Nori seaweed: Benefits & Nutritional values

Characteristic of nori seaweed

  • Exceptional iodine content;
  • Rich in protein;
  • Contains phytonutrients;
  • Antioxidant power;
  • Very rich in sodium.

 Nutritional and caloric values ​​of nori seaweed

Nori seaweed has a unique nutritional profile characterized by an exceptional content of quality proteins and micronutrients. Among these micronutrients, it is essential to highlight the great richness of nori seaweed in iodine, sodium, iron, potassium and beta-carotene. As for vitamins, nori seaweed has the advantage of containing a very large amount of vitamins B9, C, A and B3.

This richness in essential nutrients makes nori seaweed an ally of choice for providing the body with what it needs, and more. Moreover, nori seaweed can be very interesting to prevent possible dietary deficiencies and provide a complementary contribution to athletes or as part of a vegetarian diet. 

For 100 g of dried seaweed:

NutrientsAverage content
Lipids-Saturated-Monounsaturated-Polyunsaturated1.8 g0.4 g0.2 g0.7 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Protein36 g
Carbohydrates23.5 g
Fibers1.9 g
Sodium300 mg
Calcium436 mg
Iron11.2 mg
Zinc6.5 mg
Phosphorus361 mg
Potassium2219 mg
Food folate / B9912 µg
Vitamin C243 mg
Vitamin A (retinol equivalents)1621 µg
Beta carotene19457 µg
Niacin / B3 (equivalents)13.6 ND

 The benefits of nori seaweed

Thanks to its exceptional composition, nori seaweed represents a real benefit for the optimal functioning of the organism when it is consumed as part of a varied and balanced diet. It is interesting to highlight, among other things, its great richness in proteins and phytonutrients. 

An exceptional protein content 

Nori seaweed is the second most protein-rich edible seaweed. Vegans include it a lot in their diet, especially because it contains almost all essential amino acids. Nori seaweed is low in fat and contains dietary fiber.

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Seaweed is rich in vitamins and minerals  

Nori seaweed is rich in minerals including calcium, iodine, potassium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. It is also a source of vitamin A (especially beta-carotene), the B complex (B2, B3, B9) and vitamin C.

An interesting content of phytonutrients

Few studies have focused specifically on nori seaweed. In general, algae are rich in phytonutrients and they are attributed various benefits including arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure, constipation, cancerous tumors, obesity and constipation. Unfortunately, studies have yet to demonstrate these benefits. The main active compound responsible for these benefits would be the “sulphated” polysaccharides.

A word from the nutritionist

Vegans are at higher risk of iodine deficiency because they consume few processed and salty foods and they do not consume fish or dairy products, the two main sources of iodine. Nori sheets are therefore a good alternative. In addition, due to its interesting content in vitamins and minerals, nori seaweed is an ally for vegans and a food to be discovered in omnivores. Do not hesitate to integrate it other than in sushi and you will be delighted!

 How do you choose the right nori seaweed?

Nori seaweed is most often sold dried in the form of thin leaves, used to make makis and other Asian delicacies. To obtain nori seaweed sheets, the seaweed is first washed in fresh water, crushed, placed in a thin layer and then dried. 

Nori seaweed identity card

  • Family: bangiaceae;
  • Origin: Asia;
  • Season: available all year round;
  • Color: green or black;
  • Flavor: iodine.

What type of nori seaweed should you choose?

For cooking, it is found in dried / dehydrated leaves. It is also available in flakes, granules, or powder from health food stores. Translucent, shiny and brittle sheets are preferably chosen. The smell of nori seaweed should be salty but never unpleasant. 

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Store the nori seaweed

The dried form can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place protected from light. Dried seaweed can be stored for almost two years, which allows it to be enjoyed for a long time and to avoid wastage. Fresh seaweed, on the other hand, needs to be consumed much faster and can be frozen without problem. 

Rehydrate nori seaweed 

Ideally, nori seaweed should be soaked before eating or cooking. The time varies between 5 and 60 minutes of soaking. Seaweed leaves, on the other hand, can simply be moistened by hand just before use. They do not require soaking, which would make them difficult to use. 

 How to prepare nori seaweed

Nori seaweed is mainly used in maki sushi. Like a seasoning or a garnish, it is also added in Asian-style soups, pasta or vegetable dishes, salads to enhance the flavor. There are also snacks of dried nori sheets. 

Seaweed and fish, a always successful marriage 

The iodized and marine flavor of nori seaweed goes wonderfully with most fish and seafood, creating a multitude of healthy and original recipes. Beyond traditional sushi, dried nori seaweed can be used to wrap a fish before cooking, which will slowly diffuse its powerful aroma under the action of heat. This cooking tip works just as well with seafood as it does with oily or white fish. 

Easily integrate seaweed into recipes 

Incorporating nori seaweed into the kitchen is much easier and more fun than it looks. Here are some easy ideas:

  • Use nori seaweed flakes to flavor savory snacks;
  • Sprinkle nori seaweed over soups, salads and pan-fried vegetables;
  • Make delicious pasta with fish and nori seaweed;
  • Use nori seaweed to subtly spice up a wok or stir-fried rice dish; 
  • Grill the nori seaweed in a pan or in the oven for quick crisps;
  • Make an astonishing algae pesto. 
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Be sure to watch the seasoning 

Be careful not to add salt to meals that contain nori seaweed, as your meal may become too salty. 

 Contraindications and allergies to nori seaweed

Despite serious health benefits, excessive consumption of nori seaweed can be detrimental, even more so in certain special cases. Indeed, the sodium and iodine contained in large quantities in this ingredient can lead to hormonal imbalances and disrupt the cardiovascular system in a fragile person. 

Watch out for excess iodine

In people with a problem with the functioning of the thyroid, excess iodine may worsen the condition and interfere with treatment. It is therefore important not to consume excess algae. However, be aware that nori seaweed contains little of it compared to other seaweeds.

An algae naturally rich in sodium

Nori seaweed is a naturally salty food. It is therefore necessary to limit as much as possible the addition of salt or the consumption of other foods rich in sodium during the day. Too high a sodium intake can increase the risk of high blood pressure, vascular and cardiac damage unrelated to blood pressure, adversely affects calcium metabolism and bone metabolism, increases the risk of gastric cancer as well as the severity of asthma.

 History and anecdotes

In Japan, two varieties of nori are widely cultivated: the species Pyropia tenera and the species Pyropia yezoensis. Their cultivation, called algoculture, is considered to have started in the 1600s in Tokyo. Since then, the cultivation of nori seaweed has spread throughout Asia. 

In France, there is a culture of nori seaweed in Brittany. This very recent culture would have appeared at the end of the 20th century and is, even today, extremely limited. However, there is a slight development of seaweed farming in France, coinciding with the recent craze for organic farming and “super foods”.