Turn the Rising Tide of Obesity with Seaweed

To lose weight, try seaweed Though we may not often think of the ocean as a good source of veggies, the sea’s salty brine is home to many different plants that can offer nutritional benefits to any medical weight loss diet. The many different kinds of seaweed have been staples in the cuisine of Asian cultures for thousands of years—and with good reason, too. Different kinds of seaweed are loaded with all sorts of different nutrients, while a 2010 study at Newcastle University found that alginate, a dietary fiber found in seaweed, can reduce the body’s absorption of fat by as much as 75 percent.

Seaweed is an acquired taste that may not appeal to everyone, but each variety has its own taste and texture and can be prepared in numerous different ways. If you find one you really enjoy, adding some seaweed to your diet may just give you the little boost you need to lose weight in Syracuse or Fayetteville. Readily available in health food stores and Asian markets everywhere, here are a few different kinds of ocean veggie to try.

Nori

Best known as the seaweed used to wrap sushi, this ocean plant is often sold in roasted, paper-like sheets. With one of the highest protein values of any ocean plant, one sheet of nori has the same amount of fiber as a cup of raw spinach and higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than a cup of avocado. It’s also full of taurine, which helps to control cholesterol levels, and vitamins C and B12.

Preparation: As mentioned, nori is most frequently used to make sushi rolls, but can also be toasted on low heat in the oven to make a light, nutritious snack.

Arame

A common garnish for many salads and marinated dishes, this variety of seaweed has a mild, somewhat sweet flavor. Like nori, it’s frequently sold in dried form and can be reconstituted by soaking it in cold water. Full of iodine, calcium and iron, arame is also packed with potassium, which has earned a reputation among athletes for reducing muscle cramps.

Preparation: After soaking this seaweed’s dark brown strands in cold water, try making a light summer salad by tossing them with sautéed mushrooms, basil, olive oil, tomatoes and pasta. You can also add it to any stir-fried vegetable dish.

Wakame

Used by the Japanese for dietary and medicinal purposes for centuries, this leathery, nutrient-dense plant is full of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and potassium, among many others. It also contains a pigment called fucoxanthin which can improve insulin resistance and was shown to help burn fatty tissue in a study of animals. The highly absorbent plant is often found in dried form and can expand to 10 times its size when soaked in liquid.

Preparation: Wakame is popular in Japanese dishes like miso soup, which can be made with wakame, tofu, miso paste and a flavorful broth made from kombu, another popular seaweed variety. You can also use wakame to make a salad, where it will add plenty of savory flavors without adding fat, sugar or excess calories.

Though you may not like seaweed’s taste at first if unacquainted to it, trying out the many different ways to prepare these ocean plants is sure to add some flavor and fun to your medical weight loss diet. With so many different options and nutritional benefits, seaweed may be just the veggie you need to keep losing weight.