Mozuku Seaweed Is a Longevity-Boosting Staple in Okinawa

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It’s no secret that sea moss is overtaking each smoothie bar on the town nowadays. TBH, we noticed it coming final 12 months, lengthy earlier than Hailey Bieber’s Strawberry Glaze Pores and skin smoothie at Erewhon took TikTok by storm.

In an effort to remain up-to-date on considered one of our favourite oceanic meals tendencies, we not too long ago requested two registered dietitians in regards to the science-backed well being advantages of sea moss, and realized that each one edible types of algae can, the truth is, supply intestine and coronary heart well being advantages, assist help a powerful and wholesome immune system, increase cognitive functioning, and combat irritation. In brief, consuming seaweed is a deal with for each our style buds and our our bodies, and we needs to be consuming it in rather more than simply smoothie type.

Nevertheless, as sea moss quickly rises in reputation, we won’t assist however surprise: What different nutrient-rich types of sea greens ought to we be noshing on? When investigating among the finest seaweed sources across the globe, it was no shock once we landed (figuratively) on the shores of Okinawa, Japan, recognized to be house to among the longest-living folks on the earth. Within the Blue Zone area of Okinawa, brown seaweed, in any other case often called mozuku, is an on a regular basis staple within the centenarians’ diets. We spoke with an registered dietitian to study extra about mozuku, together with its well being advantages and methods to incorporate it into meals.

What’s mozuku seaweed, and what are its well being advantages?

In response to Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT, a registered dietitian based mostly in Charleston, a couple of issues set Okinawan seaweed, mozuku, aside from the entire relaxation. “When you’ve got seen seaweed that’s extra brown than that traditional inexperienced coloration many people are accustomed to, then chances are you’ll be feasting your eyes on mozuku—a nutrient-dense seaweed that provides distinctive well being advantages,” Manaker says. Whereas most types of sushi seaweed and sheets of dried nori come from a species of pink seaweed often called Pyropia (together with P. yezonesis and P. tenera), Okinawan mozuku is derived from the genus Cladosiphon okamuranus.

In response to Manaker, in contrast to inexperienced or pink seaweed, brown seaweed is the one kind that accommodates fucoidan, which is a naturally-occurring compound that boasts a bevy of well being advantages. “Fucoidan has been proven to have antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-coagulant, anti-thrombotic, anti-viral, and anti inflammatory results,” she says.

Though extra research are wanted to research the well being advantages of mozuku, Manaker says that preliminary knowledge means that consuming this seaweed might supply coronary heart well being perks. One other research examined the anti-inflammatory results of fucoidan in relation to the standard of life in superior most cancers sufferers, and located that proinflammatory cytokines have been considerably decreased after two weeks of fucoidan ingestion.

So, does this imply we should always begin consuming extra brown seaweed? “Information exhibits that consuming fucoidan, even in excessive portions, is secure for usually wholesome folks,” Manaker says. “Vitamins might fluctuate amongst totally different seaweeds. However usually talking, seaweed is a pure supply of iodine, a nutrient that helps help thyroid well being. Additionally it is a pure supply of fiber, which may help intestine well being,” she provides. Nevertheless, that’s to not say that it’s proper for everybody. “When you’ve got a thyroid dysfunction, it’s vital to ask your well being care supplier if seaweed might be part of your food regimen, as sure varieties might comprise an excessive amount of iodine to your wants.”

How do Okinawans generally eat mozuku seaweed?

The brown algae is commonly harvested within the shallow, heat water off the coast of Okinawa by hand after which rinsed to take away any remnants of sand or hidden sea creatures. To protect its well being advantages, Okinawans sometimes eat mozuku uncooked, dressed with candy vinegar, or paired with different gut-healthy elements like nattō, aka fermented soybeans; nevertheless, it will also be eaten deep-fried (as tempura) or in soups. One of the simplest ways to get your palms on (actually) the freshest type of the seaweed could be to gather it your self, however you can even discover packaged mozuku at Japanese grocery shops or on Amazon, like this dried model.

Not solely is mozuku a big a part of the Okinawan food regimen, however it additionally is taken into account a “treasure beneath the ocean” that’s an integral a part of the native economic system. In response to the Okinawa Institute of Science and Know-how (OIST) Graduate College, in 2006, the Japanese Cupboard Workplace estimated a 20,000-ton manufacturing, with an financial worth of billions of Yen. Nevertheless, throughout the final decade, rising sea temperatures have put the manufacturing of this priceless crop (and a supply of earnings for a lot of Okinawans) at stake. In any case, 99 p.c of this seaweed is produced in Okinawa and is sort of solely farmed by people. That is why scientists are working endlessly to search out the most effective methods to protect this aquatic gem—one which’s a staple within the Okinawan food regimen.

Sushi in your thoughts? Similar. This is what an RD would order on a hypothetical sushi date:

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