Have you downed a dose of seaweed lately? If you’re trying to lose weight there are three reasons why you may want to add sea veggies to your shopping list:
A recent study from the UK found that when fiber from seaweed was added to carb rich foods the absorption of fat from meals plummeted by 75 percent.
Chemists in Japan recently found that brown seaweed, an ingredient in many Asian recipes, contains a natural compound that in animal studies triggered weight loss and reduced the buildup of body fat.
Finally veggies from the sea, especially kelp, are rich, natural sources of iodine, a nutrient needed to keep your thyroid work properly, the gland that produces the hormones that regulate your metabolism (the rate at which your body burns calories).
There are actually thousands of sea vegetables, including green, red, purple/black and brown varieties. Some of the most popular types include:
You can find sea vegetables in sushi (nori is the common sushi wrapper) and Asian soups, salads and side dishes. The above pic is one of my favorite seaweed salads from a local Japanese restaurant, and I buy a similar side dish at Whole Foods. But you can also find dried seaweed and seaweed snacks in your supermarket.
Eden Organic brand makes a great line of products, including toasted nori krinkles, which you can sprinkle onto a garden salad or miso soup, and mekabu, a terrific topping for brown rice. Another brand called Annie Chun’s just sent me a few samples of their new roasted seaweed snacks and they’re great! Ten “sheets” (2.5 X 3.5 inch paper thin rectangles) contain just 25 calories but pack 35% of your daily vitamin A needs (an immune booster) and the only ingredients are seaweed, canola oil, salt, and sesame oil (clean and simple).
One note of caution: in waters that have become polluted, sea veggie can soak up contaminants, including arsenic, lead, and cadmium. Arsenic levels in hijiki was such a concern a few years ago that Canadian and British governments issued warnings advising people to not eat it. Too much iodine can also be risky, so bottom line: don’t go overboard.
If you’ve never tried sea veggies, give them a whirl and let me know what you think. Or if you’re already a seaweed aficionado please share your thoughts!