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Is Seaweed Salad Healthy?

author image Natalie Stein
Natalie Stein specializes in weight loss and sports nutrition. She is based in Los Angeles and is an assistant professor with the Program for Public Health at Michigan State University. Stein holds a master of science degree in nutrition and a master of public health degree from Michigan State University.
Is Seaweed Salad Healthy?
Chopsticks next to a bowl of seaweed salad. Photo Credit: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images

Seaweed is a highly concentrated source of essential nutrients. You can incorporate seaweed into your diet by eating it plain or seasoned as a snack or serving a seaweed salad as a side dish. Seaweed salad can be less healthy than plain seaweed if you add ingredients such as salt or sugar, but it can still be nutritious. The exact nutrient composition of your seaweed salad depends on the recipe you use.

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Weight Control provides a recipe for seaweed salad with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sugar, seasonings and an apple. Seaweed salad can be a side dish that helps you control your weight because each serving contains only 106 calories. To prevent weight gain, you need to limit your calorie consumption to the number of calories that you expend. Seaweed salad can help you reduce your calorie consumption when you choose it instead of higher-calorie side dishes, such as baked beans, with 392 calories per cup, or cooked rice, with 242 calories per cup.

Watch the Sodium

Each serving of seaweed salad contains 691 milligrams of sodium, or 29 percent of the daily value based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Soy sauce is a high-sodium ingredient in seaweed salad. The average American should reduce sodium intake to lower the risk for high blood pressure, according to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You can reduce the amount of sodium in your seaweed salad recipe by substituting low-sodium soy sauce for regular or by reducing the amount of soy sauce that you use.

Benefit From Minerals in Seaweed

Seaweed salad contains dried or fresh wakame, which is a type of seaweed distinct from the sheets of nori seaweed that you can use to make sushi rolls. Essential minerals in wakame include calcium, which helps to build strong bones; iron, which helps prevent anemia; and magnesium, which helps regulate blood pressure. Seaweed salad also contains folate, which can help prevent birth defects, and vitamin A, which is necessary for healthy vision.

Consider the Fat Composition

Seaweed salad can be healthy because of its fat profile. Seaweed itself is low in fat and almost free of cholesterol-raising saturated fat, but seaweed salad can be high in heart-healthy unsaturated fats because of its oil content. Each serving of seaweed salad containing sesame oil contains 8 grams of total fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat. Other healthy oils you can use include olive oil and canola oil.

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