Arame is a marine brown algae, or sea vegetable, that is rich in numerous minerals and has many noteworthy health benefits. Arame is harvested mainly from the cold waters off the coast of South Korea and Japan. There are also subspecies that are found off the coast of both California and Alaska. This kelp species is used generously, in addition to many other species of seaweed, in Japanese cuisine. Koreans have long recognized the benefits of arame and have been adding it into their diets for many years.
The nutritional benefits of arame include:
- Rich in Nutrients – Arame is highly rich in essential nutrients including calcium, iron, zinc, manganese, folate, vitamins A & K, and iodine. It is normally harvested during the springtime when the ocean nutrient levels are at their highest.
- Immune System Support- Arame has long been noted to help strengthen the body’s immune system.
- Better Hair, Skin, & Nails- Arame has been shown to promote glossy hair, a clearer complexion, and srtong nails. Eaten continuously, it has also been noted to help prevent hair loss.
- Improved Libido- Some people, both men and women, who continually consume a diet supplemented with arame feel that they receive a boost in their libido due to the addition.
- Cancer Defense- Arame is a good source of Lignans, which have been proven to help fight against cancer.
Many people are skeptical of adding seaweed to their diets. However, most of the population unknowingly ingest processed sea vegetables on a daily basis. Manufacturers use these as stabilizers and thickeners in many products including ice cream, whipped topping, instant pudding, and salad dressing. It is even an ingredient in some toothpastes.
Cooking with Arame
The taste is actually another benefit of arame. It has a mild, semi-sweet flavor which makes it adaptable to be used in many food dishes. It is the mildest tasting of all sea vegetables, so it is a good initial introduction to the flavor of seaweed. It is normally purchased in a dried state and can be reconstituted easily in a short time, about five to ten minutes. It is noodle-like in texture and is akin to angel hair pasta. It can be used as a garnish or in salads, soups, appetizers, muffins, breads, casseroles, pilafs, and other toasted dishes. Sauteing arame in oil helps to detract from the fishy taste that some may not favor. Hijiki is a popular seaweed substitute for arame, but it is not as sweet or mild in flavor.
Because arame is grown in sea water, it does contain a good amount of sodium. Therefore, it should be avoided by anyone on a sodium-restricted diet.
Where to Purchase
Arame has not caught on as a delicacy in America as it has in Asia, but it can still be purchased fairly easily. Dehydrated arame can usually be found in local health food stores, farmer’s markets, or in the Asian section of larger grocery stores. There are also many online retailers that sell arame. It is also available to consumers as a dietary supplement in vitamin form.