Brown seaweed has long been part of Japanese cuisine, and is available in many Asian grocery stores throughout the United States. Americans are now more likely than ever to include in their diets for the health benefits it has to offer.
Brown seaweed contains an ingredient known as fucoxanthin, that is showing a great deal of promise in research studies. Since fucoxanthin increases the body’s natural DHA production, it may be beneficial in protecting against heart disease. Fucoxanthin is an antioxidant, which helps to protect the body from various forms of cancer by destroying free radicals and reducing the amount of damage they cause.
Animal studies have shown it helps to burn fat and boost the metabolism by tricking white fat (the bad fats typically stored around the organs) into acting like brown fat (the good, healthy fat we need) in the body. Test tube studies have shown fucoxanthin may have anti-tumor effects. This has been tested with both prostate and colon cancers.
Brown seaweed is available most commonly in noodle form, and in supplement form. For most people, the supplement form is more practical, simply because not only is it more widely available, but also it is more palatable.
Supplementation is recommended for those who are looking to get the scientific benefits of brown seaweed, because it is naturally high in iodine. Too much natural seaweed, or the amount required to see health benefits, may lead to iodine poisoning. Supplement manufacturers have removed the iodine from their products, making them the safer route to take.
For the curious, fucoxanthin can also be found in red and green seaweeds, though it most concentrated in brown.
Would you ever eat seaweed? Do you eat it? How do you feel about it? Share your thoughts with us!