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Nori in the Diet

by
author image Erica Roth
Erica Roth has been a writer since 2007. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a college reference librarian for eight years. Roth earned a Bachelor of Arts in French literature from Brandeis University and Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Her articles appear on various websites.
Nori in the Diet
Nori wrapped sushi on a plate. Photo Credit rusak/iStock/Getty Images

Nori is a type of edible sea vegetable or seaweed that originated in Asian cuisine. Nori may also be known by its scientific name Porphyra yezoensis, or by the more general term kelp. Laver is another word that might sometimes be used interchangeably with nori; laver is type of kelp. No matter what name you call it, nori in your diet can be beneficial to your health due to its myriad of nutrients.

Availability

Nori is pressed into a thin sheet and is packaged either as large sheets or smaller flakes or powdered forms. The package should be dry upon purchase; packages that are opened or show signs of condensation inside may be harboring mold. Nori was once a delicacy and rarity in the United States, but is now becoming more widespread and common in the American Kitchen, due in part to the surging popularity of sushi. Health food stores, along with the natural food sections of your local supermarket, are likely to carry nori in one form or another.

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Preparation

Nori that's dark green in color is simple to prepare and add to your diet in mere seconds because it's already been toasted. Crush, crumble or sprinkle the seaweed into salads or soups for a nutritious boost, suggests The World's Healthiest Foods, a nutrition information resource associated with the George Mateljan Foundation. Use strips of nori as the outer covering for sushi rolls; place rice, vegetables and fish on one side of a large nori sheet and gently role up into a cylindrical shape. Seal the two sides of the nori with a little bit of water and slice into coins.

If you've bought untoasted nori, the sea vegetable will be a deep eggplant color. Toast it in a 350-degree oven for just a minute or two until the color changes to green.

Storage

Storing nori correctly will ensure that the seaweed retains its nutrients and flavor that can be both tasty to the palate and beneficial to your health. Take care when preparing nori to keep the unused sheets or flakes dry to avoid molding and a potential mushy mess in your pantry. Seal the remaining sheets in a zip-top bag or airtight container and place in your pantry or another area of your kitchen that stays at room temperature. The seaweed usually keeps well for several months in proper conditions.

Nutrients

Seaweed of many kinds, including nori, is rich in vitamins and minerals, including iodine, magnesium, calcium, sodium, iron and folic acid. A 1993 article in the"Journal of Applied Phycology" reports that nori is also high in dietary fiber, zinc, copper and selenium. All of these minerals are essential to your continued health. The concentration of nutrients in nori is high when compared to its calorie content. The World's Healthiest Foods reports that 1/4 cup contains only eight calories.

Health Benefits

The wealth of nutrients provided by nori in your diet offers you a variety of health benefits, from the digestive regularity provided by the fiber, to its natural anticoagulant properties that may protect you from blood clots and stroke. The folic acid in nori plays a significant role in the neural tube development in the first trimester of pregnancy, though expectant moms should refrain from eating sushi rolls that contain raw fish that could be harboring dangerous bacteria. The seaweed also contains chemicals and acids that may prevent you from developing high cholesterol, which reduces your risk of heart disease and gallstones. The magnesium content of nori may control inflammation in the body and manage the frequency of migraine headaches in some people.

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References

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