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The Nutrition of Arame

Fitday Editor
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When eating in a Japanese restaurant, certain foods and garnishes can seem alien to someone unfamiliar with the cuisine--one such dish is arame. Technically it is more of a garnish than a dish and it is also often used in mixed Japanese salads similar to that of a mescalin salad in the West. Arame are long brown strands with a seaweed-like texture that have a slightly sweet flavor. Most people push them to the edge of their plate, but like many sea vegetables, arame should be reconsidered before throwing it to the wayside.

Inside Arame

Considered part of the kelp/seaweed family, in abundant quantities arame has some excellent benefits. Below is a list of the more prominent vitamins, minerals and other components to keep in mind when this unassuming tiny plant sits beside a huge portion of your next order of sushi. NOTE: As with most food from the ocean, arame can be high in sodium. So if you have a sensitivity or aversion to sodium you may want to skip it. However, some companies have found a way to reduce the sodium content, so keep an eye out for these choices.

  • Fiber

Anything high in fiber will enhance digestive health, and arame is a great choice. Fiber generates a faster transit for waste, so it does not sit in the colon and become toxic. It also enhances vitamin and mineral absorption as well as contributes to lowering blood pressure.

  • Calcium

Anything that is an attribute to bone strength, nervous system function and muscle activity is always a plus. The high amount of calcium in arame is an excellent addition to your diet.

  • Iron

Iron is essential to maintaining life and is associated with hemoglobin (blood) and myoglobin (muscle) functioning. It also plays a role in our immune system as well as weight control. Low iron can cause anemia, which has symptoms of nausea and easy bruising.

  • Iodine

Because of the sea sodium content of arame, iodine is abundant. Your thyroid thrives on iodine as well as the proper working of metabolic cell function converting food to energy.

  • Magnesium

Another rich mineral in arame is magnesium. Magnesium is used by the body for relaxing nerves and muscles, building bone and keeps your blood circulation in check.

  • Vitamin A

One of the most prevalent vitamins inside this kelp is vitamin A. This vitamin is also helpful in skeletal maintenance and strength. It is also an advocate of strengthening and improving vision.

More Facts

Arame is usually sold in shredded, cooked and air dried form and is easily reconstituted. It may be in your local supermarket if you live near a Japanese community, but chances are that you would have to seek out a Japanese or Asian market to find arame. Keep in mind that arame is a small sea plant, so to benefit from its vitamin and mineral content there needs to be a good amount ingested--maybe two or three handfuls is recommended. Other cooking choices when using arame is by steaming, sauteing and adding to soup.

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