From Nori to Kelp: Exploring A Sea of Health Benefits in Seaweed

Seaweed refers to a diverse group of marine plants that thrive in saltwater environments. It encompasses a wide range of species, including popular varieties like Nori, Kelp, Wakame, and Dulse, among others. Nori is commonly used in sushi; Kelp is known for its robust size and rich nutrient profile; Wakame is a staple in Asian cuisine; and Dulse offers a unique taste and texture.

Seaweed has along history of consumption in various cultures worldwide. For centuries, coastal communities in East Asia, Europe, and North America have recognised the nutritional value of seaweed, incorporating it into their diets for its abundance of essential vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting compounds.

Seaweed contains a range of macronutrients, including carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, making it a valuable addition to a healthy diet. Carbohydrates found in seaweed provide a source of energy and dietary fibre, promoting digestive health and helping to control blood sugar levels. Proteins in seaweed contribute to tissue repair, enzyme production, and immune function.

While seaweed is relatively low in fat, the fat it does contain is predominantly heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. The macronutrient content of seaweed varies among different types. For example, Nori and Dulse tend to be higher in protein, while Kelp is rich in carbohydrates and fibre. These variations enable individuals to choose seaweed varieties that best suit their dietary needs and preferences.

Seaweed is a nutritional powerhouse, offering an array of essential micronutrients. It is particularly rich in vitamins, including vitamin A, which supports vision and immune function; vitamin C for collagen synthesis and immune health; vitamin E as an antioxidant; vitamin K for blood clotting and bone health; and various B vitamins crucial for metabolism and energy production.

Seaweed is also a notable source of minerals such as iodine, vital for proper thyroid function; calcium for strong bones; iron for oxygen transport; magnesium for nerve function and muscle health; and potassium for maintaining fluid balance and heart function. The presence of these micronutrients in seaweed highlights its potential to contribute to overall health and well-being.

Safety and Precautions

While seaweed offers numerous health benefits, there are a few potential risks and precautions to consider. Some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to seaweed, particularly those with seafood allergies. Additionally, certain seaweed species can absorb heavy metals and contaminants from the ocean, so it's important to choose seaweed from trusted sources.

Regarding iodine content, excessive consumption of seaweed may lead to iodine toxicity, particularly for individuals with thyroid disorders. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist to determine appropriate intake levels, especially for pregnant or breastfeeding women, those with thyroid issues, or individuals on specific medications or dietary restrictions. Following recommended intake guidelines ensures safe and responsible consumption of seaweed.

Seaweed stands out as a nutritional powerhouse, offering a plethora of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Its benefits range from supporting thyroid function and heart health to aiding in weight management and promoting digestive health. Including seaweed in your diet can contribute to a nutrient-rich and balanced eating plan. Whether enjoying sushi with Nori, adding Kelp to salads, or incorporating Wakame into soups, incorporating seaweed can provide a tasty and beneficial addition to your meals, ultimately contributing to improved overall health and well-being.

7 Health Benefits of Seaweed

1. Nutrient Density: Seaweed is packed with a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a nutrient-dense food that supports overall health and well-being.

2. Thyroid Health: Seaweed is an excellent source of iodine, a crucial mineral for proper thyroid function, helping to regulate metabolism, growth, and development.

3. Heart Health: The fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals found in seaweed can contribute to reducing cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and inflammation, promoting cardiovascular health.

4. Weight Management: Seaweed's low-calorie content, high-fibre content, and ability to promote feelings of fullness can aid in weight management by supporting appetite control and reducing calorie intake.

5. Digestive Health: The fibre in seaweed supports healthy digestion, preventing constipation and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome.

6. Antioxidant Protection: Seaweed is rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals that help protect cells from oxidative damage and reduce inflammation, potentially lowering the risk of chronic diseases.

7. Bone Health: The minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, present in seaweed contribute to maintaining strong bones and may help prevent osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions.

Recipe for Wakame Seaweed Soup


1 ounce of dried Wakame seaweed

4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 cup sliced mushrooms (such as shiitake or button mushrooms)

1 cup diced tofu

2 green onions, chopped

1 tablespoon of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of rice vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste


Start by rehydrating the dried seaweed. Place the seaweed in a bowl and cover it with water. Let it soak for about 10 minutes until it becomes tender. Drain and set aside. 

In a large pot, heat the sesame oil over medium heat. Add the grated ginger and minced garlic, sautéing for a minute until fragrant. 

Add the sliced mushrooms to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes until they begin to soften. 

Pour in the vegetable or chicken broth and bring it to a simmer. Add the rehydrated seaweed and diced tofu. Stir well and let it cook for another 5 minutes. 

Add the chopped green onions, soy sauce, and rice vinegar to the pot. Season with salt and pepper according to your taste preferences. Stir to combine all the ingredients. 

Let the soup simmer for an additional 5 minutes to allow the flavours to meld together. 

Once the soup is ready, remove it from the heat and serve it hot. You can garnish with additional green onions or sesame seeds if desired.