Weight loss meal plans are enhanced by eating seaweed. The food prognosticators are predicting “a sea change in the vegetable world,” and labeling seaweed “the new kale.” Seaweed is being touted as one of the hottest new health trends. It is being promoted for its prolific health benefits, which include antioxidants, calcium, iodine, and a broad range of vitamins. Environmentalists love marine algae because it draws carbon dioxide out of the water, potentially reversing the damage done by acidification.
Add Seaweed to Your Weight Loss Meal Plans
Try adding seaweed to your weight loss meal plans and you’ll see results. We typically associate seaweed with Japanese cuisine, as a sushi wrap or floating in miso soup. Sea vegetables have long been a staple of Asian cuisine and used homeopathically to treat thyroid conditions like goiter, due to their high iodine content. With increasing regularity, seaweed’s umami flavor is being added to pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, salad dressings, and marinades. Seaweed chips and crackers come as a welcome alternative to last year’s jaded kale offerings.
There are many thousands of types of seaweed, but only a small proportion of them are edible. Seaweed is often categorized by color—red, green and brown—determined by the type of light each absorbs for photosynthesis.
Nutritional Benefits of Adding Seaweed to Your Weight Loss Meal Plans
When you add seaweed to your weight loss meals plans you will also enhance your nutrition.
A cup of seaweed contains a mere 30 calories and is almost fat-free. It also contains protein, although the amounts vary by variety. Eating seaweed will add soluble fiber to your diet, promoting satiety and regularity. One type of seaweed fiber, alginate, helps block the digestion of fat in the digestive tract and treat heartburn. If you don’t like fatty fish, sea vegetables are an excellent way to get a hefty dose of heart healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.
Marine algae is rich in the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, which protect aging cells from the deleterious effects of free radicals, as well as Vitamin K and calcium, necessary for blood clotting. The phytochemicals in seaweed help ward off cancers and heart disease. Many older adults are deficient in Vitamin D and iron and sea vegetables are abundant in both of these nutrients.
Seaweed Has Many Health Benefits
Another reason to add seaweed to your weight loss meal plans is because it has many benefits in addition to helping with weight loss.
1. Seaweed Helps Prevent Obesity
Seaweeds are a promising source for the development of new anti-obesity agents, due to certain bioactive compounds, including polysaccharides and carotenoids, which slow fat absorption and enhance satiety feelings. One study of healthy overweight men who ate seaweed-enhanced-bread found that they consumed 16.4% fewer calories in a meal eaten four hours later.
2. Consumption of Nori Seaweed Reduces Breast Cancer
Over 40% of all breast cancers are diagnosed in women over 65. A case-control study of premenopausal and postmenopausal Korean women found that high intake of nori seaweed was associated with a decreased risk of breast cancer.
3. The Beta-Carotene in Seaweed Has Anticarcinogenic Effects
Epidemiological data show that the ubiquitous consumption of seaweeds in Japan may offer protection against certain cancers. One lab study comparing extracts of different types of seaweeds found that green and brown nori seaweed “showed relatively strong suppressive activities in both tumor suppression and control,” possibly due its beta-carotene content. Sea vegetables also show the potential to reduce gastric cancer cells.
4. Seaweed Is a Good Source of Vitamin B-12
An estimated 20% of older adults are deficient in vitamin B-12, a vitamin that keeps the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps our bodies make DNA. Since most Vitamin B-12 is found in animal products, vegans and vegetarians are often vitamin B-12 deficient. Nori, the most widely consumed type of seaweed, contains large amounts of vitamin B-12. The type contained in seaweed, Cobalamin, is the type most bioavailable to humans.
5. Seaweed Helps Treat Arthritis
One-half of adults over 65 have been diagnosed with arthritis. Seaweed has been shown to be effective in treating both rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. A study of knee osteoarthritis sufferers who were given a seaweed supplement demonstrated increases in range of motion and walking distances and decreased use of pain medications after only 12 weeks of treatment.
Popular Types of Seaweed
Nori, kombu, wakame, and kelp are some of the most popular and readily available types of seaweed. Health food stores and Asian Markets such as 99 Ranch Market stock dried seaweed in sheets and packaged into a great variety of snack foods, most notably chips and crisps. Seaweed is also incorporated into seasonings, like Eden Food’s Seaweed Gomasio.