The Power of Nori: Major Health Benefits of this Dried Seaweed

If you enjoy biting into healthy, nutritious sushi, you’re probably well acquainted with Nori. Nori is a seaweed falling under the algae family of Porphyra. These edible, paper-like sheets of seaweed are a vital part of Japanese cuisine. They are harvested from the vast seas, where the algae grow on nets suspended across the sea surface. Maturing at a speed of 45 days, these sea vegetables are a highly sustainable and desired crop. On top of that, it requires little or no fertilizers and medicines, making it incredibly healthy and thus gaining the name of a “superfood.”

There is more to Nori than the delicious taste and crunch of sushi! Incredibly nutritious, Nori is loaded with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals that boost your body’s performance from the inside out. Nori is high in protein, a great source of iodine, and improves gut health, but there’s more to Nori than that.

Are you ready to learn everything there is to know about the advantages of Nori? Great! Read on to discover all the benefits of including Nori in your diet!

1. High In Protein

Yes, this ocean-farmed food is high in protein. These thin sheets offer a good dose of that muscle-building nutrient often associated with meat and dairy. About half of Nori’s dry weight is protein. So, two sheets of Nori contain the same amount of protein as 15 grams of boiled soybeans!

Protein is a macronutrient that humans cannot survive without. It is essential in building bones and muscles, but it provides you with oxygen, fuels you with energy, and plays a vital role in every cell of your body. Vegetarians and those with allergies to meat and dairy products can find their much-needed source of protein in Nori.

2. A Source of Iodine

A single sheet of Nori can fulfill about 30% of your daily value for iodine. Since your body cannot make iodine by itself, it is a highly essential micronutrient that must be supplemented.

Iodine is essential to the metabolism system and helps turn food into energy. Furthermore, it plays a vital role in keeping your thyroid gland healthy. Iodine deficiency can cause many health problems, including hypothyroidism and abnormal weight gain.

3. Improves Gut Health

Nori is an ideal food for the gut. According to the Journal of Applied Phycology, seaweed contains high amounts of fiber, reaching up to 64 percent of its dry weight.

The fiber in Nori feeds the gut’s bacteria. As a result, the bacteria help break fiber into compounds, improving gut health and the immune system.

Implementing Nori into the diet is a simple way to supply your body with plenty of gut-healthy fiber, which can solve problems such as constipation or diarrhea.

4. Rich in Vitamins

Nori is a perfect source of vitamin C. An average nori sheet contains approximately 5 mg of Vitamin C, which fulfills 10% of the daily recommended value. Vitamin C ensures that your immune system runs smoothly, keeps cardiovascular diseases in check, and keeps your cells and skin healthy.

Nori also provides an ample amount of vitamin A, which is vital for healthy mucosa and skin and improves night vision. Taking sufficient vitamin A also helps protect your body from lung and oral cancers.

Furthermore, Nori is packed with B vitamins. Studies have shown that Nori might be an excellent source of vitamin B12. Nori also contains 80% more vitamin B6 than any other seaweed! These vitamins are perfect for reducing stroke risk and promoting healthy skin, hair, and nails.

5. A Source of Potassium

Potassium is an important mineral that produces positively charged ions when dissolved in water. This electricity is harnessed by the body to manage a variety of processes. For example, it helps keep your heartbeat regular, maintains proper function of muscles, and helps regulate fluid balance. Often underestimated, potassium is directly linked to an array of health benefits.

6. A Source of Magnesium

From supporting muscle and nerve function to producing energy, magnesium takes on many vital roles in your body. Chronically low magnesium levels are found to increase high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, and type 2 diabetes. Seaweeds are a great source of magnesium, and 100 grams of Nori contains about 300 mg of potassium.

7. Provides a Variety of Minerals

Your body cannot function properly without a supply of good minerals. If you doubt you are getting enough minerals, Nori can be the perfect solution. Research has shown that Nori contains considerable amounts of trace minerals such as zine, iron, copper, manganese, and selenium. These minerals work as beneficial antioxidants, preventing free radicals.

