1.Seaweed can help control your appetite. "Seaweed is low in fat but packed with soluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels and keeps your bowels moving. The fiber can help you feel full on very few calories," she says.
2.It's chock-full of vitamins and minerals. "Seaweed is a great source of vitamins A, C, E, K and B vitamins," Berman says. "It's also rich in minerals, including iodine, selenium, calcium and iron."
3.Protein! Seaweed contains amino acids, which, as you may recall from first-period biology, are the building blocks for protein.
Studies have also shown that seaweed might help block fat absorption, Berman says, noting that more research is needed. Other studies have suggested that ingestion of seaweed may reduce the risk of breast cancer due to its anti-estrogenic effects.
So is seaweed the new wonder food? Perhaps -- but there are a few notes of caution to keep in mind.
"There is some concern about the toxins associated with consuming seaweed, mainly from arsenic," Berman explains. She recommends choosing organic seaweed to avoid this problem. Seaweed also can pack in a lot of sodium, so Berman advises that we monitor our portion sizes.
Finally, how do we eat it? Of course, seaweed is readily available at your fave sushi place (in rolls and miso soup, for starters), but you can enjoy it at home too, in a variety of different ways. It's pretty easy to find -- grocery and health food stores that feature Asian products traditionally have a wider selection. Berman suggests looking for one of the most popular varieties, such as Wakame, Nori, Irish Moss, Kelp, Kombu, Dulse, Hijiki and Arame.
As for what to do with it ... a great way to eat seaweed is to incorporate it into soups, stews, stir fries (just add Hijiki) and salads. (An easy seaweed salad: Wakame seaweed, sesame oil, low-sodium soy sauce, sesame seeds and rice vinegar!). Seaweed is also available dried and as a powder or flake -- try sprinkling dried seaweed on vegetable sides, salads and rice.