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by Erika Albertini, PT, DPT June 20, 2024 7 min read

Why is Nori good for you?

Nori, the dark green seaweed wrapping around your sushi, is more than a tasty treat. Packed with nutrients, this ocean vegetable offers many health benefits. Nori's nutrient-rich profile translates into several health benefits. It supports various aspects of health, from thyroid function to heart health. 

Whether you're a health enthusiast or just curious about your food, understanding why nori is good for you can be eye-opening. So, let's dive in!

What is Nori?

Nori is a type of edible seaweed, mostly used in Japanese food. It's made from red algae calledPorphyra. After harvesting, it's shredded, dried, and pressed into thin sheets. 

Nori’s Nutrient Profile:

Did you know that nori is incredibly healthy and packed with essential nutrients? It's full of protein, vitamins, and minerals like taurine, choline, inositol, and betaines, which can help prevent stomach ulcers and lower blood cholesterol levels. One of the standout nutrients in nori is vitamin B12, which is usually hard to find in plant-based foods. This makes nori a fantastic option for vegetarians who might need more vitamin B12 and iron, both of which are crucial for preventing anemia.

What's really cool about Nori is that it has more iron than most other plant foods and contains Omega-3 fatty acids, similar to those found in fish oils. These nutrients offer numerous health benefits, such as boosting the immune system, fighting cancer, lowering cholesterol, and acting as antioxidants. So, adding nori to your diet is a great way to support your overall health!

Nori is low in calories and fat but packed with protein and fiber, making it a fantastic addition to any diet. Whether you're looking to lose weight or just eat healthier, nori is a great choice. Here's what you get in just a small serving:

Macronutrients: Nori provides a good balance of macronutrients. It contains protein, carbohydrates, and a minimal amount of fat. This balance helps support various bodily functions and provides sustained energy.

Vitamins and Minerals: It's rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, and several B vitamins. It also packs a punch with essential minerals like iodine, calcium, magnesium, and iron. These nutrients are vital for maintaining overall health and well-being.


Health Benefits of Nori

Rich in Iodine: Iodine is super important for your thyroid health. Your thyroid gland needs iodine to produce hormones that control your metabolism. If you don't get enough iodine, you could end up with hypothyroidism, which comes with symptoms like fatigue, weight gain, and depression.

The Harvard School of Public Health says that the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iodine in adults is 150 micrograms daily, and the tolerable upper limit is 1,100 micrograms. One serving of dried nori, about 10 grams of dry weight, contains 232 micrograms of iodine (155% of the RDA). A serving of processed seaweed chips (about 5 grams) contains about 80 micrograms of iodine.

 

High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids:Omega-3 fatty acids are really important for staying healthy and preventing diseases. TheOmega-3 PUFAs in Nori have some amazing benefits, like reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, dementia, and depression. They also help with visual and neurological development.

Omega-3 fatty acids can also improve joint pain, decrease tumor size, and are essential in growth and development throughout the life cycle.

 

Antioxidant Properties:The antioxidant phytochemicals in Nori are really important for preventing and treating chronic diseases caused by oxidative stress. Nori contains various antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, which help neutralize free radicals. This reduces the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Nori seaweed extract also showed the highest potential foracetylcholinesterase inhibition, suggesting potential health improvement and management of diseases associated with oxidative stress and neurodegeneration.

 

Supports Weight Loss: Looking to lose weight? Nori could be your new go-to. It's low in calories and packed with fiber, so you can indulge without stressing about your waistline. The dietary fibers in Nori help curb hunger and keep you feeling full longer, which can aid weight loss by reducing cravings and increasing satisfaction. The fermentation of seaweed fibers by bacteria in the colon into short-chain fatty acids is also associated with weight regulation. Adding Nori to your meals can help control your appetite and support your efforts to manage weight.

An attractive woman with a measuring tape wrapped around her waist, gazing downward

Did you know? Nori can help control your appetite.

 

Boosts Immune System: Nori contains bioactive compounds with immunomodulation, anticancer, andantihyperlipidemic activities, indicating its potential benefits to human health.  

Nori is also rich in vitamins and minerals that enhance your immune function. Vitamins A and C, in particular, are crucial for a strong immune system, helping your body fend off infections and stay well. Eating Nori regularly can strengthen your immune defenses, which is especially beneficial during cold and flu season.

 

Enhances Gut Health: Your gut really benefits from fiber, and nori is packed with it. The fiber in nori acts like a prebiotic, feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut.  The fibers in Nori are fermented by bacteria to produce short-chain fatty acids. When the fibers in nori are fermented by gut bacteria, they produce short-chain fatty acids. These acids play a key role in maintaining gut health by protecting against harmful pathogens, boosting immunity, and promoting the growth of beneficial bacterial strains. 

