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Why Seaweed Will Be Your New Favorite Pizza Topping

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Here's one way to have your cake (or pizza or pie) and eat it too: Sprinkle some seaweed on it! Adding a little bit of the sea vegetable to regular foods can help cut your risk of heart attack, according to a new study. No one is saying this is going to turn junk food into healthy food, but if you're going to splurge anyhow, why not add a little bit of nutrition to your nosh?

It's not as gross as you think. There's no need to top your pepperoni pizza or chocolate cake with slimy green leaves. Rather, the researchers suggest replacing five percent of flour with powdered seaweed. They say the taste is undetectable and you still get the nutritional benefits. And according to the study, eating just five to 10 grams of seaweed a day can boost your cardiovascular health and help ward off heart attacks and strokes. Scientists chalk this up to the high fiber content and micronutrients in seaweed.

The ocean veggie can also help with weight loss. The people in the study who ate the seaweed-enhanced foods upped their daily intake of fiber and dropped their overall calories by 16 percent over the next 24 hours, without consciously trying to. Slash calories without dieting? Yes, please!

"Certain substances in seaweed may be important for reducing cardiovascular diseases. We think this knowledge should be available for society and also be put to use," said Ole G. Mouritsen, Ph.D., lead author of the paper. "We know that many people have difficulty distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy food. By adding seaweed to processed foods we can make food healthier and in many cases tastier too."

Bonus: By sprinkling seaweed on your food, not only do you get the nutritional benefits, but it may help you eat less of the junk. The seaweed helps you satisfy your fifth "taste," umami, which Mouritsen said is critical to achieving that sense of fullness that signals you are done eating.

Intrigued but not sure what to do with algae? Try these 10 Ways to Eat Algae (That Aren't Weird at All!).

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