Seaweed Can Build Muscle Strength and Shed Fat, According to Research

The Japanese have grown and eaten wakame seaweed for centuries, but it has yet to drift into the UK mainstream. Our loss: studies show that the marine algae is swimming with nutrients that could help you gain strength and shed fat, fast. Wakame, which you’ve already tried if you’ve ever slurped down a hot bowl of miso soup, deserves to be a staple outside the sushi bar.

According to a study in Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism, it contains fucoxanthin, a carotenoid that promotes fat oxidation. It’s also a source of hesperetin, a flavonoid that stimulates the formation of muscle tissue and provides a boost to bone health as you age. It’s little surprise then, that when scientists at the Korea Food Research Institute studied the effect of wakame on mice over eight weeks, they observed a powerful range of benefits.

The distance the animals could run improved by about 15%, as did the size and health of their muscles. Blood flow to their muscles increases, and the mitochondria in their muscle cells (the central powerhouses that covert nutrients into energy) had grown substantially. What’s more, the gains recorded by the researchers were largely in the category of “fast-twitch” muscle fibres – the kind involved in short, powerful movements, such as those needed for your next deadlift PB.

That’s more than enough reason to take the plunge and grab some dried wakame from your local health food shop. Serve with pink shrimp and crunchy cucumber and start making waves after your next big session.

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5 Best Asian Superfoods

These Asian superfoods are perfect for anyone hungry for better health and fitness.

1. Sashimi

Raw fish contains more omega-3, for a cardiovascular health boost.

2. Pak Choi

This is a source of sulforaphane, with anti-cancer properties.

3. Wood Ear Mushrooms

Packed with stamina-boosting polysaccharides.

4. Ramen

Contains dissolved collagen, to slow skin ageing.

5. Miso

Fermented soya beans are full of probiotics, for gut health.

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