Although sushi is more and more frequently eaten in our country and algae like spirulina or chlorella are gaining in popularity, wakame algae have not yet managed to gain popularity. This seaweed, also known as Undaria pinnatifida, is one of the basic “vegetables” in eastern cuisines – mainly Japanese
Wakame can help in losing excessive fat
All of this thanks to the content of a compound called fucoxanthin. It is a natural dye of dark red or brown color, which in combination with chlorophyll gives algae a brown color.
Researchers from the University of Hokkaido have found that its intake contributes to an increased fat burning ratio (in the so-called yellow adipose tissue), caused by increased activity of a protein called thermogenin (UCP1), which translates into weight loss. Another study of obese people found that four months of supplementation with wakame extract (containing fucoxanthin) and pomegranate seed oil resulted in 5 pounds weight loss.
However, help in the fight with excessive weight gain is not the only advantage of fucoxanthin. It turns out that this substance contributes to increasing the level of the valuable DHA acid level in our body, which among other things supports learning and concentration, and helps regulate the level of triglycerides in the blood. Additionally, fucoxanthin is a powerful antioxidant.
What do we find in wakame?
Not only do wakame help burn body fat, but they are also quite low in calories. In 100 g, which is about 5 tablespoons of seaweed, you will find about 45 kcal. They contain about 3% protein, less than 1% fat, and 9% carbohydrates.
In Korea, wakame soup, called miyeok guk, is traditionally eaten by pregnant women. This is due to the richness of vitamins and minerals contained in seaweed, beneficial to the health of mother and child. In wakame we will find, above all, a lot of folic acids, which take care of the proper development of the fetus and prevent neural tube defects. These algae also contain calcium – the building material of our bones and teeth, and iron – necessary for storing and transporting oxygen to all cells of the body.
There is also manganese in these seaweeds – 100 g will provide us with half of the daily requirement for this component. Although we need it in small quantities, it is needed because it helps the absorption of many vitamins, including vitamin C, which supports immunity and iron absorption. Wakame is also a good source of magnesium and B vitamins (in addition to folic acid – B9, we can also find vitamins B2, B3, and B5 there), which take care of the proper functioning of the nervous system, and sodium, which helps regulate the water balance in our body.
Wakame is also a treasury of fatty acids from the omega-3 group. It is worth looking for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which supports, among others, the functioning of the nervous system. In 100 g of seaweed, we will find about 200 mg of this fatty acid.