Who said seaweed was just for sushi? Here’s why the ingredient is about to blow up

August 29, 2019 at 04:30AM by CWC

Ever have a flashback to when kale wasn’t cool (#tbt)? Well, there’s a new crew of superfoods about to hit your plates and IG feeds. We teamed up with Ocean Spray to clue you in on the trends. Learn about all six craze-worthy foods here, and keep reading to find out why the benefits of seaweed make it legit.


Not to diss your sushi roll of choice, but seaweed is more than just an edible device that holds your takeout order together. The insanely versatile vegetable (okay, technically, marine algae), has moved beyond the delivery container to pop up everywhere.

The ingredient was peeped all over the healthy snacks our editors checked out at Natural Products Expo West, which gives a preview of what’s coming down the pipeline—and can now be found in the snack aisle at local New York City bodegas, the shelves of Trader Joe’s, and Amazon’s five-star snack reviews.

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So why is something you normally see at the beach suddenly having such a moment in the food sphere? Find out how the good-for-you benefits and buzz are pushing seaweed to the next level below.

Keep scrolling for a look at the benefits of seaweed and how you can start snacking on it ASAP.

Benefits of seaweed

Besides getting stuck to your leg when you’ve been chilling in the ocean for awhile (don’t you hate when that happens?), seaweed is basically overflowing with fiber, says Eliza Savage, RD of Middleberg Nutrition. Polysaccharides found in seaweed—a type of fiber—have been linked to boosting the good bacteria found in your gut, adds Barbara Mendez, nutritionist and pharmacist.

One of the main reasons seaweed is touted as a superfood bombshell? Its iodine content, which can help give your thyroid a boost. Aside from your thyroid, tyrosine also helps boost dopamine, a neurotransmitter that could affect concentration and motivation, according to Mendez.  

And if you’re not a meat-eater, get to chomping on this gem of a veg. “Seaweed contains iron and calcium, making it an essential superfood for vegans whose diets may be lacking in these nutrients,” says Mendez.

Why it’s trending

Brands like Nora Seaweed Snacks popped up at Expo West to showcase how tasty it could be (the seaweed strips are a bit like a super-boosted kale chip). Take a tour through Amazon’s best sellers, and you’ll also find a range of snack-able seaweed treats from Annie Chun’s, Sea’s Gift, and more.

In case you need more evidence to support seaweed’s increase in popularity, everyone’s favorite store, Trader Joe’s, has their own Roasted Seaweed Snack Pack that caters to both vegan and gluten-free devotees with a pop-right-in-your-mouth bite.

How to use it

Beyond snacking, you can use a dried seaweed as a toast vehicle and add avocado, hummus, and veggies for a fresh take on breakfast. Try crumbling it and adding it to your salad for extra crunch. And why stop there? Top off your classic avo toasts, open-face sandwiches, or poke bowls with a bit of texture.

Oh yeah, and you can get fancy with it, too: Try out a seaweed risotto, a grain-free seaweed sushi bowl, or a cashew-nori snack mix (nori is the Japanese name for seaweed, FYI). When it comes to creative recipes, you’ve got plenty to choose from.

But if you just want to dive right in, toss together a seaweed salad. Include any other lettuces you want like arugula or a spring mix to create a little medley, and add in seaweed and your other fave veggies. Pair it with a shot of Ocean Spray® Pure Cranberry, and you’ve just raised the superfood bar.

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Author Well+Good Editors | Well and Good
Selected by CWC