Table of Contents
The origin and much of Wakame seaweed’s history is discovered in Asia, particularly in Japan. Native to cold temperate seaside areas of Japan, Korea, and China, in recent decades wakame has actually ended up being established in temperate areas all over the world, consisting of New Zealand, the United States, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Argentina, Australia and Mexico.
How is Wakame Farmed?
Wakame growing was first studied at Dalian, northeast China, by Japanese scholar Youshiro Ohtsuki who patented cultivation methods in 1943. Since the mid-1960s wakame seaweed has been thoroughly farmed there at an industrial level, but it can also be gathered from the wild. In the Republic of Korea, growing of wakame began in 1964, and was mainly established, promoted and industrialised throughout the 1970s, at that phase accounting for 30% of seaweed farming production in 2013.
In China, comprehensive production began in the mid-1980s, mainly in two northern provinces which have since become the main wakame manufacturers worldwide. Consumption of this macroalgae as a seafood is divided in two categories; the processed midribs are consumed inside China, while the sporophylls and blades are primarily exported to Japan and other Asian countries.
In 1983, wakame farming was intentionally presented into the North Atlantic in the seaside areas of Brittany and at first cultivated at three websites. Wakame growing is also being established in Northwest Spain.
Coming closer to home, in 2010, the New Zealand federal government authorized industrial harvest and farming of wakame under certain conditions– basically, that it be harvested from a man-made structure. There is still much work to be done in this space as a few of the New Zealand guidelines are outdated and complicated. The more we learn more about wakame, the easier this ought to become.
Wakame as an ‘Invasive Types’– aka a ‘weed’!
Interestingly, wakame has been considered as a harmful intrusive seaweed in nations besides those where it is thought about to be native. It is believed that wakame was first presented to foreign waters through the ballast water of freight ships from Asia, as the spores (gametophytes) included in the water can endure long-distance journeys.
In New Zealand, wakame was in truth stated an undesirable organism in 2000 under the Biosecurity Act 1993. It was first found in Wellington Harbour in 1987 and it is thought it most likely shown up in our water as hull fouling on shipping or fishing vessels from Asia. Wakame is now discovered throughout our marine environment in New Zealand, from Stewart Island to as far north as Karikari Peninsula. Despite the fact that it is an intrusive seaweed, in 2012 the government allowed for the farming of wakame in Wellington, Marlborough and Banks Peninsula.
Wakame spreads in two ways: naturally, through the countless tiny spores launched by each fertile organism, and through human activities, many typically by means of the hull of shipping vessels or marine farming devices. It is a highly effective and fertile species, which makes it a serious intruder. However, its effects are not well understood and can vary depending upon the area.
Is Wakame a Pal or Opponent?
So as we discover wakame, do we see it as a buddy or enemy? The drawback of wakame is that it is intrusive and can change the structure of environments, specifically in locations where native seaweeds are missing. By forming a dense canopy, it shades the sub-canopy, and can affect the development of slower-growing native seaweed types. For example, in New Zealand the native coralline algae which are important for paua (edible marine snail) settlement were partially displaced by wakame, resulting in decreased paua quantities.
Furthermore, this invasive seaweed can impact not only the biodiversity of flora, but also the animals communities which are based upon these phytogroups. Wakame can grow on reefs which offer sanctuaries for fish, and gradually cause habitat loss of fishes that dwell on the reefs. Research studies performed in the Nuevo Gulf revealed that the elimination of wakame from attacked sites resulted in an increase in the biodiversity at those places.
Research study indicates that the wakame seaweed or sea vegetable has the potential to end up being a problem for marine farms since it increases labour and harvesting costs, due to fish cages, oyster racks, scallop bags and mussel ropes becoming covered. This development can likewise limit water circulation through cages.
On the other hand, Pacific Harvest is proud to provide a clean, morally collected wild wakame, which is densely nutritious and advantageous for health. The responsible harvesting and proper drying of wakame, and subsequent use of it as an incredibly helpful kitchen area pantry staple, indicates we rid our oceans of a ‘insect’, reduce expenses of removal, and add to a circular economy. 
