Seaweed & Weight Loss

A recent news report suggests seaweed contains fibre that helps lose weight more effectively than obesity drugs*.

Ayurveda claims that seaweed is cleansing and mildly nutritive seaweed’s are balanced for most constitutions, only increasing vata in excess. They are the highest plant source of minerals and make a good addition to people who have been mainly eating a meat based diet. They generally help to eliminate toxic heavy metals and radiation from the tissues. They do not absorb toxins from the ocean readily – acting rather to transmute these pollutants.

They are useful to treat tumors, cysts, edema, and the thyroid. It is one of the best foods to clear the plasma and lymph nodes. Seaweed’s can make an important addition to weight loss programs and counteract high cholesterol and fat in the blood.

Ayurveda considers seaweed to be more tamasic due to it growing low in the ocean. Hence, it is not traditionally used as food. It is still valuable as a supplement or as a food for Ocean cultures. Seaweed is considered to reduce Pitta and Kapha and only increase Vata slightly.

* http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/tyne/8579472.stm

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10 thoughts on “Seaweed & Weight Loss

    • Their website quotes on homepage: “This site is dedicated to the promotion of a unique nutritional product called MODIFILAN, a concentrated brown seaweed extract. It is a natural food supplement which contains several organic elements found to be very beneficial to our health.”

      Be careful of websites like this – they are most likely more interested in selling than helping mankind. But more importantly, Ayurveda does not recognise the value of using concentrated extracts – the human body does not know how to assimilate them, they derange Prana (cellular intelligence, whatever). From an evolutionary point of view, such food supplements do not exist in nature therefore humans are unlikely to know how to digest or benefit from them. Ayurveda would therefore suggest such products are used with caution, over a short period of time only.

      Better just to source some organic (if possible) seaweed from your local store and cook with it! Also, use turmeric liberally in your cooking. It is excellent for reducing excess and balancing metabolism.

  1. Hello Alex,

    What you say concerning our capability to digest and benefit from concentrated extracts makes things much clearer to me.
    Is this also true for soy protein isolates that are sometimes recommended to vegetarian people ?

    Thanks for all those life and health informations,
    Patrick

    • Hello Patrick,

      Yes, the ayurveda that I know considers that soya derived foods, like TVP (textured vegetable protein), or other modern, somewhat synthesised protein rich foods like quorn, are harder for agni (your digestive enzymes) to digest than soya beans that have been minimally tampered with, such as well cooked soya beans, soya milk, or fermented soya products like tofu. This is general for all metabolic types (vata, pitta and kapha).

      However, soya is, even in its natural, traditional forms on the harder side to digest than other smaller, lighter legumes (lentils etc.). In practice, we find that people with vata dominant constitutions, who have a tendency towards variable or insufficient agni (enzyme function), tend to find all soya products difficult to digest.

      If you are a vata type, or have trouble digesting soya foods, use some extra digestive spices such as cumin, turmeric, asafoetida, garlic, fennel etc.

      Cheers, Alex.

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    • As a herbal supplement, I would not be too concerned, as the quantities are very low. And even with respect to the Ayurvedic teaching that seaweed is Tamasic, I would be interested to explore the idea with clinical studies or at least review the doctrine. Consider, for example, the number of Japanese people who frequently eat seaweed. The same can be said for many Westerners who consume considerably larger amounts of fermented dairy produce (also considered Tamasic). It is equally, if not more likely (in my opinion) that the reasons for assigning seaweed and fermented foods as Tamasic have arisen due to differences in cultural Satmya, as well as environmental context. My views aside, I accept that in a state of heightened self-awareness (i.e. via Yogic or similar practices) it may well have been observed that certain foods had a detrimental influence on the quality of our concentration, clarity and mental steadiness. Ayurveda (at least, the way I have understood it) invites us to weigh up the pros and cons. If Seaweed turns out to be an excellent and available source of a particular therapeutic effect, it may be used intelligently, despite its mildly Tamasic nature.

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