Kelp Benefits: What Is Kelp?
Kelp is seaweed. It belongs to the brown algae family.
You Want Me to Eat Seaweed?
Now, for most of us, seaweed and algae are not synonymous with food. But think about it. Seaweed is just an underwater plant. It’s a sea-vegetable! You know that sea animals—fish, to the layperson—are healthy, right? After all, salmonis praised for its health benefits, including high omega-3 fatty acid content. Well, why not sea vegetables, like kelp and spirulina?
Kelp Benefits: Iodine
One of the first benefits you’ll hear about in association with sea vegetables is the presence of iodine. Iodine is a necessary nutrient, but an estimated two billion people across the world are deficient in it. It’s a trace mineral, which mean you only need a tiny bit; but if you don’t get that tiny bit of iodine, you’ll be at increased risk for many health concerns, including hypothyrodism and mental retardation.
Most of us in the United States get our iodine from salt that has been fortified with it. However, sea vegetables tend to have a high iodine content, and kelp is one of the richest sources of iodine out there. The benefit to getting your iodine from kelp, rather than from some other sources, is that kelp is a natural food source. In general, it’s healthier for you to get your vitamins and minerals from food sources than from unnatural sources.
What do you have to gain from getting enough iodine from your diet? Its main benefit appears to be related to thyroid function. By improving your thyroid function, you may potentially increase your energy level, metabolism, and weight loss!
Here’s a word of caution for those with thyroid problems: talk to your doctor before starting a kelp supplement. Kelp is such a rich source of iodine that too much might make your problem worse.
And even if your thyroid is just fine, thank you very much, you might still want to be careful of your kelp intake. Too much iodine might give you a thyroid problem when you didn’t have one to begin with! It all comes down to moderation. Kelp is fantastically healthful…just don’t overdo it.
More Kelp Benefits
In addition to the iodine thing, keep in mind that kelp is a vegetable. That means that is supplies a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B, C, D, and K (is that every vitamin or what?!); trace minerals, like magnesium, calcium, and iron; protein; and dietary fiber.
How Should I Get My Kelp?
You can buy dried kelp, though the downside is it has a very fishy taste. You can buy kelp flakes, which you can sprinkle over any number of foods. Or you can purchase a high-quality, organic kelp supplement. They all have pros and cons, and the choice is up to you!