You're probably familiar with nori as the green sheet the sushi chefs use to wrap your California roll. While nori might be a fairly new food to you, the Japanese have been drying and roasting this sea vegetable for 1,300 years, according to Maruto Sea Vegetables. Like other vegetables, nori is very low in calories and rich in nutrients.
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Good Choice for Calorie Counters
If you're watching your calories, nori makes a good choice. One sheet of nori, which weighs 2.5 grams, contains just 5 calories. You can eat an entire package of nori sheets for less than 50 calories. Including more low-calorie foods in your diet can help you keep both your calories and weight under control.
Fat-Free, Low in Protein, Low in Carbs
As a very low-calorie food, nori is not a significant source of carbs, protein or fat. One sheet contains 0 grams of fat and carbs, 1 gram of fiber and 1 gram of protein. Although nori is not a significant source of fiber, it can help you get closer to your daily needs of 25 to 38 grams a day. As a plant-based source of protein, nori does not provide all of the essential amino acids, making it an incomplete protein. However, eating a variety of plant protein sources throughout the day will help you get all the amino acids your body needs.
Replace Your Iodized Salt With Nori
One sheet of nori meets 70 percent of the daily value for iodine. Iodine is essential for your metabolism, which helps turn the food you eat into energy. Not getting enough iodine in your diet can cause goiters or hypothyroidism. Iodized salt is how most people meet their daily iodine needs, according to MedlinePlus. Nori can help you meet your daily iodine needs without the sodium.
Good Source of Vitamin C
Because your body doesn't store vitamin C, you need a continuous supply of it from your diet. Nori is a good source of vitamin C, meeting 10 percent of the daily value in one sheet. Vitamin C assists with the growth and repair of tissue. As an antioxidant, vitamin C protects your body against aging by protecting cells from free radicals.
Potassium, Vitamin A and Magnesium
In addition to iodine and vitamin C, nori can also help you meet your daily needs for potassium, vitamin A and magnesium. Potassium is a mineral that helps lower blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium. Vitamin A maintains skin health and is important for eyesight. The mineral magnesium also plays a role in regulating blood pressure and maintaining blood sugar.
- Maruto Sea Vegetables: What Is Nori?
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Chapter 2 -- Balancing Calories to Manage Weight
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Protein
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Health Implications of Dietary Fiber
- MedlinePlus: Iodine
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin C
- MedlinePlus: Vitamin A
- American Heart Association: Potassium and Blood Pressure
- Office of Dietary Supplements: Magnesium