Can you eat kombu?

In this article we are going to answer can you eat kombu, what is kombu, is it healthy to eat kombu, what are the benefits of eating kombu, and is there a risk of eating kombu and how can you add kombu to your diet. 

Can you eat kombu?

Yes, you can eat kombu. Kombu is an edible seaweed part of the group of brown seaweed known as Laminariaceae. It is known as the most common seaweed in Japan and it is the most consumed. You can usually find it in a soup stock known as dashi. 

What is a kombu?

Kombu is a type of edible kelp that is very popular in East Asia. Kombu is also known as dasima in Korea or as Haidai in China. Kombu is eaten in a lot of civilizations, including China and Iceland but in Japan is where it is more common to eat. 

There are about 8 edible species in the Laminariaceae, the same family as kombu, but they are not called kombu. Some of them are

  • Saccharina japonica
  • Saccharina japnica var. religiosa
  • Saccharina japonica var. diabolica
  • Saccharina japonica var. ochotensis
  • Saccharina latissima 
  • Saccharina angustata
  • Saccharina longissima
  • Saccharina coriacea
  • Saccharina sculpera
  • Saccharina gurata
  • Saccharina cichrioides

Is it healthy to eat kombu?

Yes, kombu is a very nutritious alga to eat. According to the FDA, ¼ cup or 7 grams of kombu contains 17 calories, 0 grams of fat, 161 mg of sodium, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 0 grams of sugar, and 1 gram of protein.

Kombu is an excellent source of iodine, vitamin K and folate. Also, it is fat-free and cholesterol-free. Most of the calories of kombu come from carbohydrates but it won’t really add carbohydrates to your diet. Kombu glycemic index is zero. 

They have zero content fat and can boost your protein content in whatever dish you decide to add them. It is one of the seaweed with the highest amount of iodine. It also includes a good amount of zinc, copper, magnesium, iron, and calcium. 

What are the benefits of eating kombu?

Kombu has a lot of benefits but it needs to have more research to confirm how good it is to add it to your diet in high amounts. Some benefits of the kombu are

  • High-quality protein 
  • Good source of fiber
  • Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • High quantities of antioxidants
  • Good source of iodine

Is there a risk of eating kombu?

The main risk of consuming kombu is that if you overeat kombu, you can get too much iodine. Iodine in high amounts can mess with your thyroid. If you consume too much kombu, which has a high iodine content, it can inhibit the synthesis of thyroid hormones and it will cause the same symptoms as iron deficiency such as

  • Goiter
  • Elevated TSH levels
  • Hypothyroidism 

The upper limit of iodine is 1100 micrograms per day. One gram of raw kombu contains about 1500 micrograms of iodine. The only way to reduce iodine in kombu is to cook it because heat makes iodine reduce. 

Iodine has interaction with a lot of medications so if you are consuming kombu in your diet regularly you should be careful with this. Some medications iodine has interaction with include 

  • Antithyroid drugs including propylthiouracil (PTU). PTU and iodide might potentiate the hypothyroid effect of iodides.
  • Lithium and iodide might result in hypothyroidism.
  • Warfarin and iodide decrease the anticoagulant effectiveness. 

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology people might have an allergic reaction to kombu or other seaweed. The most common symptom is skin rash but other allergic symptoms might occur. 

How can you add kombu to your diet?

Kombu is most commonly sold dried and the most common dish you can find is in a soup known as dashi. To cook kombu, you should first rehydrate it in cool water and then cook it so it can taste better. 

Kombu can also be eaten with other types of broth such as miso, noodle soup, or tofu soup. Try not to eat more than 1 gram because of the iodine content in kombu.

Follow this link for kombu seaweed salad. 

Conclusion

This article answered can you eat kombu, what is kombu, is it healthy to eat kombu, what are the benefits of eating kombu, is there a risk of eating kombu and how can you add kombu to your diet. 

Citation

https://www.umassmed.edu/nutrition/blog/blog-posts/2020/2/kombu-from-the-sea/

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16650/what-is-kombu-why-you-should-be-eating-it.html

​​https://www.verywellfit.com/kombu-nutrition-facts-calories-carbs-and-health-benefits-4773100#toc-recipes-and-preparation-tips

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.