Wakame Nutrition Facts
One serving of wakame (2 tablespoons or 10g) offers 4.5 calories, 0.3 g of protein, 0.9 g of carbohydrates, and 0.1 g of fat. Wakame is an exceptional source of iodine, manganese, magnesium, and calcium. This nutrition details is supplied by the USDA.
- Calories: 4.5
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Sodium: 87mg
- Carbohydrates: 0.9 g
- Fiber: 0.1 g
- Sugars: 0.1 g
- Protein: 0.3 g
- Manganese: 0.14 mg
- Magnesium: 10.7 mg
- Calcium: 15mg
- Folate: 19.6 mcg
Wakame, like all seaweed, is very low in carbohydrates. A common serving measuring 2 tablespoons supplies less than 1 gram of carbs. But even a more considerable 1/2 cup (100-gram) serving supplies just about 9 grams of carbohydrates. The majority of the carb is starch. There is less than 1 gram of fiber and less than 1 gram of sugar in a serving of wakame.
The approximated glycemic load of wakame is zero if your serving size is 2 tablespoons. The 100-gram serving has a glycemic load of 4, making it a low glycemic food.
There is practically no fat in wakame seaweed. Even the larger serving has less than 1 gram of fat, and most of that is healthy polyunsaturated fat.
Wakame can improve the protein material of your favorite soup, salad or entree, depending upon just how much you utilize. A small serving has less than 1 gram of protein, however the bigger 100-gram serving supplies 3 grams of protein.
Vitamins and Minerals
Wakame is a good source of iodine, offering about 42 micrograms per gram of seaweed. A 2-tablespoon serving would provide 420 micrograms of iodine, or nearly 3 times the recommended daily intake for adults.2 Other minerals in wakame consist of manganese, magnesium, and calcium.
Wakame also supplies vitamins. Each 2-tablespoon serving of wakame supplies 5% of your advised daily intake of folate. It likewise supplies smaller sized amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin E, and pantothenic acid.
One 10-gram serving of wakame provides 4.5 calories, making wakame a low-calorie food.
Wakame is a low-calorie and mineral-rich food that provides manganese, magnesium, and calcium. It supplies very little carbs, protein, and fat, however boasts healthy levels of fucoxanthin and iodine. 
What research states?
Wakame is high in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. It is a low-calorie, low-cholesterol, low-fat food including a sensible quantity of fucoxanthin, a marine carotenoid with anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative homes. Most of its health benefits come from the rich supply of minerals and vitamins in its fragile green leaves, which benefit one’s health.
Much like other seaweeds, wakame is low in carbohydrates. In 100 grams of raw wakame seaweed, 9.14 grams of carbs are present, primarily from starch and fiber. Additionally, wakame is a non-starchy vegetable that can likewise suit the ketogenic diet plan. Based on research, Wakame’s glycemic index (GI) is low at just 4 in 100 grams serving, making it ideal for individuals with diabetes.
There is a trace of fat in 100 grams of Wakame seaweed, and the fat content of Wakame is 0.64 grams per 100 grams. And the fat is generally healthy poly-unsaturated fat (0.218 grams).
Research study shows that the protein content of wakame is reasonably high compared to other seaweeds (3.03 grams per 100 grams). Therefore, wakame can enhance the protein content of your favourite soup, salad or meal, depending on how much you use.
Information shows that wakame is high in a number of micronutrients, with niacin (1.6 mg), potassium (314 mg), magnesium (107 mg), sodium (872 mg), beta-carotene (216 µg), and folate (196 µg) topping the list.
Besides the nutrients mentioned above, it contains a small quantity of pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium. Both potassium and magnesium add to decreasing your high blood pressure. In addition, potassium counters the results of high sodium in the blood with urination and helps launch stress in the blood vessels.
Due to the high quantity of sodium, wakame is a great source of iodine, supplying more than the advised daily consumption for grownups.
