What makes a perfect diet food? One that helps you break down fat, control your appetite and contains a high dose of health-boosting nutrients. Sound too good to be true? Say hello to brown seaweed, your tasty new diet buddy.
Seaweed for Weight Loss
There’s no doubting we’re in the middle of an obesity epidemic. A staggering 2 in 3 Australian adults (63%) are overweight or obese, and numbers are set to increase rapidly. Modern medicine is frantically trying to create a weight loss pill to kerb the trend but efforts so far have yielded only sketchy results and a list of unpleasant side effects. Scientists are increasingly turning to nature for the answer, and have found it… in seaweed, and especially brown seaweed like wakame.
Seaweed’s Anti-Obesity Nutrients
Seaweed contains nutrients that help you lose weight thanks to four principle compounds:
- Fucoxanthin is a powerful carotenoid with well-documented anti-obesity effects. A diet high in fucoxanthin was found by researchers to reduce weight-gain, and balance blood sugar and insulin levels. Fucoxanthin stimulates the enzymes responsible for fat metabolism, thereby encouraging your body to burn fat.
- Alginates make up the cell walls of brown seaweed and can play a key role in helping you lose weight. A study published in the journal Appetite found that alginates increase satiety and can, therefore, help you control your hunger. Researchers compared the energy intake of healthy volunteers given a seaweed-enriched breakfast with volunteers given a normal breakfast. The group who had the seaweed ate 16.4% less than the control group. Researchers concluded this was due to the bulking effects of the alginates in the seaweed.
- Fucoidans are polysaccharides consisting of a high amount of fucose, a type of sugar. Unlike white sugar, however, fucoidans have shown promise in the fight against fat. They stimulate the body to break down fat and reduce cholesterol levels.
- Phlorotannins are seaweed polyphenols which prevent the body’s intake of fat by blocking the secretion of a pancreatic enzyme responsible for fat absorption (pancreatic lipase).
More Than a Weight Loss Aid
Where common diet products are generally accompanied by a list of unwanted side effects, seaweed’s “side –effects” are the kind you want more of. Fucoxanthin is a potent antioxidant, which means it helps your body neutralise and eliminate free radicals. It also reduces inflammation and normalises blood pressure. Seaweed is packed with fibre, which maintains a healthy digestive system and helps your body eliminate toxins. It contains a healthy dose of iodine which keeps your thyroid healthy and promotes beautiful hair, skin and nails. Seaweed is a great source of minerals like chromium, which helps balance blood sugar. Clearly, seaweed is an ingredient everyone needs in their kitchen cupboard!
Adding Seaweed to Your Diet
Adding seaweed to your day is easy. You can sprinkle it onto soups or salads, add it to cooking water, turn it into a dessert, or have it as a snack. Mix it up and experiment by adding different types to your diet:
- Nori: this one has a mild taste and is used to wrap sushi. You can also find it in flake form, perfect for sprinkling onto salads.
- Konbu: a strong tasting brown seaweed, konbu is great to add to beans while cooking to soften them, or to flavour miso soup.
- Wakame: you’ll find this stringy brown seaweed mostly in pickled vegetables and miso soup.
- Dulse: add this seaweed to water when cooking pasta or potatoes to enrich your meals with healthy minerals.
- Agar agar: a great vegetarian alternative to gelatine, you can use agar agar to make jellies and to thicken sauces.
Seaweed: Your Partner in Weight Loss
Seaweed deserves its status as a perfect diet food. Not only does it help you lose weight by stimulating your cells to burn fat, increasing satiety and blocking lipid absorption, seaweed contains a cocktail of nutrients that support your general wellbeing. How will you eat yours?
...and remember, qualified nutritionists at Healthy Being are available to offer further general advice to help guide you in selecting the right products. So please, feel free to contact us at anytime!
Mel Bee is a certified Detox Coach and freelance writer specialising in plant-based, planet-friendly living. She empowers her clients to dive into vibrant, abundant health with personalised detox plans that re-nourish body and soul.