from the compound, named fucoxanthin. This fucoxanthin compound found in wakame seaweed inhibits the fat accumulation in the cells and stimulates fat oxidation.
Wakame Seaweeds are Beneficial In Lowering Cholesterol and Blood Pressure:
Wakame seaweeds are also important for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Fucoxanthin found in these seaweeds helps in stimulating the liver for increasing the DHA production, which lowers the LDL or bad cholesterol levels in the body. LDL is commonly associated with artery blockage and atherosclerosis. So, when you consume wakame regularly, you can protect yourself from several heart diseases, including heart strokes and heart attacks.
Highly Essential In Diabetes Management:
Diabetes is an important concern for most people. As per a study, it is found that when obese mice were fed wakame seaweed, signs of hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia and hyperleptinemia disappeared. This is because o the fucoxanthin compound that holds an anti-diabetic effect. This is also seen in the case of the human body.(4)
Beneficial In Improving Blood Circulation:
Another health benefit of wakame seaweeds is that they are beneficial in improving the circulation of blood in the body. The rich content of iron present in this seaweed can increase the RBC production in the body. Higher levels of iron in RBCs mean increased circulation in the cardiovascular system, which ultimately boosts the energy level, enhances skin health, and speeds up the healing process.
Wakame Seaweeds Boost Energy Levels:
If you need to boost your energy levels, then add wakame seaweeds to your daily diet. Magnesium is an extremely beneficial mineral in our body. When we take a high amount of wakame, it can help our body transfer enough energy quite efficiently and help our body produce and also utilize protein, which is required for almost all functions of the body and also aids in repair and growth.(5)
Extremely Beneficial In Improving Bone Health:
One of the most essential health benefits of wakame seaweed is that it is greatly beneficial in improving bone health. When it comes to protecting the durability and integrity of bones, nothing can beat calcium. This mineral is essential for bone health. Since wakame seaweed contains a rich amount of this bone healthy mineral, it helps our body with bone growth and also speeds up bone repair.
It also works as an anti-inflammatory and prevents joints from getting inflamed. Thus, wakame can prevent the early onset of osteoporosis. This can ultimately help in keeping you active and fit as you age.(6)
Wakame Seaweed Improves Infant Health:
Wakame seaweeds are also important for infant health. Folate or vitamin B9 is important for pregnant women since it is connected with reduced chances of neural tube defects in infants. Since wakame contains higher levels of folate, thus pregnant women might add this to their daily diet.
Can Be Helpful In Hormonal Balance:
These seaweeds can be beneficial in maintaining hormonal balance. Iodine present in wakame helps in hormonal balance in the human body. This is an integral source of creating the thyroid hormone that is known to control a lot of processes throughout our body and is also important for energy production.
Effective For Mental Health:
One more health benefit of wakame seaweeds is that they are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for mental health and aid in reducing anxiety and also fight depression.(7)
Tremendous Hair and Skin Health Benefits:
Wakame seaweed contains antioxidants in it, which helps in rejuvenating, smoothening, and moisturizing the skin. Moreover, it also contributes to the formation of Keratine protein that assists in thicking of nails and hair.
Wakame Seaweeds Might Increase Longevity:
Studies have explained that levels of iodine among Japanese people who consume wakame, nori, and kelp average 1K-3K micrograms per day. Some health experts linked the higher intake of iodine with extensive health benefits seen in the people of Japan, which also include longer average life expectancy, fewer heart-related deaths, and reduced risk of specific types of cancer in individuals in the age group of 35 to 74 years(8)
Well-known For Improving Digestive Health
A variety of seaweeds including wakame, boast essential amino acids and also contains a lot of vitamins. A scientific review of the year 2011 has examined the significant gut health benefits of seaweed and has shown that consuming them regularly might improve digestive health in the case of humans.(9)
Being highly nutritious and known for essential health benefits, wakame seaweeds are an ideal source to add to our daily diet. The best part of this seaweed is that it is even easy to add to the daily diet and thus is enjoyed around the globe. It is extensively versatile and can be added to a lot of recipes and dishes. Add them to soups or use them as a side dish topped with soy sauce, you can enjoy a great meal with added health benefits from wakame seaweeds.