Arame Seaweed: Nutrition Facts & Benefits

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What is Arame Seaweed?

Arame seaweed has long been featured in Asian cuisine, and its popularity is spreading beyond Japan. A form of kelp, Arame (or eisenia bicyclis) is often translated as ‘sea oak’ – perhaps due to the branchlike nature of its sprawling shape.

It is enjoyed not just for its pleasant taste, but also because this unique foodstuff is incredibly rich in nutrients and minerals with various health benefits. For this reason, Arame seaweed is increasingly being hailed as the latest superfood.

Arame Seaweed Nutrition Facts & Benefits

Arame doesn’t just contain a much wider range of vitamins and minerals than your average green vegetable – it contains them in such high quantities that its superfood status is well deserved. Some of the nutrients found at impressive levels in Arame seaweed include:

Calcium

Calcium is vital for healthy bones, teeth, nails, and hair. Ensuring your diet contains plenty of calcium is recommended by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, as it is so vital for bone health and not a nutrient which the human body can produce itself.

[1] Osteoporosis is a serious condition which affects bone density, leading to spaces within the bone which leave it more vulnerable to painful breakages and other problems.

It is, therefore, important to ensure you include plenty of calcium in your diet, in order to reduce your chances of suffering from this common but debilitating condition as you get older.

Iodine

Iodine is present in surprisingly high levels in many forms of seaweed, including Arame. It is due to the prevalence of kelp consumption in Japanese cuisine that many commentators suspect some health problems are experienced less frequently in this part of Asia.

Breast cancer rates, in particular, are lower than in the West, and research is being carried out to better understand the preventative effects of iodine.

[2] It is also thought that iodine’s antioxidant properties may have a preventative effect against stomach cancer, and that treatment with some types of iodine can improve survival rates.[3] Using natural sources to ensure you are not deficient in iodine is the best way to protect your health.

Vitamin A

This vitamin is also found in considerable quantities within Arame, making it an ideal food to include in your diet in order to promote eyesight, protect the body’s natural defenses against infection, and encourage cell growth and repair.

It is possible to overdose on vitamin A if used without caution, so incorporating natural products rich in this nutrient is a great way to ensure you are boosting your system without any unwanted side effects.

Iron

Most people are aware of the importance of iron for maintaining good energy levels, concentration, and avoiding anemia. The most common sources with which Western populations tend to be familiar are red meat, bread and cereals to which iron has been added, and some pulses.

Arame seaweed is a great alternative source of iron for those are vegetarian or vegan, who avoid pulses, or don’t want to consume processed grain products (which often contain more harmful additives than nutritious ones) in order to be sure of getting enough iron.

Lignan

A powerful antioxidant, lignan, has been found to be present in Arame seaweed at surprisingly high levels. This type of antioxidant can have anti-inflammatory effects,[4] making it the ideal nutrient for everything from fighting off infections to preventing outbreaks of acne.

Research has also shown that lignan can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer[5] making Arame seaweed an ideal food if you are looking for multiple anti-carcinogenic properties in one place!

Other properties and benefits

Research into the many properties of this superfood is ongoing into all areas of physical and mental well-being. This includes the possibility of using this sea vegetable to formulate medications which would reduce the symptoms and side effects associated with diabetes.

[6] This fascinating miracle food has also been studied for its anticoagulant (blood thinning) and tumor inhibition properties.[7] Given its wide range of nutrients and natural health-boosting constituents, research into Arame looks likely to continue.

Buying and using Arame

Arame may not be the easiest ingredient to find – it probably isn’t going to be stocked on the shelves of your nearest convenience store – but you should be able to find some at a local wholefood shop or Asian market.

Arame is very popular in Japanese dishes as it is considered one of the best tasting varieties of kelp. So if you ask around a little, you should find what you are looking for. If you really get stuck, why not ask a Japanese restaurant in your area if they know somewhere that stocks Arame.

Arame, like many other forms of seaweed, tends to be sold in a dried form. This is not surprising given that its natural habitat is under the sea – we have all seen dried up seaweed on the beach, and this process is used (in a more regulated way) to preserve the nutrients within Arame for consumer consumption too.

This means that the first thing you will need to do with your Arame purchase is to wash it and let it take a quick bath. Washing will remove any natural debris which might have become stuck to the seaweed, while a quick 5-minute soak in fresh water will appear to reanimate the Arame itself. It is then ready for use in cooking or a variety of other applications.

Arame Seaweed for your Beauty Regime

beauty

Various types of seaweed – particularly Japanese kelps – are now popular ingredients in many high-quality beauty products. Arame itself is featured in the cleansing products of some major international brands. But, there’s no need to part with lots of money to experience the beauty benefits of Arame seaweed.

By preparing your own treatments at home, you can recreate a relaxing spa experience without worrying about artificial additives, irritants, and the environmental pollutants often found in commercial products.

Arame Seaweed Exfoliant

For a gentle exfoliating face wash, first wash your face with warm water and apply a cream or oil cleanser – preferably one which does not contain alcohol or harsh perfumes which can irritate the skin.

Whilst the cleanser is still fresh on your skin, take about 1 tablespoon of dried, crumbled Arame seaweed and pat it gently all over your face, taking care to avoid the delicate eye area.

Using your fingertips, gently massage your face in small circular movements, moving from the center of your face outwards.

This action will aid lymph drainage whilst your skin benefits from the range of nutrients contained in the seaweed. Its crumbly nature will encourage the renewal of skin cells, leaving you with a fresh, bright complexion.