Health Benefits of Wakame Seaweed
Rich in Antioxidant
Research study suggests that antioxidants increase the body immune system, maintain neurons and keep the blood vessels healthy. In addition, they neutralise totally free radicals that cause oxidative cell damage and protect the body versus macular degeneration and illness like cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Wakame seaweed is high in anti-oxidants such as fucoxanthin, the main carotenoid in brown algae. Research studies show that it has 13.5 times the antioxidant potential of vitamin E. In regards to cellular membrane protection, fucoxanthin surpasses vitamin A. While the body does not always soak up fucoxanthin well, consuming it together with fat can assist.
Wakame contains a variety of important phytochemicals, including flavonoids, folate and beta-carotene, along with antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K. According to research studies, they likewise protect the cells in your body from free extreme damage. Nevertheless, these advantages still need more research study since there is not enough human research study to support these assertions. However, at the same time, professionals believe that consuming wakame has no negative effects and you can extract fucoxanthin easily from wakame.
Skin and Hair Care
Wakame provides numerous essential elements, consisting of vitamin C, needed for the function of various body functions. Wakame provides 3 mg of vitamin C in 100 g. In addition, research studies show that wakame seaweeds assist produce collagen, an element of skin tissue made use of for making and fixing damaged skin and organ tissues. The antioxidants in wakame assistance revitalize, moisturise, and smooth the skin. In addition, it helps thicken hair and nails by contributing to keratin synthesis.
Regular intake of wakame prevents early signs of ageing, such as scars, imperfections, wrinkles, and age spots, due to adequate amounts of minerals, anti-oxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamins, and dietary fibre.
Wakame’s antioxidants protect the body from oxidative tension and unstable particles known as complimentary radicals. Wakame is likewise rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce general inflammation. These swellings can cause chronic health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and gastrointestinal concerns. In addition, wakame consists of polyphenols, which serve as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents that lower the risk of illness like cancer, heart problem, and swelling.
Helps in Weight Loss
According to the research study, fucoxanthin, a carotenoid discovered in wakame, help in controlling fat deposition and triglycerides. The substance likewise helps people drop weight. Fucoxanthin also helps in reducing white adipose (fatty) tissue effectively. However, most of research on wakame and weight-loss is animal-based. But, studies reveal that fucoxanthin increases fat oxidation in obese mice, particularly damaging belly fat. Fucoxanthin is identified for its fat-burning abilities given that it avoids fat development in cells and speeds up fat oxidation.
Controls Thyroid Hormonal Agents
Thyroid hormonal agents help in growth, metabolism, protein synthesis, and cell repair, regulate metabolic process and are needed for brain advancement during pregnancy and infancy.
Iodine is essential for thyroid gland function. Wakame is a great source of iodine, with approximately about 42 micrograms per gram. Research study recommends that iodine intake for grownups ought to be 150 micrograms daily. In addition, several studies prove that routine usage of wakame seaweeds positively associates with healthy thyroid function. Nevertheless, studies also show that extreme intake might have hazardous effects.
Keep in mind that insufficient iodine can raise TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone), resulting in goitre or an enlarged thyroid gland. It’s usually the preliminary symptom of hypothyroidism. As per research study, a shortage in this vital micronutrient can cause hypothyroidism, a disorder in which your thyroid can not produce adequate thyroid hormonal agent to support regular function. Furthermore, iodine shortage reveals symptoms like weight gain, tiredness, hair loss, and dry, split skin. Nevertheless, people with hypo or hyperthyroidism should seek advice from a medical professional before consuming wakame or seaweed.
Decreases the Threat of Diabetes
Fucoxanthin applies an anti-diabetic impact in obese individuals. An animal study found that wakame lipids reduce hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, or hyperleptinemia. Even in people, wakame’s fucoxanthin has actually shown an anti-diabetic effect. Nevertheless, it needs more human research.
