7 Health Benefits of Nori That Confirm Its Superfood Status

In a world where chlorophyll water saturates our social flows and demand for green juices depletes our bank accounts, it’s obvious: getting more of the good stuff is a priority. And while we’re all striving to incorporate leafy greens into our meals, a new class of superfoods is taking the wellness industry by storm. In 2023, we’re looking to the sea as a source of vitamins and nutrients, and that’s where the growing interest in the health benefits of nori comes in.

Of course, nori has long been a super staple in Asian cultures. But in the West, especially among Millennials and Gen Xers, nori goes far beyond our sushi orders. Seaweed snacks are flooding the market, and the wellness obsessives among us are increasingly experimenting with nori in our own kitchens. (For context, Pinterest reported a 245% increase in the search term “seaweed snack recipes.”)

Featured image by Ashleigh Amoroso.

1 of 5Image by Kate LeSueur Nori Health Benefits: Dietitian looks into

But we can’t stress it enough: while sea vegetables seem to be going “mainstream,” nori and the like are crucial parts of cuisines, including Japanese, Korean, and Filipino. They are nutrient-dense, rich in vitamin C and iron, but the health benefits of nori go even further.

For a look at the super staple, we spoke with Chicago-based dietitian May Zhu. Below, May shares everything from the top benefits of nori to creative and delicious ways to incorporate seaweed into your daily diet. Keep reading for everything you need to know.

What are the health benefits of nori?

As we prefaced above, brace yourself: the health benefits of nori are vast. It’s a solid choice for everything from fiber to phytonutrients to antioxidants. (And PSA: Time to incorporate nori into your anti-inflammatory routine.) Below, May breaks it down further.

Can promote household health.

Nori contains omega-3 fatty acids (EPA, in particular) which help reduce the risk of heart disease when eaten as part of a healthy diet low in saturated fat.

Contains anti-inflammatory properties.

Antioxidants in some edible seaweed block the COX-2 enzyme (also known as cyclooxygenase-2 enzyme) and, in turn, also reduce an inflammatory mediator called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). Both are widely known to be responsible for inflammation. The polyunsaturated fatty acid content, including the essential fatty acids EPA and DHA, may also contribute to the anti-inflammatory effects.

May help balance blood sugar and increase satiety.

Nori contains small amounts of protein and fiber which together can help reduce hunger and increase satiety.

Contains bioavailable iron.

In a study conducted at the University of Hawaii, 13 varieties of edible seaweed were investigated. Nori has been found to provide more bioavailable iron (the available amount our bodies can absorb) compared to what you get from eating the same amount of spinach. Iron supports the immune system and affects how our body produces and uses energy.

May promote healthy hair and skin.

Iodine helps promote healthy skin and nails. It works at the cellular level to regenerate the lower layers of the skin. Conversely, iodine deficiencies can lead to dry skin and hair.

Good source of vitamin C.

A 2/3 cup serving of nori contains about 65% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, which the body needs to support immunity, bone, and skin health.

May support gut health.

Nori contains fiber made up of natural polysaccharides, which act as a prebiotic to support a healthy gut microbiome. A healthy and diverse gut microbiome can support immunity and better digestion.

2 of 5Image by Ashleigh Amoroso What particular nutrients in nori make it a health-promoting food? Omega-3 vitamins and fatty acids

In short, nori is a dried seaweed (classified as red seaweed), which is low in calories and contains nutrients like vitamins A, B and C. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids (EPA), which are essential fatty acids that our bodies need but cannot manufacture, so we must obtain them directly from food sources. Consuming foods containing EPA may help support heart health by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Additionally, seaweed itself is high in iodine, which can help support thyroid function. Although iodine deficiencies in the United States are rare, we also need to get iodine specifically through diet. The recommended daily allowance of iodine is 150 micrograms for most adults (more for pregnant or breastfeeding women). One serving (five grams) of dried nori provides about 116 micrograms of iodine, or 77% of the RDI for adults.

Remember: diversify your diet

Remember that healthy eating is about all of our food choices over time and not just one meal or food, so nori can certainly be part of a nutritious diet in moderation. One of the best things we can do for our health is to diversify our food choices so that our nutrients and minerals stay varied.

3 of 5Image by Kate LeSueur Is seaweed safe for everyone?

Seaweed is generally safe in moderate amounts for most healthy people. Although seaweed does not contain the same animal proteins as shellfish, there is a risk of cross-contamination. Therefore, if you have a severe shellfish allergy, it is generally recommended that you also avoid seaweed. Also, if you are on medication or have any underlying health conditions, it is best to consult your doctor before adding nori to your diet to avoid any interference with medication.

And while the iodine in nori may promote thyroid health, overconsumption can worsen symptoms in those with hypothyroidism, so it’s best to limit or consume in moderation if you’re battling the above. .

4 of 5 Image by Ashleigh Amoroso How to add nori to your diet

Nori can be an incredibly versatile ingredient for giving your meals an extra nutrient boost. It is naturally salty and gives an “umami” flavor. As well as being a snack on its own or part of sushi, nori sheets can be used as a wrap, added to soups for extra flavor, or cut into small pieces and used as a garnish for salads or rice bowls. . I love recipes like this Easy Nori Rice Bowl with Tofu and Avocado or Nori Seaweed Popcorn.

Mori Nori Recipes to Try

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