Can Bacon Flavored Seaweed Be the New Kale?
Christine Chen | My Body
You probably know someone who swears that everything is better with bacon (maybe it’s you). Even the Food Network has a dedicated page to all things bacon. If you like the taste of bacon (there are scientific reasons it tastes so good), but shun the potential negative health implications, a new kind of snack might be a dream.
Not yet on the market, Oregon researchers have developed a type of seaweed that tastes like bacon and is full of antioxidants, protein, minerals, and vitamins. It has all the makings of being a major hit, like kale, but it’s still very much in development – years away from finding a space at the grocery store. Ah, one can dream. Meantime, seaweed – healthy in its own right – is popping up in many forms, and gaining a reputation as a healthy, tasty snack, too.
Here’s what to look for in a seaweed choice – for snacking or adding to your meals.
Essentially flat sheets of seaweed, you can get them at an Asian grocery store for rolling sushi, and they’re in their healthiest form, with fewer salty additives or sodium-laden flavorings. You don’t have to have them with sushi. Break open a package and start munching. They’re high in iron, iodine, and fiber, and help lower cholesterol.
Mass market grocery chains sell their versions or similar seaweed snack brands – such as GimMe Organic or Annie Chun. They come in the form of smaller, rectangle-cut pieces of nori in flavors like sea salt, teriyaki, or wasabi. While super tasty, check the packaging for sodium content, as a high salt/sodium diet is a risk factor in heart disease.
Not as paper thin as crisps, seaweed chips are a tortilla-like strip with more crunch. Ocean’s Halo embraces chip flavors like chili lime, barbecue, and sriracha. You can always make your own, much like the craze of DIY kale chips.
A variety of Asian cultures have their versions of a seaweed soup – Korean, Japanese, Chinese, which may or may not include meat, egg, and/or tofu for extra protein. They are usually low in calories and sodium (depending on your broth), and easy to make. When the weather is cold, they’re especially nourishing and comforting.
For some, seaweed – particularly in large quantities – might be risky, so check with your doctor before making it a brand new addition to your regular diet. Otherwise, see which version works for you. Right now seaweed might not have the same eye-roll effect as bacon, but for the most part, seaweed in all its forms is a whole lot healthier.