A study found that eating wakame can help balance blood glucose and insulin levels considering that it contains 107 mg of magnesium. Research study likewise reveals that regular usage of wakame might assist avoid prediabetes. Furthermore, research study recommends that the dietary lipids in wakame assistance resolve insulin resistance brought on by a high-fat diet. So if you’re looking for a diabetic-friendly cuisine, wakame is an outstanding choice to include.
Wakame has plentiful fucoidan, a bioactive sulfated polysaccharide. As per research, fucoidan deals lots of useful homes, including antioxidant and antiviral properties. Wakame’s the majority of well-known health benefits are suppressing cancer cell development and expansion. In addition, researchers discovered that fucoidan from wakame had anti-cancer properties. Fucoidan’s sulphate material is accountable for its anti-cancer properties.
Iodine in wakame seaweeds likewise help in cancer cell death or apoptosis. However, excessive iodine consumption may have unfavorable results such as thyrotoxicosis.
Wakame can also help control the inflammatory action in cancer patients. Thus, it is an ingredient in some anti-inflammatory medications. Nevertheless, some research studies show inconsistent results. For instance, as per a study, increased seaweed usage leads to a higher threat of thyroid cancer, potentially due to excessive iodine. Nevertheless, it requires more research to see how wakame affects human cancer cell production.
Reduce Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol contributes in multiple elements of health, from hormone generation to fat absorption. In contrast, excess cholesterol levels can clog arteries and reduce blood circulation, increasing cardiac arrest and stroke possibilities. Nevertheless, wakame can assist lower cholesterol and increase heart health.
According to a study, the fucoxanthin in wakame induces the liver to produce more DHA, a sort of fatty acid that decreases LDL (bad) cholesterol. Regardless of these promising results, restricted to animal research studies, additional research study requires discovering how wakame can affect human cholesterol levels.
Strengthens the Bones
Calcium preserves the strength and integrity of our bones. The high calcium content (150 mg) in 100g of wakame aids bone development and repair work.
Wakame also consists of a significant quantity of vitamin K, which benefits bone health, bone metabolic process, and total wellness. It likewise helps retain calcium in the bone matrix by raising protein levels. According to research study, increased vitamin K usage assists reduce fractures and bone loss.
Wakame also serves as an anti-inflammatory due to omega-3 and polyphenols, avoiding joint swelling and keeping you healthy and active far into aging.
Wakame contains a sensible amount of carbohydrates (9.14 g), proteins (3.03 g), and iron (2.18 mg), which assists improve energy. In addition, the high magnesium content (107 mg) of wakame aids in transforming dietary carbs into energy. As a result, magnesium can assist efficiently move energy and produce and utilise protein, which is required for every bodily function related to advancement and repair work. For that reason, getting sufficient magnesium through wakame can help in keeping energy levels and prevent tiredness.
Lower Blood Pressure Levels
High blood pressure affects the heart and blood arteries, deteriorating heart muscle and increasing the danger of heart problem. According to specific research studies, consisting of wakame in your diet can assist lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
According to animal research studies, wakame extracts can substantially decrease angiotensin I-converting enzyme activity (ACE), linked to hypertension advancement. In addition, wakame likewise reduces systolic blood pressure when given in single or several dosages. Nevertheless, more human research study is needed to figure out how wakame affects high blood pressure in the wider population.
Ways to Use Wakame
There are lots of wakame recipe alternatives with a number of various concepts for including this into your diet plan. Here are a few wonderful and healthy methods to include this special component into your diet plan.
Japanese Wakame Salad
Serves: 2 portions
Preparation Time: 5mins
- Dried seaweed (Wakame type): 28g (1 tbsp)
- Shallots, finely sliced: 1
- Soy sauce: 1 1/2 tbsp
- Rice vinegar: 1 tablespoon
- Mirin (sweet rice wine): 1 tablespoon
- Sesame seed oil: 1 tbsp
- Cayenne pepper: 1 pinch
- Ginger Root, grated: 1 tsp
- Sesame seeds [optional]: 1/2 tbsp
Technique of Preparation
- Wash the seaweed and soak it in at least five times its volume of water in a container. Permit resting for 10 minutes, or till rehydrated and tender.
