There are lots and lots of health issues in the United States – this is a no-brainer. Perhaps one of the main reasons for this is that Americans eat unhealthy foods. In fact, Americans are more prone to cancer and heart disease than the Japanese. Maybe if we change the way we consume foods in order to reflect wealthier countries, maybe we can start to reverse this trend. Why not try kombu? This is a Japanese staple that is beneficial for the health. If you want to learn more about the health benefits of kombu, feel free to give this article a read.
Kombu: What Is It?
It is certain that seaweed is renowned as a healthy food that is low in calories and rich in minerals. Kombu kelp, in particular, has a unique flavor and a nutritional value unlike any other seaweed, thus earning it its own title: the King of Seaweeds. In Latin, kombu iscalled Laminaria Digitata, mainly because the fronds look like the digits of a hand. Colloquially, it is called the sea girdle, oarweed and sea tangle.
Kombu is actually an edible sea vegetable. Mainly from Japan, it has historically been used as one of the three major ingredients in dashi noodle broth as a flavor enhancer. It may be found in a dried form, eaten fresh or pickled in vinegar.
Kombu is actually a kind of kelp found in sea forests or kelp forests. These forests are so valuable because they provide a significant ecosystem for various organisms to live in between the seafloor and the surface of the ocean. Seaweed encompasses a wide array of nutrients, making it a powerful and healthy food. You read it right: seaweed is a kind of superfood!
Unlike any other seaweed, Kombu may be used to make dashi, a soup stack that has the same taste as umami. Umami, as we know, is the foundation of the subtle flavor of Japanese cuisine. Only kombu can be used to make dashi; no other seaweeds. The characteristics of the Kombu make it a vital element of Japanese cuisine.
Kombu: Nutritional Profile
A half piece, or about three grams, of dried Kombu may contain:
|Principle||Amount||% Daily Value|
Additionally, five grams of most sea vegetables may contain:
|Principle||Amount||% Daily Value|
|Vitamin C||12.2 milligrams||16%|
|Vitamin B2||0.1 milligrams||11%|
|Vitamin A||81 micrograms||9%|
|Vitamin B6||0.1 milligrams||3%|
|Vitamin B3||0.5 milligrams||3%|
Health Benefits of Kombu
Here are some of the most startling health benefits of Kombu:
- Helps combat rheumatoid arthritis. Kombu has fucoidan in it, a sulfated polysaccharide present in different species of brown seaweed and algae. One study investigated the effects of Kombu on rheumatoid arthritis by evaluating the seaweed’s process of cell invasion. The research found that the arthritis-causing swollen cells were considerably reduced by the fucoidan treatment, thus reducing the survival of all the bad cells.
- Helps improve thyroid function. There is a high amount of iodine in kombu, making it one of the most iodine-rich seaweeds. We know that iodine is necessary for the diet, especially for the production of healthy hormones and proper thyroid function.
- Helps stave off anaemia. Iron, as we know, is essential in the production of hemoglobin. Kombu can provide the necessary amount of iron to maintain good health. Take note, anemia due iron deficiency is very common and may occur due to a lack of healthy red blood cells in the body.
- Potentially helps prevent cancer. Sea vegetables like kombu are essential in preventing cancer. This is all thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, undeniably one of kombu’s best health benefits.
- Helps improve digestion and reduce gas. Kombu contains amino acids, which are essential in breaking down the starches in foods like beans. This is what allows them to be more easily digested. Furthermore, the glutamic acid in kombu also has a pleasant savory flavor, and the fiber in it helps with overall digestion.
Try kombu to improve your health!