Main Reason for the Popularity of Nori, Especially in Japan

If you reside in Japan or the surrounding area, you will most likely have heard of the delicious snacks and delectable meals made from Nori. With a wide variety of Nori choices on the market—over 145 different species worldwide—nori is a culinary delight. The fantastic global Nori market has a projected reach of several billions of dollars in the next years. This alone proves its tremendous popularity, especially in its country of origin. 

The use of Nori in Japan has been around for thousands of years. Many favor this unusual snack as their go-to green vegetable. But surely that can’t be the only reason why Nori is so popular. What makes it so enticing for the Japanese population to consume it in such mammoth quantities? Why do they prefer to choose this food rather than a simple fast-food option?

There is so much more to Nori (commonly known as dried seaweed) than a delightful sushi snack casing. Nori’s nutritious value, healing properties, cost-effective nature, and health benefits make it immensely popular. It is safe for consumption for all ages, rich in antioxidants, low in calories, versatile, easily accessible, and fast-growing – what’s not to love?

So let’s have a look at why this food is so enticing to the large population of Japan.

1. Nori is Astonishingly Nutritious

You may not think it by looking at Nori, but it’s packed with nutrients and minerals. Nori possesses vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K – that’s a whole lot of vitamins for a simple snack. It is also rich in niacin, folic acid, and taurine. In addition, some of the minerals it includes are iron, calcium, and iodine. Because of this, many people opt for eating Nori as a health supplement. These vitamins and minerals are needed for humans to live and function normally, making them an essential part of any diet.

2. Nori Contains Healing Properties

Nori or seaweed has the fantastic ability to absorb concentrated amounts of iodine from the ocean. Iodine is most commonly known for its connection to your thyroid since it relies on iodine to work correctly. Consuming about 150mcg of iodine, or a corresponding amount of iodine to Nori, has proven to help and heal thyroid problems. This can reduce issues related to your thyroids, such as weight changes, swelling of the neck, and fatigue.

Because of the countless vitamins and minerals Nori contains, it is perfect for gut health—and gut health is known to play an enormous role in overall health. The fiber in seaweed is more than that found in other vegetables and can replace “bad” bacteria with “good” bacteria in your gut.

3. It is Extremely Cost-Effective in Japan

Although Nori may not be the cheapest food on the market in Western Countries, it is available at a reduced rate in Japan. To achieve the desired results, it has been recommended to eat 1-2 sheets of Nori a day, meaning you will spend less than a couple of dollars a day on Nori, and it can replace your other vegetables, making it a massive bang for your buck.

4. Biodegradable Packaging

Nori can come in biodegradable packaging. This includes a type of packaging that is made from seaweed and is also edible. Currently, there are in the market sachets for salt, pepper, coffee, and sugar. With the world that has undergone colossal climate change combined with the massive amounts of trash shed in the Oceans, biodegradability has become extremely important for further longevity of the earth and our natural resources and sustainability. This alone shows the fantastic versatility Nori (and seaweed in general) has.

5. Nori Has Many Health Benefits

Nori is somewhat of a wonder food, offering the following health benefits:

  • It may help you with thyroid function.
  • It could help you with your diabetes, as fiber-rich food can regulate blood sugar glucose levels. A compound in seaweed has been directly linked with the ability to reduce type 2 diabetes. 
  • Also, the compounds in seaweed have been directly linked to reducing inflammation, obliterating fat, and regulating insulin.
  • The fiber that seaweed contains helps you feel fuller for longer when consumed. This is directly linked to healthy weight loss. If you feel fuller for longer, the chances are that you won’t find yourself snacking and overeating too much.
  • Nori is proven to help protect the heart and regulate cholesterol because of the soluble fibers that bind to bile acids in the body. The body then uses these to replace these elements. 

6. Nori Can Be Safely Consumed By The Majority Of People

As soon as a child can start solids, at the age of 6 months old, Nori can be introduced into the diet either by being dried and given in small amounts or by incorporating into different purees.

