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The Green Superfood You Should Be Eating

You've eaten it on your sushi and reluctantly tried snacking on it when it wound up in your ramen once, but seaweed has never been in your grocery basket—let alone on your shopping list.

We're going to change that. Once you find out all the good it can do for you—and all the delicious ways you can use it—you'll stop thinking of this sea vegetable as a sushi-only superfood. But first, what exactly do we mean by sea vegetables? The most common is nori, the blackish wrap around the rice in your sushi roll. Other types of sea vegetables include kelp—commonly found in miso soup—wakame, dulse and hijiki.

Ready to give the odd-sounding ocean plants a try? Here's what you'll get for your effort and some ideas for how to dive in:

They Boost Fat Burn

"Without sufficient levels of iodine, your thyroid function becomes impaired and it's harder for your body to burn fat," says nutritionist Dana James of Food Coach NYC, who suggests sneaking sea vegetables into your diet at least three times a week.

Seaweed also contains a compound called alginate, which has been shown to significantly cut fat absorption, says Tanya Zuckerbrot, RD, author of Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear–with Fiber.

They Fend Off Cancer

"Seaweed is a rich source of the B-vitamin folic acid, and studies have shown that diets high in folate-rich foods, such as seaweed, may significantly cut your risk for colon cancer," says Zuckerbrot. "Sea vegetables also contain significant amounts of lignans, plant compounds with known cancer-protective properties."

They Keep Cholesterol in Check

According to a Japanese study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, eating nori may help reduce cholesterol levels."By replacing wraps, bagels, and bread with nori, you'll have fewer carbohydrates available to convert to cholesterol," explains James.

How to Cook with Seaweed

With all of these benefits, there's no reason to not add sea vegetables into your diet. You can make a delicious broth by boiling down wakame seaweed (this is commonly the base for miso soup), pump up the flavor of speambled eggs with hot sauce and a sprinkle of toasted nori, wrap up a quick and easy lunch or snack using nori instead of bread and sprinkle dulse over everything from stir-fry to soup.

Courtesy of Men's Fitness

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