Normally when we think of seaweed we think of being at the beach and running through the sea, the strings of slime twisting around our ankles and running back to the safety of the sand. We definitely wouldn’t think that it would help us lose those extra pounds.
There have been a lot of health fads and superfoods that claim they can help save us from being overweight. Most recently, Jamie Oliver has said that it helped him lose weight and has announced it is the “most nutritious vegetable in the world.” But should we agree with him.
Ruth Dronfield, managing director of Atlantic Kitchen, who has edible seaweed products stocked in more than 150 UK stores, said “Seaweed has many health benefits and there’s been a huge increase in demand.”
Read on to find out more facts you probably never knew before.
Seaweed has been eaten by the Japanese for more than 2,000 years. Not only is that amazing, but coupled with China they consume more than 170,000 tons of it a year compared to Europe’s measly count of 100 tons.
Seaweed is a marine algae with more than 11,000 species globally and around 400 in coastal waters of the UK. Dronfield says:
Awareness has grown since we realized how very healthy is it. Also up til 2012 it was illegal to harvest seaweed commercially in England because it was owned by the Crown Estate. But as well as not being widely available, it wasn’t considered sophisticated.
Source: Daily Mail
Different types of Seaweed
Not all seaweed is edible but here are numerous ones that are well known.
Kombu: Very dark green with a rubbery texture, mostly used to make dashi stock and has more of an acquired taste, similar to marmite.
Nori: This is the most palatable seaweed as it has a mild taste. It comes in sheets and is used when wrapping sushi rolls.
Wakame: Comes in a deep green coloring, is thin and stringy seaweed that is often put into soups or pickled with vegetables.
Hijiki: Black seaweed that is normally sold dried ad contains high levels of calcium, fibre and iron.
Arame: Are long, thin, sweet tasting strands that have a good amount of potassium, which can prevent muscle cramps. It even has antiviral properties.
Japanese chemists have found that the brownish pigment in wakame, fucoxanthin, promotes weight loss. A study done in 2006 at the Hokkaido University in Japan saw obese rats lose 5 to 10 per cent of their body weight when fucoxanthin was added to their regular food.
It works by stimulating the production of a protein that increases the burning of fat. As well as this it reduced LDL cholesterol, which is the bad kind for us, and improved triglyceride levels which affect metabolism. The studies professor, Dr Kazuo Miyashita, said that if it is effective in human trials it could be used in new medication to combat obesity.
Source: Body and Soul
In sea kelp there is a natural fiber called alginate, which inhibits the enzymes that digest fat, which means less is absorbed by the body. It’s not just that though, seaweed can make you feel fuller without eating more calories.
Not only can it help with weight loss, but it is a great skin treatment against acne. People who eat more seaweed have fewer problems associated with mineral depletion. It has even been found to help prevent cancer and heart disease, lower blood pressure and prevent ulcers. It acts as a cleanser to the body, removing pollutants and improving hair condition.
Seaweed is a key source of Iodine, which is used by the thyroid gland to regulate metabolism and development of the skeleton and brain. It is also high in iron and rich in vitamin C, which helps our bodies absorb iron. Iron helps to make red blood cells and without them we suffer from fatigue and poor immune response.
How to incorporate it into meals
One of the easiest ways to incorporate seaweed into your diet is to try sushi. Not only can you often buy it at supermarkets on your lunch break at but the recipes are easy to look up online and cook at home.
You can have seaweed salads, a great alternative to the ones we are used to. You can mix the seaweed with other types of vegetable and dress in soy sauce for an Asian influence.
Seaweed doesn’t have to be linked with Asian food, you can add it to a soup to make it just that bit more interesting on a cold night in. It makes it even more filling!
Adding seaweed to your diet will not only be nutritional and benefit your weight loss journey, but it can spice up your diet too.
Disclaimer: Our reviews and investigations are based on extensive research from the information publicly available to us and consumers at the time of first publishing the post. Information is based on our personal opinion and whilst we endeavour to ensure information is up-to-date, manufacturers do from time to time change their products and future research may disagree with our findings. If you feel any of the information is inaccurate, please contact us and we will review the information provided.