Having a healthy gut microbiome is essential for good digestion, absorbing nutrients effectively, and overall health. 


Convenient Ways to Add Nori to Your Diet

Here are some ideas:

Nori-Infused Water: Nori-infused water is a simple and refreshing way to incorporate the nutritional benefits of nori into your daily routine. 

Place the nori pieces into a pitcher or large jar. Add water, ensuring the nori is fully submerged. Let the nori steep in the water for at least 1-2 hours. Strain the water to remove the nori pieces. Add a squeeze of lemon or a few slices of cucumber to the infused water for extra flavor.

 

Smoothies: Nori smoothies are a creative and nutritious way to incorporate seaweed into your diet—the subtle umami flavor of nori pairs well with various fruits and vegetables. 

Combine the nori in a blender with your fruit and vegetable selection. Add yogurt and coconut water or almond milk. Blend on high until the mixture is smooth and creamy for added nutrition, chia seeds, flax seeds, or a teaspoon of honey.

 A handsome man enjoyingly drinking his green juice.

Super greens powders for the win!

 

Super Greens Powders: One of the easiest ways to consume nori is through super greens powders. They often combine nori with other nutritious greens, giving you a boost of vitamins and minerals. 

Rewind Greens provides an array of delicious super greens powders, making it easy to incorporate nori into your diet. Simply mix a scoop with water, a smoothie, or juice for a swift nutrient boost. Discover some recipes with Rewind Greens' super greens here.


Conclusion:

So, let's wrap this up! Nori isn't just that green stuff wrapped around your sushi. It's a nutritional powerhouse that's great for your health in so many ways. Whether it's supporting your thyroid with iodine, boosting your heart health with omega-3s, or packing your diet with antioxidants, nori has got you covered. Plus, it's super easy to add to your diet. Throw some nori into your water, blend it into a smoothie, or use a super greens powder likeRewind Greens. It's a simple way to give your body a nutrient boost every day.


Why not try adding some nori to your diet this week? Your health will get a delicious upgrade!

FAQs:

Q1: Why Should You Add Nori to Your Diet?

Nori is a nutritional powerhouse that supports thyroid health with iodine, boosts heart health with omega-3s, and packs your diet with antioxidants. It's easy to add to your diet, whether in green juices, smoothies, or super greens powders like Rewind Greens. Incorporate nori into your meals for a delicious and nutritious upgrade to your health.


Q2: What Nutrients are Found in Nori?

Nori is incredibly healthy and rich in essential nutrients such as protein, vitamins (like B12, A, C, E, K), minerals (including iodine, calcium, magnesium, iron), and beneficial compounds like Omega-3 fatty acids.


Q3: What Antioxidants are Present in Nori?

Nori is rich in antioxidants such as vitamins C and E. These antioxidants help fight oxidative stress, protecting the body from cell damage and reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.


Q4: How Can Nori Aid in Weight Loss?

Nori is low in calories and high in fiber, which helps you feel full longer. Incorporating nori into your meals can curb your appetite and support weight management efforts, making it easier to maintain or lose weight.


Q5: Can Nori Improve Heart Health?

Yes, the omega-3 fatty acids in Nori contribute to heart health by reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure. Diets rich in omega-3s are linked to a lower risk of heart disease.


Citations:

Noda, H. (1993). Health benefits and nutritional properties of nori.Journal of Applied Phycology, 5, 255-258.https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00004027.

Watanabe, F., Takenaka, S., Katsura, H., Masumder, S., Abe, K., Tamura, Y., & Nakano, Y. (1999). Dried green and purple lavers (Nori) contain substantial amounts of biologically active vitamin B(12) but less of dietary iodine relative to other edible seaweeds..Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 47 6, 2341-3.https://doi.org/10.1021/JF981065C.

Bito, T., Teng, F., & Watanabe, F. (2017). Bioactive Compounds of Edible Purple Laver Porphyra sp. (Nori)..Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 65 49, 10685-10692 .https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.7b04688.

HARVARD T.H. CHAN School of Public Health. (2024, May 9).Seaweed. The Nutrition Source.https://nutritionsource.hsph.harvard.edu/seaweed/ 

Shahidi, F., & Ambigaipalan, P. (2018). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Their Health Benefits..Annual review of food science and technology, 9, 345-381 .https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-food-111317-095850.

Akhlaghi, M. (2022). The role of dietary fibers in regulating appetite, an overview of mechanisms and weight consequences..Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 1-12 .https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2022.2130160.

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