The findings from scientists at Newcastle University, published in the journal Food Chemistry, showed that a four-fold increase in one type of alginate found in sea kelp boosted anti-fat absorption by 75%.
Researchers used it in bread during trials. Even a small amount reduced people's fat intake by a third. Now they hope to start full clinical trials.
In terms of nutrition and benefits, seaweeds are the most powerful food on this planet. It contains all the minerals that our body needs and has the highest number of vitamins, minerals and trace elements of any other food group. For thousands of years, seaweed has played a vital part in the diets of a large number of cultures, including the Inuit, Japanese, Incas and the Irish. The Inuit get all their vitamin C from seaweeds.
Seaweeds' health and medicinal benefits have been recognized as well. The Scottish crofters for instance, fed their sheep with Sweet Kombu as it made the meat sweeter, while in Ireland Dulse was sold as a cure for hangovers, and all along the Mediterranean certain seaweeds were used to treat parasitic worms. In the Far East, seaweed has been used extensively and the Chinese have long known that some species are able to treat cancer.
The heroine in my forthcoming novel, Seaweed Ribbons, uses the device of 'tie a yellow ribbon' as a signal to her love. Here's a short excerpt, where Ginny uses seaweed to make bread.
"We'll prepare a stew with the last dried fish." Hilda spoke with harmonious, gentle tones. "We can save the stores for later and use this hare. I'll cut the carcass into small pieces to make enough meat to go around."
"What's in the bag?" Ginny lifted the top and peered inside at grain of some sort.
"It's linseed we collected last year. I think bugs are eating the grain, and they don't taste good."
"I can pick them out." Ginny sniffed. Smelled fresh. "Do you have something to tip the seeds into?"
"Use this bowl, dear." Hilda lifted a scooped-out stone container from the shelf above her. "I don't know what we'll do with it though."
"We can bake bread. Do you have any mushrooms?"
"Fraid not." Hilda gathered the bare bones and added them to a large pot of boiling liquid on the fire in the centre of the room. Steam sent savoury smells into the air.
"Never mind. I'll chop seaweed." Fingers straddling her chin, Ginny stroked her grinning cheeks. "There's plenty on the beach."
Hilda's crinkled skin bunched together on her forehead. "You can't go on the beach again. Those Sand People are outside. They throw stones at us."
"They didn't attack us when we arrived."
"Maybe they were sleeping," Hilda said.
"Perhaps they wanted an extra man in their pot," Ginny said. "Some tribes collect men."
"Some collect women."
"Why can't everyone stay where they want to?"
Hilda faced Ginny. "Where do you belong?"
"Beside ... my husk band."
"Good answer. But aren't you wandering away from home?"
Ginny picked amongst the brown seeds and removed dark insects. "Man and woman are meant to be together," she murmured. "My group didn't want Raymond."
"Why?" Hilda sliced shrivelled potatoes. "What did he do to upset them?"
"Not a thing. They objected to the colour of his skin." Ginny jumped as another clunk hit the wall.
What sort of wild land had Raymond brought her into?