Seaweed: Nori, Wakame, Kelp, Irish Moss, Hijiki, Kombu, Arame

Ascophyllum nodosum, also known as Irish Moss, Carrageen Moss, Bladder-wrack, Sea Oak, Kelpware, Black Tany, and Bladder Fucus, is a type of seaweed common on the rocky shores of Europe, as well as the east coast of the United States and Canada. It is a variable plant that clings to stones and rocks and remains underwater most of the time. Irish moss often grows abundantly in deep water. It features flat, forked stems or fronds, measuring two to twelve inches long, and ranges in color from greenish to purplish-brown or reddish-brown. While somewhat cartilaginous and flexible when wet, it becomes brittle when dried. Gathered at low tide, Irish moss is thoroughly washed in fresh water and dried. Upon exposure to sunlight, it bleaches creamy white, earning the names “pearl moss” or simply “sea moss.” Seaweed provides excellent nutrition as they are nutrient-dense and mineral-rich, containing natural iodine.

Seaweed Nutrition Facts and Calories Chart

It is an incredibly nutritious food, packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Rich in iodine and Omega-3 fatty acids, seaweed is a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium, as well as vitamins A, C, and E. Seaweed is also a low-calorie food, making it a great choice for those looking to lose or maintain weight. Its high fiber content makes it a great choice for digestive health, and its antioxidants help to protect against cellular damage. With its unique flavor and texture, seaweed makes a delicious addition to any meal. Nutritional value per 100 g seaweed:

  • Biotin: 0.2 mcg
  • Calcium: 180 mg
  • Carbohydrates (Carbs): 7.7 g
  • Chloride: 412 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Choline: 35 mg
  • Chromium: 0.2 mcg
  • Copper: 0.2 mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 1.6 g
  • Energy (Calories): 38 kcal
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Iodine: 5.3 mcg
  • Iron: 6.6 mg
  • Magnesium: 76 mg
  • Manganese: 0.4 mg
  • Molybdenum: 0.2 mcg
  • Pantothenic Acid: 0.2 mg
  • Phosphorus: 57 mg
  • Potassium: 514 mg
  • Protein: 1.9 g
  • Saturated fat: 0 g
  • Selenium: 0.4 mcg
  • Sodium: 28 mg
  • Sugars: 0 g
  • Vitamin A: 300 IU
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.1 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.8 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 51 mcg
  • Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
  • Vitamin C: 0 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0 IU
  • Vitamin E: 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin K: 2.6 mcg
  • Water: 91 g
  • Zinc: 0.4 mg

Seaweed Types

Konbu (kombu) seaweed is the part of traditional Japanese diet along with whole grains, fish, vegetables, soy products and tofu. Japanese people are more likely to reach 100 years old than anyone else in the world, a fact that researchers attribute to their diet. Konbu, Nori, Wakame, Hijiki, Agar-Agar (kanten) are most commonly used seaweeds in Japan. Sushi and miso soups are some dishes full of seaweed. There several different types of seaweeds available all over the world. Seaweeds are very beneficial. Few most popular are: Durville utili (Chile), Enteromorpha compressa and Gelidium comeum (Japan), Gigartina lichnoides (Ceylon moss), Laminaria potatorum (Australia), Laurelia pinnatifida (Scotland), Marathrum foeniculaceum (Mexico and New Granada), Porphjrra vulgaris (Tokyo, Japan), Rhodymenia palmata, Sphaerococcus cartilaginens (China).

1. Nori

Nori, a thin sheet of seaweed most commonly used to wrap sushi, belongs to the red algae family and is edible. It finds widespread use in Japanese cuisine, particularly for making sushi rolls (maki) and wrapping rice balls (onigiri). Typically cultivated on nets in coastal waters, nori is then processed into thin, dried sheets, imparting a distinctive texture and flavor characterized by a slightly salty and savory taste. Nori’s rich umami flavor profile enhances the taste of various dishes. Besides sushi, nori can be crumbled over salads, soups, and noodles, or used as a seasoning for rice dishes. It also serves as a good source of vitamin B12, with five different biologically active vitamin B12 compounds identified in nori: cyanocobalamin, hydroxycobalamin, sulfitocobalamin, adenosylcobalamin, and methylcobalamin.

2. Wakame

Wakame is a thicker type of seaweed with a stringy texture, and it is often used in soups and salads. Nori and Wakame are both types of edible seaweed. Both types of seaweed provide a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K, iodine, magnesium, and iron.

3. Kelp (Ascophyllum nodosom)

Kelp, belonging to seaweeds of the brown algal order Laminariales, possesses large, flat, leaf-like fronds. It thrives in underwater kelp forests along rocky coastlines in cold, nutrient-rich waters worldwide. Kelp exhibits robust growth and an extensive branching structure, providing habitat and food for various marine organisms. Bladder wrack, a class of brown algae, is generally the most used for producing kelp products. Many medicinal uses and claims are attributed to kelp. It cleanses the arteries by removing deposits from their walls, thus restoring their elasticity. Kelp is particularly renowned for its high iodine content, which is essential for thyroid function and overall health. However, excessive consumption of kelp can lead to iodine toxicity, so individuals should consume it in moderation.

4. Kombu

Kombu, also known as dashima or haidai, is a large, thick brown kelp commonly used in East Asian cuisine. It’s highly valued for its rich umami flavor and nutritional content. It is a type of kelp seaweed commonly used in Japanese cuisine. It is rich in essential minerals such as iodine, calcium, and iron. Kombu is often used to make dashi, a traditional Japanese stock used as a base for soups, stews, and sauces. It can also be used to flavor and tenderize various dishes.

5. Arame

Arame is a thin, filamentous brown seaweed found on the rocky shores of East Asia. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor and a chewy texture. Native to the waters around Japan and other parts of Asia. It is typically sold dried and needs to be rehydrated before use. Arame is known for its slightly sweet and delicate taste. It is often used in salads, stir-fries, miso soups and sushi rolls. Arame is rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, making it a nutritious addition to various dishes.

6. Hijiki

Hijiki, a dark brown, stringy seaweed with a strong, earthy flavor, is commonly found in Japan, Korea, and China. When cooked, it has a slightly crunchy texture. Hijiki, rich in dietary fiber, calcium, magnesium, and other essential minerals, is a staple in traditional Asian cuisine, particularly in salads, stir-fries, and sushi dishes. People value it not only for its nutritional content but also for its unique taste and texture in culinary applications. However, it is important to note that hijiki can also contain high levels of arsenic, so consumers should moderate their intake.

7. Sea Moss (Chondrus crispus)

Sea moss, often confused with Irish Moss, has a jelly-like texture and mild flavor. It is popular in the Caribbean and gaining traction worldwide. Sea moss is rich in carrageenan, a type of polysaccharide used as a thickening agent in various food products. Traditionally, people have used sea moss in Irish and Jamaican cuisine to create a gel-like substance used in desserts and beverages. Beyond its culinary uses, people value sea moss for its potential health benefits, including its ability to support digestive health, boost immunity, and promote skin health.

8. Sea Palm (Postelsia palmaeformis)

Sea Palm, a type of green seaweed, commonly found along rocky coastlines in the Pacific Northwest of North America, features long, finger-like fronds. People favor Sea Palm for its crunchy texture and salty flavor, making it a popular ingredient in salads, stir-fries, and sushi dishes. Additionally, it serves as a nutritious snack when enjoyed raw or roasted.

9. Sea Grapes (Caulerpa lentillifera)

Sea Grapes, also known as green caviar or umibudo, are a type of green seaweed native to tropical regions such as Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. They are small, spherical seaweed structures that burst with a briny flavor when bitten into. People often use Sea Grapes in salads, sushi, and as a garnish for seafood dishes because of their unique taste and texture, as well as their high nutritional value.

10. Sea Beans (Salicornia spp.)

Sea Beans, also known as glasswort or marsh samphire, are succulent green plants that grow in coastal regions around the world. They have thin, stringy pods with a crisp, crunchy texture and a salty, savory flavor reminiscent of the sea. People often use Sea Beans in salads, stir-fries, and soups to add a burst of flavor and a satisfying crunch.

11. Sea Lettuce (Ulva spp.)

Sea Lettuce is a bright green seaweed that grows in shallow coastal waters around the world. It has a delicate texture and a mild, slightly salty flavor. Sea Lettuce is often used in salads, sushi rolls, and as a garnish for seafood dishes. It is rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making it a nutritious addition to various culinary creations.

12. Ulva

Ulva is a genus of green seaweed that includes various species found in marine and freshwater environments worldwide. It is commonly known as sea lettuce due to its leafy appearance and vibrant green color. Ulva is rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and protein. It is often consumed raw in salads, soups, and sushi, or dried and used as a seasoning or snack.

13. Dulse (Palmaria palmata)

Dulse, a red seaweed species native to the North Atlantic and Pacific coastlines, possesses a chewy texture and a salty, slightly smoky flavor. People commonly utilize Dulse as a nutritious snack or incorporate it into salads, soups, and stir-fries for its unique taste and nutritional benefits. Its richness in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants renders it a valuable addition to a healthy diet.

14. Irish Moss (Chondrus crispus)

Irish Moss, a red seaweed species, grows along the rocky shores of the North Atlantic. It contains carrageenan, a natural thickening agent utilized in food products such as ice cream and pudding. People consume Irish Moss in its whole form and recognize its potential health benefits, including its ability to support digestive health and boost immunity.

15. Sea Spaghetti (Himanthalia elongata)

Sea Spaghetti, a brown seaweed species, thrives along the Atlantic coastlines of Europe. It features long, spaghetti-like fronds and boasts a rich, savory flavor. People frequently incorporate Sea Spaghetti into salads, pasta dishes, and soups, where it lends a unique texture and depth of flavor. Its richness in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants makes it a nutritious addition to various culinary creations.

16. Mozuku (Cladosiphon okamuranus)

Mozuku, a type of brown seaweed native to the waters around Japan and other parts of East Asia, features long, slimy fronds and a slightly sweet taste. In Japanese cuisine, people commonly serve Mozuku as a cold appetizer, typically dressing it with vinegar or soy sauce. It contains rich fucoidan, a type of polysaccharide with potential health benefits, including immune support and anti-inflammatory properties.

17. Bladderwrack (Fucus vesiculosus)

Bladderwrack, a brown seaweed species commonly found in cold coastal waters, particularly in the North Atlantic and Baltic Sea, contains rich iodine, vitamins, and minerals. Traditionally, people have used it for potential health benefits, including thyroid support and weight management. People often consume Bladderwrack in supplement form or add it to soups and broths for its nutritional value and savory flavor.

Health Benefits

Seaweed, a type of algae, grows in oceans and other bodies of saltwater. It serves as a staple in many Asian cuisines and has been a medicinal herb for centuries. Recently, the West has embraced it as a superfood. Seaweed contains essential vitamins and minerals and serves as an excellent source of protein and fiber. Consuming seaweed offers numerous health benefits, including improved digestion, a stronger immune system, and better heart health.

Digestive Health

Seaweed is an excellent source of dietary fiber, containing both soluble and insoluble fibers. This helps to maintain regularity and prevent constipation. It is also a good source of prebiotics, which helps to nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut. This helps to improve the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.

Immune System

Seaweed contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that help to boost the immune system. It is high in antioxidants which help to fight free radicals and prevent cell damage. Additionally, it is a great source of zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin A, which are all essential for a healthy immune system.

Heart Health

Seaweed is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for heart health. They help to reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, it is high in potassium which helps to regulate blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke.

Thyroid Function

Lack of iodine can lead to an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter) or other iodine deficiency disorders including mental retardation and stunted growth in babies and children. Seaweeds is rich source of iodine along with dairy products, kelp, eggs, some vegetables and iodized salt. The high iodine content of this plant, providing an ample supply of iodine to the body, has made this plant valuable for cases of obesity, because of the normalizing effect upon the thyroid gland. Seaweed also contains Vitamin C, Vitamin A, omega-3 essential fatty acids, growth hormones, enzymes, many of the B-complex vitamins and Vitamin E.

