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Kombu Seaweed; benefits and properties

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

What is kombu seaweed?

Kombu seaweed stands out for its remineralizing properties , its high iodine content and for making meals more digestive and less flatulent, especially legumes.

Kombu seaweed responds to different scientific names depending on the area where the scientific name of Sacharina japonica is developed, it is one that develops in the Pacific, and whose first name refers to its flavor since sacharina means sweet taste .

On the other hand, those that develop in the Atlantic are known as Laminaria ochroleuca since it is because laminaria means flat leaf and ochroleuca responds to its yellowish color. It responds to other vulgar names such as faixa and folla de maio in Galicia or Haidai in China, as well as Dashima in Korea.

Among the different algae that we find at our disposal is the Kombu algae, with a multitude of names, as you have seen, it is a seaweed that can provide a different touch to our cuisine and that provides us with a large amount of vitamins , minerals , in addition to a myriad of properties and health benefits. Do you dare to know her a little more? Here we give you all the information you should know about this algae and start using it in the kitchen.

Where does this algae come from?

Well, they have different histories depending on the area where they grow, but they have in common that residents of coastal areas have been consuming algae for 4,000 years, especially in China; and it is that they consumed them for their beneficial properties for health, related to longevity.

 What is Alga Kombu like?

It is a medium-sized algae , framed in brown algae , which can measure up to 4 meters and whose life expectancy is very high since they live up to 10 years. They are located in rocky areas with about 12 meters of depth, and mostly in cold and temperate waters located in areas of high nutritive content of the oceans.

Kombu seaweed is attached to rocks by a kind of thick roots known as rhizoids from which the cylindrical stem that can measure two to four centimeters thick and about two meters in length starts. Where this stem ends, a broad, yellowish-brown sheet begins, divided longitudinally into two leaves, known as lacinias in the field of algae.

What does Kombu seaweed give us?

We make the reference of its nutritional composition dry, to have a clearer idea, since when hydrated it increases its size a lot. It provides us with around 7 grams of protein , 16.5 mg of iron , so it is recommended in convalescent states since iron helps us recover quickly, it is also recommended in cases of iron deficiency anemia since it helps us to replace the iron reserves.

Low in fat , about 1 gram out of 100 grams dry. Selenium is one of the minerals that provides us with significant amounts, as well as phosphorus , iodine , potassium and sodium . We also provides calcium, Vitamin A , C   and vitamins of the group B as B1, B2, B3 and B12. It provides us with 3 grams of dietary fiber and 59 grams of carbohydrates. All this providing 41 calories for every 100 grams of dry seaweed.

Kombu seaweed properties

Due to its content in minerals and trace elements , we can say that it is a good alternative for vegetarians and vegans to avoid a calcium deficit . We would only need 30 grams of seaweed to obtain the same amount of calcium as a glass of cow’s milk.

We can also say that the fatty acids in Kombu algae prevent the absorption of radioactive pollutants such as radium, barium, cobalt, strontium, among others, and in turn eliminate them from the body to prevent their accumulation in the bones.

It also contributes to proper blood circulation , thus avoiding diseases of cardiovascular origin, such as high cholesterol or triglycerides . It is capable of reducing levels by presenting active substances such as fucoidin , laminin , Omega 3 and 6 , which act as anticoagulants and vasodilators, which is beneficial for patients with hypertension .

It is used in diets such as the alkaline diet since it has those pH balancing properties of body fluids, thus counteracting the acidification of the body caused by diets in which dairy products, sugars or refined products are abused.

Another important benefit of Kombu seaweed is its effect on the immune system and the functioning of the vascular system, since it has anticoagulant properties that prevent viral diseases, bacterial infections and circulation problems such as venous thrombosis.

Kombu seaweed is recommended in some patients such as diabetics , although it contains natural sugars such as fructose, and also mannitol but does not increase blood glucose levels.

On the other hand, it is recommended in hypothyroid patients due to its contribution of iodine, which has an activating effect on the endocrine glands, facilitating the functioning of the metabolism and is not recommended in people with hyperthyroidism, since this could worsen their symptoms.

Furthermore, a study published in 2004 reveals that the brown algae within which kombu algae is found; They contain phytochemicals with antibacterial and antiviral properties , modulators of metastasis and with anticoagulant properties .

It is a powerful antioxidant that fights against the action of free radicals that cause premature cell aging, thanks to the polyphenols, xanthophylls, phospholipids, or the chlorophyll they have.

It is recommended for people with constipation , since it improves considerably with its consumption and also we take care of our intestinal flora and it is also recommended in weight loss diets because, as we have mentioned before, it provides us with few calories and many minerals, vitamins and amino acids as well as trace elements. essential for the body.

How to take kombu seaweed?

The kombu seaweed is dehydrated and has a firm consistency, so it is necessary to hydrate, cook or dry roast it, depending on what you prefer and depending on what we are going to get it with.

In general, it can be used in various stews or soups with vegetables or legumes, due to the action of glutamic acid it softens the fibers and reduces the cooking time, leaving the vegetables cooked in less time, thus preserving their nutrients and being more tasty. In addition, this way they will be more digestive and will produce less flatulence.

If you consume it cooked, you can make a popular broth in Japan called Dashi broth (just like seaweed) in which they use Kombu seaweed and dried bonito flakes. It is also made with Kombu seaweed, a base broth for a multitude of dishes.

If you want to consume it dry , you can do so as long as you roast it, the roasting process can take about two and a half minutes on each side at 180ºC. It can be broken into pieces or crushed into a powder to add to all kinds of recipes as a flavor enhancer.

How to use kombu seaweed in the kitchen

We usually find kombu seaweed in powder or dehydrated to reconstitute in water, as we have indicated. If we use it dry, we can add it as a flavor enhancer to different dishes.

If we use it hydrated we can do it like any vegetable, rehydrating it and cooking it to incorporate it into sauteed vegetables, stews, soups, etc. It is a very versatile seaweed in the kitchen. Don’t wait any longer to try it.

Kombu seaweed contraindications

We always like to emphasize that although it is a natural product with many properties, it does not mean that its consumption is suitable for everyone and in any quantity, so we must say that they pay attention to the contraindications of Kombu seaweed.

It is important to note that we must consume algae in small amounts or occasionally because they can contain high amounts of heavy metals. Although Asians consume them on a daily basis, their digestive system is prepared to eliminate excess heavy metals.

It is important to note that you should not consume Kombu seaweed if you suffer from hyperthyroidism as it can make symptoms worse.

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