Furthermore, zinc fortifies the body’s immune system, heals wounds, and maintains the senses of smell and taste. Similarly, a lack of manganese is correlated to congenital malformations in offspring, compromised reproductive performance, and retarded growth. Nori can provide your body with all these essential minerals and keep you healthy!

8. A Source of Iron

One mineral that helps promote the body’s health is iron. Iron plays an important role in creating red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. A lack of iron causes tiredness, paleness, shortness of breath, and dry and damaged hair and skin. Furthermore, iron deficiency can lead to anemia. Thankfully, Nori is rich in iron and can provide you with this essential mineral.

9. Low in Calories and Fat

Indeed, Nori is a perfect choice if you are looking for low-calorie foods. While Nori affords you the best nutrients, it’s still low in calories. Nori ranks on the top of the list of seaweeds with the healthiest nutrition profile. Nori contains only 35 calories per 100 grams. For instance, if you eat one sheet of Nori, you get only 0.9 calories!

Nori is also very low in fat. Studies have shown that algae inhibit fat absorption by 75 percent! Although Nori is low in fat, it is loaded with soluble fiber, which keeps you full for long. Surprisingly, Nori also contains a natural fat-blocking fiber called alginate. This fiber makes sure that all undigested fat is expelled, which means there are few fat calories stored! 

10. Helps Lose Weight

Many choose a vegan diet to lose weight. However, getting adequate nutrition is highly crucial when cutting off certain foods. Nori is a perfect food that provides all the essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to keep your body healthy while on a diet.

11. Heart-Healthy

Nori is a food that’s not only great in taste but also good for the heart. As we age, cholesterol levels begin to climb, and we start worrying. Avoiding cholesterol lowers the risk of heart disease. Seaweed such as Nori helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Studies show that the high fiber content in algae lowers cholesterol levels in the blood by up to 18%.

Similarly, Nori also provides vitamin K, which prevents arterial blood clotting and is thus beneficial for preventing heart stroke. 

12. Plenty of Antioxidants

Nori contains many antioxidants. A diet high in antioxidants is crucial as it helps reduce the risk of many diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. They also track down free radicals in body cells and prevent damage by oxidation. It also acts as an anti-allergic and anti-human immunodeficiency virus. 

13. Strong Bones and Muscles

The strong presence of protein in Nori has much to benefit your bones and muscles. Nori contains essential amino acids, including alanine, aspartic acid, glycine, glutamic acid, lysine, arginine, leucine, histidine, and isoleucine. 

These amino acids have a vital role in maintaining the body’s health. They promote muscle function, burn fat, and reduce fatigue. Nori also helps you to get the right amount of calcium, which is vital for bone health.

14. Thyroid Function

Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, can cause tiredness, depression, constipation, and severe health problems. Iodine deficiency can also result in goiter, which is a visible enlargement of your thyroid. Fortunately, Nori has an ample amount of iodine, which helps your body control energy levels and promote metabolism.

15. Brain Food

Nori is a great plant-based food that supplies preformed omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which promote brain function. Seaweed and algae are some of the few plant groups that contain omega-3 fatty acids. So, they can be an excellent option for people on a vegan or vegetarian diet.

16. Healthy Hair and Skin

Since it’s a great source of iodine, it keeps your hair, skin, and nails healthy. Furthermore, the vitamin C found in Nori takes part in making your skin brighter, smoother, and youthful. Vitamin C also prevents hair damage, while iron particles contribute to preventing hair loss. Indeed, Nori is a great food that contributes to your beauty.

Last Word

Choosing nutritious foods is the key to enjoying a happy and healthy life. Though popular in Japan for centuries, Nori has recently become a highly-demanded food in the Western world. Now that you know all the benefits and advantages of eating Nori, you can happily add it to your meals—not only to make them more delicious but also healthier!

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This article was co-authored by our team of writers and editors who share one thing in common: their passion for food and drinks!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco works as a New York-based editor at Foodrinke, driven by his lifelong love for food. His culinary journey began in childhood, as he eagerly assisted his mother with her local sandwich and bakery business, relishing every opportunity to sample her creations. Known among family and friends as an easy eater, JC has a particular affinity for Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and Peruvian cuisine. At Foodrinke, he channels his passion for food into his work, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with readers.