Best of all, when you come to wash off the mixture with a flannel or hot cloth, you can let it all run down the plug hole without worrying about the environmental damage caused by the plastic microbeads found in many contemporary facial exfoliators.

Arame Seaweed Hair Mask

hairmask4

Arame seaweed is a popular ingredient in luxury hair products because of the healthy boost it provides to the scalp, hair shaft, and follicle. If your hair is looking a little dull, your scalp is dry, or you have a build-up of product, this homemade hair mask recipe will set your locks back on track again.

Take between one and three tablespoons of your regular hair conditioner, depending on the length and thickness of your hair. In this, you can mix either 1-3 teaspoons of dried, crumbled Arame, or the same quantity reconstituted by soaking and finely chopped.

Many people prefer the refreshing feel of fresh Arame, as it is cooling on stressed skin and the nutrients it contains are more readily absorbed. Apply this mixture to damp, shampooed hair and pile on top of the head before wrapping in a towel and relaxing for ten to twenty minutes before rinsing out.

If you can bear it, spend the last few seconds rinsing with cold water to lock in the vitamins and minerals which have been absorbed and leave your hair naturally shiny.

Incorporating Arame Seaweed into your Diet

Arame has traditionally been enjoyed as part of many Asian dishes, and its popularity has spread West not just because of the nutritional benefits promised. Arame actually tastes good! Some dried seaweeds often available in health food stores can taste dry, salty, and frankly unpleasant.

Arame however, has the fresh taste of kelp, but is mild and quite enjoyable. Some people describe the flavor as creamy and nutty – certainly not the strong fishy smell you might expect!

This is a seaweed which you can happily feature in a meal, so you won’t need to find ways to disguise it in your cooking. For some ideas on how you can prepare Arame seaweed, see the wide range of recipe links at the bottom of this page.

Seaweed and other sea vegetables are also very convenient for use in smoothies and blended juices. Because Arame can be bought dried, you can choose to sprinkle it in as you might with other seaweeds, or rehydrate it and then add it to the other fruits and vegetables you have chosen.

[8] By adding Arame seaweed to your smoothie, you can be sure of a good hit of nutrients in one convenient drink.

The iron contained in the Arame will become more bioavailable if combined with other ingredients high in vitamin C, such as orange juice. Smoothies are therefore a great way to try Arame without the need to prepare a special meal, enabling you to see the benefits for yourself.

Arame Seaweed Recipes

Brown Rice and Arame Seaweed Salad

This would be a great beginner recipe to try. Consisting largely of ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard (or at least, can shop for easily), this salad is easy to make but provides a hearty lunch with the inclusion of rice.

http://cravinggreens.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/brown-rice-arame-seaweed-salad.html

Ginger Miso Soup with Arame

This recipe also incorporates simple ingredients which shouldn’t be hard to get hold of, but has more of a Japanese flavor. With that classic miso flavor and some extra warmth provided by fresh ginger, this soup is a healthy and substantial way to enjoy Arame seaweed.

http://strongertogether.coop/recipes/ginger-miso-soup-with-arame/

Basic Seaweed Recipe

This recipe is really more of a set of instructions, as smoothie recipes generally are. It is an Irish recipe using Alaria, one of many types of seaweed which have traditionally been harvested and consumed along the coasts of the Emerald Isle. There’s really no reason why this couldn’t be swapped out for Arame though![9]

http://irishseaweedkitchen.ie/seaweed-recipes/basic-seaweed-smoothie/

Sources

1. http://nof.org/calcium#WhatisVitaminD

2. Smyth PP (July 2003). “The thyroid, iodine and breast cancer”. Breast Cancer Research: BCR (review) 5 (5): 235–8. doi:10.1186/bcr638. PMC 314438. PMID 12927031.

3. Golkowski F, Szybinski Z, Rachtan J, Sokolowski A, Buziak-Bereza M, Trofimiuk M, Hubalewska-Dydejczyk A, Przybylik-Mazurek E, Huszno B. (2007). “Iodine prophylaxis–the protective factor against stomach cancer in iodine deficient areas”. Eur J Nutr. 46 (5): 251–6. doi:10.1007/s00394-007-0657-8. PMID 17497074.

4. Korkina, L. G. (2007). “Phenylpropanoids as naturally occurring antioxidants: From plant defense to human health”. Cellular and molecular biology (Noisy-le-Grand, France) 53 (1): 15–25. PMID 17519109.

5. Adlercreutz, H (2007). “Lignans and human health”. Critical reviews in clinical laboratory sciences 44 (5–6): 483–525. doi:10.1080/10408360701612942. PMID 17943494.

6. Okada, Yoshihito, et al. “A new phloroglucinol derivative from the brown alga Eisenia bicyclis: potential for the effective treatment of diabetic complications.” Journal of natural products 67.1 (2004): 103-105.

7. Usui, Taichi, Katsuko Asari, and Takashi Mizuno. “Isolation of highly purified “fucoidan” from Eisenia bicyclis and its anticoagulant and antitumor activities.” Agricultural and Biological Chemistry 44.8 (1980): 1965-1966.

8. http://www.incrediblesmoothies.com/green-smoothies/sea-vegetables-and-green-smoothies/

9. http://irishseaweedkitchen.ie/seaweed-recipes/basic-seaweed-smoothie/

Enjoyed Arame Seaweed: Nutrition Facts & Benefits? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the superfoodsliving journey.

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Angie Briggs has been a health and fitness writer since 2006. Her articles have been published on eHow, LIVESTRONG.COM and GardenGuides. She graduated from Thompson Institute with a diploma as a computer support specialist and received certification from CareerStep as a medical transcriptionist and medical language specialist.

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