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Seaweeds are used extensively as food in coastal communities around the world. Seaweed has been part of Chinese, Japanese and Korean diets since prehistoric times and is also consumed in many traditional European coastal societies such as Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, and Wales.
There are various types of edible seaweed that can be used in the preparation of food such as soups or sushi or toasted and eaten directly as a snack. Japanese seaweed, or nori, is the most widely used seaweed and is an important part of Japanese, Chinese, and Korean cuisines.
Due to seaweed's tremendous health benefits, the demand for seaweed is growing in the U.S. Gram for gram, seaweed is higher in vitamins and minerals than any other food. Seaweed contains significant amounts of protein, is rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, iodine, and sodium. It is also a rich source of soluble and non-soluble fiber, is fat free and low in calories.
¼ cup of seaweed has more than ½ the calcium found in a glass of milk and more iron than an egg.