- In a salad dish, add the staying ingredients (leaving out the sesame seeds).
- Squeeze the seaweed gently to remove extra water. Add it to the salad bowl.
- Toss, taste, and change flavoring as needed. Serve with sesame seeds as a garnish.
Nutritional Worth per Serving
- Calories: 120 kcal
- Carb: 14 g
- Protein: 3 g
- Fat: 7 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Fiber: 5 g
- Sodium: 1390 mg
- Calcium: 11%
- Iron: 6%
- Vitamin C: 9%
- Serves: 8 servings
- Preparation Time: 30 mins
- Soaking: 10min
- Wakame, cut into bite-size pieces: About 2 cups
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut and cut into bite-size strips: 1 cup
- Garlic, grated: 6 cloves
- Reduced-sodium tamari: 2 tablespoons
- Toasted sesame oil, divided: 3 teaspoons
- Low-sodium chicken broth: 8 cups
- Sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Technique of Preparation
- Soak wakame seaweed in a big container of cold water for about thirty minutes. 2 or 3 rinses later, drain. Cut into small pieces if required.
- Add the chicken, garlic, tamari, and 2 tablespoons of oil to a large mixing container. Enable marinading at space temperature level for 15 minutes.
- In a heavy pan over medium-high flame, heat one teaspoon of oil. Cook, continuously stirring, up until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside or about 1 minute. Cook for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently more with the drained wakame.
- Include broth; give a boil over high heat, scraping off any foam on the surface. Even more, you must cook for 30 minutes at low heat. Serve it instantly, and leading with sesame seeds.
Nutritional Value per Serving
- Calories: 110 kcal
- Carb: 5.3 g
- Protein: 11.4 g
- Fat: 5.2 g
- Cholesterol: 18.9 mg
- Fiber: 1.5 g
- Sodium: 497 mg
- Potassium: 423.9 mg
- Calcium: 44.3 mg
- Iron: 1.5 mg
- Vitamin C: 0.7 mg
Before adding dried wakame seaweed to the soup, rehydrate it in water. Including dried wakame seaweed straight to the soup can increase the saltiness. 
Properties of wakame seaweed
The fresh wakame, not dried, has high concentrations of water, hydrates, and proteins. The dried seaweed has the exact same nutrients however more concentrated. It likewise has very couple of calories and fats with a high satiating result due to its high water content.
This kind of algae has a high material of calcium, magnesium, and iron. It also provides iodine, different vitamins of group A, B and C and, especially, folic acid.
The wakame likewise has natural pigments extremely useful for the skin and body. For example, it has a high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effect. Moreover, it has neuroprotective and speeding up properties of metabolic process.
By way of summary, the most amazing residential or commercial properties of Wakame undaria are:.
- It contains water, hydrates and proteins, and a few calories
- High content of calcium, magnesium, iron, folic acid, and iodine
- Vitamins of group A, B, and C
- Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory
- Metabolism accelerator 
Wakame vs. Nori (Plus Other Seaweed)
Before we begin comparing some common seaweeds, let’s address this question: Is seaweed a vegetable?
Technically, seaweed is a kind of algae, but seaweeds are frequently referred to as “sea vegetables” and often treated as vegetables for culinary purposes.
What consumes seaweed? In addition to people, seaweed (in its natural environment) is frequently taken in by sea urchins, sea snails and plant-eating fish, such as the rabbit fish and parrot fish.
There are three primary varieties of seaweed commonly used as food: wakame, nori and kombu seaweed. However, these are certainly not the only edible seaweeds.
Other consumable alternatives, consist of
- kelp (readily available as fresh or dried kelp, as a supplement or in kelp powder kind)
- ogo seaweed (mainly used in dried form for poke dishes)
- dulse seaweed (frequently utilized as fresh, raw dulse or dulse flakes)
While wakame is consumed fresh or dried, nori is mainly readily available in dried type. What is nori? It’s the most common papery seaweed covering for sushi rolls, and unlike wakame, it is never soaked prior to serving.
