Nutrition and Healing
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  • Undersea delicacy packs a double whammy

    Some people think it’s kind of gross, but I love a good seaweed salad. There’s a great sushi restaurant around the corner from me, and I start every meal there with a little bowl of seaweed, cucumber, and sesame seeds covered in some kind of tasty dressing.

    So you might be retching right now — I know it’s not for everybody (even though it’s a great source of fiber as well as prebiotics) — but no matter how put off you might be, there’s one thing that could catch your interest.

    Especially if you have diabetes or are struggling with weight loss.

    Two studies released within days of each other reveal the power of this undersea plant.

    First off, a study in the journal Food Chemistry tackles the question of what seaweed can do for diabetics. Researchers isolated polyphenol-rich seaweed extracts and found that seaweed could have powerful anti-diabetic effects. The power lies in the plant’s ability to take on glucose-induced oxidative stress and its inhibition of several digestive enzymes.

    Oh, and a bonus was revealed in this study — seaweed seems to inhibit the development and spread of cultured colon cancer cells.

    The second study, published in the Journal of Food Science, is well-timed, considering the time of year. I don’t know about you, but I see a few very food-based weeks coming up on my calendar.

    In this one, researchers combined brown seaweed lipids and scallop by-products (like scallop viscera — mmm!) rich in omega-3s and gave them to mice.

    The result? Significant reduction in body weight and fat tissue.

    Previous research had shown that fucoxanthin, a carotenoid found in edible brown seaweeds like wakame, led to loss of abdominal fat in mice.

    Combining the two substances led to enhanced fat metabolism and, of course, weight loss. The effect was seen in mice given wakame lipids alone as well as those given the seaweed/scallop combo.

    Of course, this was a mouse study, but I’m thinking about hitting that sushi restaurant for lunch tomorrow.

    Now, if you’re one of those people who thinks seaweed is totally gross and can’t imagine letting it anywhere near your mouth, I have good news for you. Fucoxanthin is readily available at many health food stores and supplement shops.

    Sources:
    “Polyphenol-rich seaweed extracts may have anti-diabetic effects: Study,” Nutraingredients USA (www.nutraingredients.com)
    “Seaweed and scallop capsules may aid weight loss: Study,” Nutraingredients USA (www.nutraingredients.com)

    Still not feeling completely on board with munching on seaweed as a weight loss method? Not to worry — Dr. Wright has you covered with his (starvation-free AND gym-free!) weight loss secret. Click here to learn more.

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