Because teens can be fussy with what they eat and the amount they eat, Nori can easily be incorporated into bad diets, making it a beneficial solution to a complex problem. After all, Nori is delicious, especially when paired with suitable complementing food types. 

In Japan, Nori has always been a part of the population’s dietary wants. As a result, adults consume the needed dose of Nori instead of using other supplements in its place.

7. The Antioxidant Properties of Nori Are Amazing

Nori contains antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E and carotenoids and flavonoids.

Although the research into all the antioxidants that Nori contains is still ongoing and relatively new, it has been found that the antioxidants in Nori also help with anti-inflammatory needs. In addition, it has been found that Nori may carry an extensive range of bioactive elements, such as sulfated polysaccharides, peptides, amino acids, and polyphenols, which all hold multiple antioxidant characteristics.

8. Nori Contains Almost No Calories

Specifically, Nori is made from the red variety of algae. One sheet of Nori commonly contains 100 g, which is equivalent to 35 calories proving that the number of calories in Nori is much less than other vegetables compared to the many vitamins, minerals, and health benefits Nori holds. The amount of calories in Nori is also substantially less because of the tiny amount you need to consume daily to achieve all the health benefits it can provide.

9. Nori Can Be Used As a Supplement in Sweet And Savory Foods

Most commonly, Nori can be used to supplement the salty flavor in food. However, here are some other ways that you can incorporate Nori into your diet.

  • Instead of sprinkling salt over your soups or lasagna, you can crush up Nori and sprinkle it over your food, still getting its many benefits but not consuming it as a whole.
  • Instead of using bread dough to make your chicken or beef wraps, you can replace it with a sheet of Nori and still enjoy your delicious meal, but with a healthier supplement.
  • Whether you create a dip for your chips or a spread for your bread, you can crush up Nori sheets and incorporate them into your dips or spread. It will add saltiness and flavor to your food as well as make it more nourishing and filling. 
  • You can eat Nori as a quick, easy, crispy snack with a little bit of salt or spice sprinkled over it instead of eating your usual and healthy potato chips.

10. Nori Is Used For Skincare

With all the vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals found in Nori, it comes as no surprise that it’s used in beauty products. Ladies in Japan are well known for their beautiful, smooth skin. Maybe Nori has always been their dirty little secret. Many popular skincare brands, especially in Japan and surrounding areas, have started to incorporate Nori and other variations of seaweed into their cosmetic products because of the results they produce.

Here are some ways that Nori is used in skincare and beauty:

  • Nori can be used as an exfoliant.
  • It can be used to cleanse and detoxify your skin.
  • It is commonly used for bettering skin pigmentation. 
  • Seaweed is known for helping with collagen production, thus preventing or reducing the appearance of wrinkles. 
  • Several skin care products do not contain natural ingredients, so many people are opting for the use of Nori because it is 100% natural and safe to use.

11. Nori Grows Extremely Fast

Longevity and the earth’s ecosystem are constantly on the minds of the modern earthlings. 

We have taken for granted what Mother Nature gave us for many years, using it for food, beauty, housing, products, etc., but we do not put back what we have used. The good thing about Nori is that it grows extremely fast, so not only does it provide our bodies with what we need, but we can quickly grow and sustain Nori in our ecosystem.

12. Nori Is Easy To Find

In Japan, Nori can be found in many shops. Seaweed can be found in many different forms. Accessibility is a driving force behind the purchase of most food products. If something grows quickly, can be easily replenished, and can be bought almost anywhere, it stands to reason that it will become a staple food source. Residents of Japan enjoy Nori because it is easily accessible and grown in nearby areas.

Last Word

Nori is a fantastic superfood, supergrower, super-natural beauty enhancer, and antioxidant.

The benefits of Nori are tremendous, and experts predict that its use will become more frequent in countries outside of Japan. This superfood can effectively replace many unhealthy snacks we tend to be drawn to, and it can even possibly relieve health issues. Nori is so prevalent in Japan because of the incredible benefits it provides to the Japanese people.

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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.