Reproductive Organ Health

Seaweed have a remedial and normalizing effect upon the reproductive organs, including the prostate gland, the uterus, the testes and the ovaries. Manganese present in the seaweed is very useful for brain tissue by adding great value to the sensory nerves and to the meninges, the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord. One of the more popular use of sea weed is controlling obesity.

Skin Health

The presence of silicon in seaweed is very helpful to keep the skin away from wrinkling and sagging. Silicon is also an important food for the roots of the hair and an ample supply of seaweed will usually prevent hair from falling out. Seaweed aids in the health of fingernails as it contains silicon, calcium, and sulfur, all of which are necessary for healthy nails.

May Be Useful in Cancer

Seaweed also cleanses the colon by clearing away many toxic substances that adhere to the lining of the large intestine (the colon) and are constantly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing nervous disorders, rheumatism, kidney troubles, and severe headaches. According to some research Wakame is rich in iodine and may be useful in breast cancer.

Interesting Uses

  • Cosmetics and Skincare: Cosmetics and skincare products commonly use seaweed extracts due to their moisturizing, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Seaweed can hydrate the skin, improve its elasticity, and protect it from environmental damage.
  • Fertilizer: Seaweed is an excellent source of nutrients and minerals, making it valuable as organic fertilizer for plants. Seaweed-based fertilizers can improve soil structure, enhance plant growth, and increase crop yield.
  • Medicinal Purposes: Researchers have found that seaweed contains bioactive compounds with potential medicinal properties. Traditional medicine has utilized seaweed to treat various ailments such as thyroid disorders, inflammation, and digestive issues. Ongoing research aims to explore the therapeutic potential of seaweed in modern medicine.
  • Industrial Applications: Various industrial processes utilize seaweed, including the production of agar, carrageenan, and alginate, which serve as thickeners, stabilizers, and gelling agents in the food industry. Additionally, industries use seaweed extracts in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and biotechnology.
  • Environmental Benefits: Seaweed plays a crucial role in marine ecosystems by providing habitat and food for marine organisms, supporting biodiversity, and contributing to coastal protection and stabilization. Seaweed cultivation can also help mitigate carbon dioxide levels and reduce ocean acidification.
  • Biofuel Production: Through processes such as fermentation and anaerobic digestion, researchers convert some species of seaweed into biofuels. Seaweed-based biofuels present a renewable and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels.

Side Effects and Risks

Seaweed side effects may include interference with thyroid function, irregular heartbeat, pounding heart, nervousness, insomnia, difficulty breathing, excessive fatigue, bleeding, cramps, acne, itching, rash; metallic taste in the mouth and sores at the mouth corners may indicate overuse. It is not advisable to use in pregnancy or breast feeding without expert advice as it interacts with several kinds of drugs.


Q. Is seaweed considered vegan?
Yes, people generally consider seaweed vegan as it is a plant-based food harvested from the ocean. They widely consume it in vegan diets and appreciate its nutritional benefits. Q. Can you feed a cat or dog seaweed?
While small amounts of certain types of seaweed may offer health benefits to pets, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian before introducing seaweed into your pet’s diet. Some seaweeds may contain components that are harmful to cats and dogs.
Q. Which seaweed is the most nutritious?
Different types of seaweeds offer various nutritional benefits. However, some commonly recognized nutrient-dense seaweeds include nori, kelp, dulse, and wakame. Each type offers a unique profile of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients.
Q. Are Brown Seaweeds and Red Seaweeds more efficient than Green Seaweeds and Land Plants?
Brown and red seaweeds tend to be more nutrient-dense compared to green seaweeds and many land plants. They often contain higher levels of minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, making them valuable additions to a healthy diet.

Q. How do I grow seaweed at home?

Growing seaweed at home typically requires suitable marine conditions, including access to saltwater and proper temperature and light levels. Specific methods vary depending on the type of seaweed you want to grow, but generally involve securing seaweed spores to a substrate and allowing them to develop in a controlled environment.

