Kombu Seaweed Properties

November 18, 2022

Kombu seaweed has been consumed mainly in Japan for hundreds of years and forms the basis of dashi broth along with dried fish flakes. 

It is a seaweed of the Laminaria family and includes other varieties of seaweed with very similar appearances: smooth and fleshy in texture. 

Kombu is a highly nutritious food with a range of properties that were first popularized by Buddhist monks. 

It is widely used in cooking and added to many recipes, both as a condiment and as a main ingredient, and some pregnant women choose to take it during this period to improve their health. 

Despite its Japanese roots, this seaweed is cultivated in Spain, France, Russia, China, Japan, and Korea; however, it grows naturally in deep, cold waters. 

It is recognized by its yellowish color with brownish tones and can reach up to 450 meters or 1476 feet. 

The main components that give this plant its health benefits are alginic acid and glutamic acid, which also have the ability to reduce the cooking time of food. 

Below, we explain in more detail all the properties of kombu seaweed.

Kombu seaweed properties

The main difference between seaweed and terrestrial plants is that seaweed has higher concentrations of minerals and fiber, so it is not necessary to eat a lot of it to obtain its nutrients.

Intestinal flora

Kombu seaweed provides benefits that improve intestinal flora and prevent constipation, due to alginic acid. 

This type of acid acts in a similar way to fiber and contributes to the well-being of the intestines by performing depurative actions. 

Thus, consuming kombu seaweed can help eliminate toxins and purify the body. In addition, this seaweed is also used as a remedy for colitis.


Seaweed is known to be rich in calcium, and few food groups contain higher levels of this mineral. 

Precisely because of this, it can be used, like wakame seaweed, as a remedy for osteoporosis. Likewise, kombu seaweed is also an excellent way to provide the calcium that vegans need in their diet.


This seaweed is one of the richest in iodine, so it should be consumed in moderation and not be included in the diet of people suffering from hyperthyroidism, as it stimulates the thyroid gland accelerating the metabolism, which can be harmful. 

This mineral is essential in the synthesis of thyroid hormones, responsible for regulating the body, but alterations in their levels can lead to this disease. 

However, in normal conditions, iodine facilitates growth, strengthens mental agility, and intervenes in cellular functioning. The daily recommendation of iodine is between 100 and 200 micrograms in adults, and kombu seaweed already provides 300 micrograms in just 100 grams.

Cardiovascular benefits of kombu seaweed

Being a seaweed rich in fibers, such as alginates, fucans, cellulose, and laminarins, kombu seaweed helps regulate cholesterol levels; however, it should be incorporated into the diet in a balanced way and accompanied by other foods. 

Among the different types of fiber, fucans prevent the formation of clots in the arteries responsible for myocardial infarction. 

This type of fiber is exclusive to algae of the same family as kombu and is not found in terrestrial plants.

On the other hand, the potassium present in this seaweed also has beneficial effects on the heart, since this mineral is essential for the correct functioning of the cardiac muscle by regulating its electrical activity. 

In addition, some drugs to treat hypertension can eliminate excess potassium from our body, so consuming kombu seaweed in these cases can be a highly recommended option.

Kombu seaweed in the kitchen

As we explained at the beginning of this article, kombu seaweed is widely used in cooking, as well as in natural medicine. Its high concentration of minerals and fiber makes this seaweed an excellent choice when preparing dishes.

The glutamic acid content gives it a unique flavor and is used to soften the fibers of legumes, making them more digestible, as well as reducing cooking time. 

Therefore, the use of this seaweed in the kitchen is a good option if we want to bring a unique flavor to our dishes, make them more digestible and cook them in less time. 

If you want to incorporate it into your dishes, you should know that cooking this seaweed requires time, and you can take into account these tips:

  • Using kombu seaweed for cooking legumes, since they need a long time to cook, we can save time.

  • Another great option is to use it to make a broth with its juice, by cooking it for an hour. Then we only need to add vegetables.

  • If you want to include it in any other dish, it is advisable to leave it to soak, as you would do with legumes, in order to reduce its cooking time.

  • Another way to obtain all the health properties of kombu seaweed is to bake them in the oven. To do this, add a few seaweeds to a tray and leave them in the oven for 10 minutes. Then, use a mortar and pestle to grind them to a powder. This way, you will be able to season your dishes in an easy and healthy way.

Kombu seaweed side effects 

In general, kombu seaweed has no contraindications, and anyone can consume it through a varied and balanced diet. 

However, as we have already explained in this article, people with hyperthyroidism should avoid including kombu seaweed in their diet in order not to increase the amount of iodine in their body.