In an effort to remain up-to-date on one among our favourite oceanic meals developments, we not too long ago requested two registered dietitians concerning the science-backed health benefits of sea moss, and discovered that every one edible forms of algae can, in fact, offer gut and heart health benefits, help support a strong and healthy immune system, boost cognitive functioning, and fight inflammation. Briefly, consuming seaweed is a deal with for each our style buds and our our bodies, and we ought to be consuming it in rather more than simply smoothie kind.
Nevertheless, as sea moss quickly rises in recognition, we won’t assist however marvel: What different nutrient-rich types of sea greens ought to we be noshing on? When investigating a number of the finest seaweed sources across the globe, it was no shock once we landed (figuratively) on the shores of Okinawa, Japan, recognized to be residence to a number of the longest-living people in the world. Within the Blue Zone region of Okinawa, brown seaweed, in any other case referred to as mozuku, is an on a regular basis staple within the centenarians’ diets. We spoke with an registered dietitian to study extra about mozuku, together with its well being advantages and the best way to incorporate it into meals.
What’s mozuku seaweed, and what are its well being advantages?
In accordance with Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT, a registered dietitian based mostly in Charleston, a number of issues set Okinawan seaweed, mozuku, other than the entire relaxation. “You probably have seen seaweed that’s extra brown than that basic inexperienced coloration many people are accustomed to, then it’s possible you’ll be feasting your eyes on mozuku—a nutrient-dense seaweed that provides distinctive well being advantages,” Manaker says. Whereas most types of sushi seaweed and sheets of dried nori come from a species of red seaweed referred to as Pyropia (together with P. yezonesis and P. tenera), Okinawan mozuku is derived from the genus Cladosiphon okamuranus.
In accordance with Manaker, in contrast to inexperienced or purple seaweed, brown seaweed is the one sort that incorporates fucoidan, which is a naturally-occurring compound that boasts a bevy of well being advantages. “Fucoidan has been proven to have antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-coagulant, anti-thrombotic, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory effects,” she says.
Though extra research are wanted to research the well being advantages of mozuku, Manaker says that preliminary data means that consuming this seaweed could provide coronary heart well being perks. Another study examined the anti-inflammatory results of fucoidan in relation to the standard of life in superior most cancers sufferers, and located that proinflammatory cytokines have been considerably decreased after two weeks of fucoidan ingestion.
So, does this imply we must always begin consuming extra brown seaweed? “Data shows that consuming fucoidan, even in excessive portions, is protected for typically wholesome individuals,” Manaker says. “Vitamins could differ amongst totally different seaweeds. However typically talking, seaweed is a pure supply of iodine, a nutrient that helps help thyroid well being. It is usually a pure supply of fiber, which might help intestine well being,” she provides. Nevertheless, that’s to not say that it’s proper for everybody. “You probably have a thyroid dysfunction, it’s vital to ask your well being care supplier if seaweed will be part of your food regimen, as sure varieties could comprise an excessive amount of iodine in your wants.”
How do Okinawans generally eat mozuku seaweed?
The brown algae is commonly harvested within the shallow, heat water off the coast of Okinawa by hand after which rinsed to take away any remnants of sand or hidden sea creatures. To protect its well being advantages, Okinawans sometimes eat mozuku uncooked, dressed with candy vinegar, or paired with different gut-healthy elements like nattō, aka fermented soybeans; nevertheless, it will also be eaten deep-fried (as tempura) or in soups. One of the simplest ways to get your palms on (actually) the freshest type of the seaweed could be to gather it your self, however you can too discover packaged mozuku at Japanese grocery shops or on Amazon, like this dried version.
Not solely is mozuku a big a part of the Okinawan food regimen, but it surely additionally is taken into account a “treasure below the ocean” that’s an integral a part of the native financial system. In accordance with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University, in 2006, the Japanese Cupboard Workplace estimated a 20,000-ton manufacturing, with an financial worth of billions of Yen. Nevertheless, throughout the final decade, rising sea temperatures have put the manufacturing of this worthwhile crop (and a supply of revenue for a lot of Okinawans) at stake. In spite of everything, 99 % of this seaweed is produced in Okinawa and is nearly fully farmed by people. That is why scientists are working endlessly to seek out the perfect methods to protect this aquatic gem—one which’s a staple within the Okinawan food regimen.
Sushi in your thoughts? Similar. This is what an RD would order on a hypothetical sushi date:
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