Q. How much kelp should I take daily? What is the best way to consume kelp?

Usually one ten-grain tablet or two five grain tablets of kelp per day is sufficient for good results. Another method of taking kelp is to take an ounce of the powdered kelp and pour a pint of boiling water over the powder and allow it to steep for about ten or fifteen minutes. A cup of this infusion twice a day is usually sufficient. Capsules are great option because seaweed smells and tastes awful. If you do not like the oceanic taste of seaweed, then you can powder and encapsulate them. Seaweed contains beta-glucan, which is an example of a good probiotic.

Q. Is there a replacement for seaweed in sushi? How do you make sushi with no seaweed?

While seaweed is a traditional component of sushi, you can make sushi without seaweed by using alternatives such as soy paper, cucumber slices, or even thinly sliced vegetables like zucchini or radish.

Q. Why is seaweed more popular in Japan than in America?

Seaweed has been a staple in Japanese cuisine for centuries, deeply ingrained in its culinary traditions. In contrast, seaweed consumption in Western countries like the United States has been relatively limited until recent years, primarily due to cultural differences in food preferences and availability.

Q. Is seaweed a plant or an animal or seafood?

Seaweed is neither a plant nor an animal; it is classified as algae. Algae are a diverse group of photosynthetic organisms that can range from single-celled organisms to large multicellular structures like seaweeds.

Q. What kind of seaweed can I use for miso soup?

Wakame is a common type of seaweed used in miso soup. It has a delicate flavor and texture that complements the savory broth of the soup.

Q. How many packs of seaweed is ok to eat at a time?

The appropriate amount of seaweed to eat depends on individual dietary needs and preferences. While seaweed can be a nutritious addition to your diet, it’s essential to consume it in moderation, as excessive intake may lead to excessive iodine levels or other potential issues.

Q. Does seaweed have protein in them?

Yes, seaweed does contain protein, although the amount varies depending on the type of seaweed. Some varieties of seaweed, such as spirulina and nori, offer high protein content and are valued as plant-based protein sources.

Q. Is seaweed veg or non-veg?

People consider seaweed vegan as it is a plant-based food harvested from the ocean. It is widely consumed in vegetarian and vegan diets because of its nutritional benefits.

Q. What is the difference between seaweed and seagrass?

Marine algae is a type of seaweed that grows in the ocean and is typically anchored to rocks or other substrates. Seagrass, on the other hand, is a flowering plant that grows in underwater meadows in coastal areas. While both seaweed and seagrass are important components of marine ecosystems, they belong to different taxonomic groups and have distinct characteristics.

Q. Which varieties of seaweed are poisonous?

While the majority of seaweed species are safe to eat, some varieties may contain toxins that can be harmful if consumed in large quantities or if not properly prepared. For example, certain species of red algae (e.g., dulse) and green algae (e.g., sea lettuce) are generally safe to eat, while others may contain harmful compounds.

Q. What is the difference between Japanese and Korean seaweed?

Japanese and Korean seaweed, while both popular in their respective cuisines, differ in terms of variety, taste, and preparation methods. For example, in Japanese cuisine, nori is a commonly used seaweed, often employed to wrap sushi rolls, while Korean cuisine features varieties such as gim, utilized in dishes like gimbap (Korean sushi rolls).

Q. What do seaweed and cow burps have to do with climate change?

Seaweed and cow burps are both related to climate change through their impact on greenhouse gas emissions. Seaweed has been studied for its potential to reduce methane emissions from livestock, including cows, when added to their diet. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. By reducing methane emissions from cows, seaweed supplementation may help mitigate climate change. But not all seaweeds are suitable for feeding to cows. Some species may contain toxins or other compounds that could be harmful to livestock. Research has primarily focused on specific types of seaweed, such as Asparagopsis, known for its methane-reducing properties. Consulting with veterinarians, nutritionists, and agricultural experts can provide valuable insights into the potential benefits and risks of feeding seaweed to cows.

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