Nori is best consumed twisted around other products (like sushi) or toasted.
Kombu belongs to the kelp family, and like wakame, it’s a brown seaweed. Kombu is typically used to make dashi, a flavorful broth standard to Japan and used to make miso soup.
Kombu and wakame have numerous overlapping health benefits and a similar flavor profile, but wakame is slightly sweeter. Both kombu and wakame are commonly used in seaweed salads and soups.
Kelp comes from the brown algae class (Phaeophyceae), and kombu is a particular variety of kelp that’s very common in Japanese, Chinese and Korean food. It can be utilized in salads, soups and smoothies, and there’s also kelp sushi.
Similar to “land vegetables,” sea vegetables also have distinct individual health advantages in addition to lots of overlapping advantages. Overall, wakame, nori, kombu and kelp are all definitely different yet share resemblances in their taste profiles, uses and prospective health advantages. 
Where to Purchase Wakame
The majority of Asian markets will have wakame, however other supermarkets might have wakame in the international aisle, or in a section dedicated to sushi, where the sushi rice, soy sauce, and nori are stocked. Another option is to find it online. Wakame is most frequently discovered in little bags in its dried form, however the dry salt-preserved kind will remain in the refrigerated area, more than likely in an Asian market rather than the common grocery store. 
Adverse Effects of Seaweed
The seaweed advantages and negative effects go hand-in-hand. A benefit to one person may be a side effect to another.
The high-fiber material in seaweed can help digestion, however it can likewise cause digestion discomfort. Each gram of fiber adds up, and a number of servings of seaweed daily can quickly push you over the advised day-to-day allowance of fiber. Too much fiber can trigger bloating, gas and constipation.
Individuals with health concerns related to the thyroid ought to be specifically cautious of overconsuming seaweed because of its high iodine material. According to a March 2014 study published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, excess iodine usage does not have major effects in the average person. However, people with particular threat elements associated with thyroid diseases– such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism– might find that too much iodine can impact their thyroid function and thyroid medications.
One negative effects of consuming seaweed is associated with the environment rather than the real food. Most of the world’s seaweed is grown in China, but Korea and Japan are also major producers of seaweed. There is concern that seaweed grown on Japanese coasts is polluted by radioactivity resulting from the Fukushima nuclear mishap in 2011. A January 2014 research study published in the Journal of Plant Research study found contaminated samples of algae. Nevertheless, scientists do not advise restricting your seaweed intake due to possible radioactive direct exposure.
Another negative effects related to the environment is heavy metal exposure. According to a February 2018 study published in Scientific Reports, red seaweed contains substantially higher levels of copper, nickel and other metals compared to brown seaweed. Though researchers discovered heavy metals like lead and mercury, they report the danger level is low. However, they recommend the routine security of metals in seaweed.
When it concerns seaweed and seafood, checking the source of your products will assist avoid contamination. The health threats are low, but being familiar with where your food originates from is part of being an informed, health-conscious consumer. 
The correct amount of wakame intake may vary from one individual to another. For the very best suggestions, you should speak with a nutritional expert, a dietitian or another health professional.
Generally, the majority of people who regularly consume wakame eat small amounts at a time, especially if the wakame is mixed in a soup or in sushi rolls. Beware not to eat excessive wakame, as it may lead to negative effects, as mentioned above. 
The Bottom Line
Wakame is an extremely nutritious, edible seaweed that can add a variety of minerals and vitamins to your diet plan for a low number of calories.
It’s also been associated with different health advantages, consisting of lower cholesterol levels, reduced blood pressure, improved weight reduction and lowered blood sugar.
Most importantly, there are various ways to enjoy this delicious seaweed as part of a balanced diet, making it easy to make the most of its unique health-promoting residential or commercial properties.