Mekabu Seaweed: Health Benefits and Easy Recipes
Actually, “Mozuku (もずく)” is one of the edible seaweeds that have long been loved in Japan, and what I introduce here “Mekabu (めかぶ)”, a species of seaweed similar to Mozuku, is also that type of edible seaweed.
“Mekabu (芽かぶ)” is the part of wakame seaweed that looks kind of like the cone of a pine tree, specifically the part right above the roots. The seaweed Mekabu is available in 2 types at supermarkets in Japan, fresh and dried, and fine shreds of dried Mekabu are known as “Mehibi (めひび)”.
Mekabu is a healthy low-calorie food packed with nutrients. The primary nutrients contained in the seaweed are fucoidan and algin acid, and according to this Japanese site, the health benefits of Mekabu seaweed include the following.
- The main nutrient of Mekabu, fucoidan activates cells and helps boost the immune system to fight against the germs of common cold and influenza. Since fucoidan activates hair matrix cells as well, the component has the effect of making the hair healthy and beautiful
- The algin acid contained in Mekabu is effective for improving the conditions of the stomach and intestines as well as helping promote defecation
- The potassium in the algin acid absorbs salt in the body and helps lower blood pressure and control the rise of blood glucose levels
- The iodine contained in Mekabu seaweed activates the metabolism
- Mekabu is rich in calcium which prevents osteoporosis
In the case of using dried Mekabu seaweed like Mehibi, as preparation before cooking, you need to
- Lightly remove salt on the surface by rinsing
- Put the seaweed strips in a bowl of plenty of water (cold or hot) and leave for about 5 to 10 minutes
- Drain the water from the bowl and stir the strips well until slimy
By the way, the sliminess comes from water-soluble dietary fibers such as fucoidan and algin acid.
As with Mozukusu, we Japanese like to eat the slimy Mekabu seaweed with Sanbaizu or Mentsuyu sauce, just by pouring the sauce onto the strips, and our favorite uses of Mekabu also include the following examples.
- Some Japanese like to eat the seaweed Mekabu mixed with the sticky fermented soybeans Natto
- The slimy seaweed strips are sometimes used as the main topping in Udon and Soba noodle soups
- The seaweed pairs well with vegetable salads as well