Why Wakame is one of the most popular miso soup ingredients!

Do you want to boost and maximise the health benefits when drinking miso soup? Have it with wakame, a brown seaweed that we eat a lot of in Japan, and it contains fabulous dietary fibres!

Outside of Japan, I always see miso soup with nothing in it or with tiny cubes of tofu and sometimes the black thing floating on top. Yes, that black thing on top is Wakame.

Tofu and Wakame are one of the most popular ingredients for miso soup, both in Japan and outside of Japan, and there is a reason behind it.

I  was amazed by how Japanese meals are finely created from ancient wisdom when I first found out about this fact! 

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Tofu and wakame in miso soup, two of the most popular miso ingredients that are often paired together

The amazing power of dietary fibres in brown seaweed used in miso soup helps to lower blood pressure

Miso is a fermented soybean paste and known as a healthy superfood and is the national soup of Japan. However, there are many concerns about its high sodium content.

To reduce this worry, one of the most popular ingredients, Wakame, which is a type of Japanese brown seaweed, known for its amazing dietary fibres that can help prevent high blood pressure is used in the soup! Brown seaweeds are a significant source for unique dietary fibres and contain polysaccharides: alginic acids and fucoidan that act as natural dietary fibre (as we do not digest them in the upper digestive tract).

Fucoidan

Fucoidan is a gel-like substance and has anti-tumour, anti-allergy, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory effects. It is said to become the new standard in cancer treatment as a natural, side-effect-free remedy. There are even more health benefits of fucoidan including lowering blood pressure

Fucoidan’s health benefits: 

  • Helps lower high blood pressure
  • Helps protect against cancer and tumour growth
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Immune boosting
  • Anti-allergenic
  • Helps lower high cholesterol levels
  • Stabilizes blood sugar levels
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-ulcer
  • Antioxidant
  • Promotion of hair growth
  • Skin moisturizing
  • Anti-pylori* bacterial (in stomach) action

*Pylori is one of the causes of stomach cancer and ulcers 

Alginic Acid

This acid is another gel-like substance and is also found only in brown seaweeds, especially Wakame, which contains a rich amount of this acid.

Health benefits include: 

  • Lower blood pressure by binding sodium in the gastrointestinal tract and releasing it from the body 
  • Lowers cholesterol by minimising cholesterol absorption
  • Binds with toxic chemicals in the intestine to prevent them from being absorbed

Wakame, a type of brown seaweed with amazing dietary fibres and popular miso soup ingredient!

Another brown seaweed used in Miso soup 

You can’t see it, but another seaweed is used in traditional miso soup. In Japan, we make the stock for the miso soup using kombu (kelp), which is another type of brown seaweed. By using two types of brown seaweed, it helps to prevent high blood pressure even more!

We also put veggies that are rich in potassium, which is a mineral that lowers blood pressure by allowing you to lose the sodium in your system through your urine by loosening the tension in blood vessel walls.

I notice many miso soup recipes do not contain dashi that is made of this brown seaweed (kombu). If you make miso following traditional methods and follow traditional Japanese recipes, it is a lot healthier!

It is so sad to see poor quality miso prepared the wrong way, giving hope to people who think it is helpful to their health but they end up having something that is high in sodium with chemical substances, especially MSG, just so sad to see.

Using the right miso and using brown seaweeds like wakame and kombu is very important because it contains various unique dietary fibres that are helpful to release excess sodium from your body and prevent high blood pressure

Kombu (kelp), a type of brown seaweed that is used to make the stock for miso soup


Making your own miso is the best! I make miso every winter because it is the best time to make fail-free and yummy miso (if you make it in the summer, it gets mouldy easily as well as has less flavour and nutrients).

Hope you can join my miso class in winter, or my online cooking class (in the future) if you live far from Sydney!


If you’re interested in Japanese superfoods and want to learn more about miso and seaweed, you may want to get my Japanese Superfoods cookbook‘. Latest edition is available NOW!

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Happy Japanese superfood cooking xx



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