Brown seaweed, which is used for flavor in many Asian dishes, contains a compound that may reduce the accumulation of fat, which could help aid weight loss.
The compound, called fucoxanthin, is a brownish pigment that helps with brown seaweed's photosynthesis process. It is not found in significant amounts in other kinds of edible seaweed, such as green or red seaweed.
Fucoxanthin led to a 5 percent to 10 percent reduction in the weight of test animals, and could be developed into an obesity-fighting drug or supplement. The compound targets abdominal fat in particular.
A study of more than 200 rats and mice showed that fucoxanthin appears to fight fat through two different mechanisms. First, it stimulates a protein call UCP1, which causes fat oxidation. The protein is particularly abundant in the abdominal area, which is why the compound might be especially effective at reducing abdominal fat.
Fucoxanthin also causes the liver to produce DHA, a type of omega-3 fat that reduces LDL ("bad") cholesterol, which is known to contribute to obesity and heart disease.
However, because the fucoxanthin is tightly bound to the protein in the seaweeds, it is poorly absorbed by the body when whole seaweed is consumed. An extract could yield stronger results.
Perhaps this in part explains why Asians eating traditional diets seem to have no challenge with the battle of the bulge. It looks like brown seaweed, such as the kind used in traditional miso soup, is a natural weight-loss aid.
This fucoxanthin could be another good way to get more critical omega-3 fats into your diet, which is essential not just for maintaining your ideal weight, but for your brain function and your general health as well.
However, it may be up to five years before somebody develops an effective, natural fucoxanthin extract, if one can be made at all. You needn't wait till then as although the extract might be helpful, you can get the benefits by eating the whole unprocessed food.
Typically, this strategy is far wiser as there is a tremendous synergy that occurs when you eat food in its natural unprocessed state -- one that simply cannot possibly occur when you consume food in a refined processed state.
Other strategies to get your weight under control naturally, safely and effectively include following these simple steps: