Seaweed has been used in Asian dishes for centuries but is now fast gaining recognition for weight-loss benefits. High in vitamins A and C, seaweed contains plenty of protein and is one of the few non-animal sources of B12, making it an excellent food for vegetarians. Wakame is a type of brown seaweed often used to flavour traditional dishes such as soups and salads.
Japanese chemists have found that the brownish pigment in wakame, fucoxanthin, promotes weight loss. The 2006 study conducted at Hokkaido University in Japan saw obese rats lose five to 10 per cent of their body weight when fucoxanthin was added to their regular food. Fucoxanthin works by stimulating the production of a protein that increases the burning of fat. It was also found to reduce LDL cholesterol (or bad cholesterol) and improve triglyceride levels (which affect metabolism).
Study professor, Dr Kazuo Miyashita, says that if it is effective in humans, fucoxanthin could be developed into new types of medication to combat obesity. More work may be needed to determine how effective seaweed can be as a slimming aid in humans, but that hasn't stopped the celebrities from giving it a go. Even Victoria Beckham has tried a posh mix of seaweed and algae in an effort to keep the weight off. Foods For Life nutrition consultant Yvonne Bishop-Weston says Beckham's eating regime isn't as crazy as it sounds.
"Algae and seaweed are superfoods, with many of the vital nutrients our bodies need," Bishop-Weston says. "Algae such as chlorella aid detoxification, help reduce water retention and break down fat deposits." Bishop-Weston warns that there is no magic weight-loss pill. "Victoria used algae and seaweed shakes as part of a personalised nutrition strategy," she says. "We are all different and there is no perfect one-size-fits-all weight-loss program."
Comment below if you found this article helpful or informative. Would you incorporate more seaweed into your diet to lose those extra kilos? Let me know :)