Apparently non-Japanese can’t digest seaweed - see link below for details:
I’m Caucasian and like seaweed - in fact I have an open packet of tao kae noi original crispy seaweed (laver) next to me as I type. I had always thought that seaweed was a smart choice nutrition-wise: low-calorie and high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
What are the implications of not being able to digest seaweed like a Japanese? Specifically:
[li]Should I eat more seaweed if I’m interested in weight control, on the theory that I won’t be able to digest the stuff and therefore I’ll feel sated without by body actually getting any caloric value?[/li][li]Should I NOT eat more seaweed, because it will give me indigestion? (I’ve never noticed this happening, but it’s possible that it has, and I simply didn’t identify the seaweed as the source of occasional gastric discomfort)[/li][li]Should I assume I’m not getting any vitamins/minerals/antioxidants out of the seaweed I eat, and focus on foods like blueberries, black rice, dark grapes, etc. if I want to jump on the “black food is good for you” bandwagon?[/li][/ul]
Finally, I wonder if this digestion thing applies to all seaweed or just nori. I love wakami, which I associate with that slightly translucent, slightly rubbery green seaweed, and the pinkish stuff that is sometimes part of a seaweed salad is pretty good too.