Kelp is a large seaweed plant that grows in underwater “forests” in shallow oceans. It can grow about 20 inches a day and up to 200 feet in length.
Kelp is a popular food source in countries like Japan. In the United States, it is more commonly taken as a supplement (made from dehydrated kelp), including kelp powder, tablets, and capsules.
Health Benefits of Kelp
Kelp, like other sea vegetables, contain virtually every mineral in the ocean. They have a remarkable ability of taking the minerals from the water and holding them in their cells.
Kelp is an excellent source of iodine and vitamin K, a very good source of folate and magnesium, and a good source of calcium, iron, manganese, and zinc.
Kelp is one of nature’s richest source of iodine (natural iodine is absorbed more slowly in the body than chemical iodine, making it a better choice). Iodine is a component of hormones in the thyroid gland and is essential for proper growth. It controls metabolism in every cell throughout the body and can greatly impact ones health and well-being if a deficiency occurs.
Kelp contains a good amount of lignans, phytonutrients, that can help in the treatment and prevention of cancer. Lignans can also help women who suffer from symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
Other health benefits of kelp include:
- enhancing the immune system
- strengthening connective tissue (beneficial for the skin, hair, and nails)
- absorbing toxins from the digestive tract
- regulating body temperature (helpful for those with chronic low body temperature)
- helping in the prevention of migraine headaches and heart disease
- helping in the treatment of fatigue, arthritis, asthma, eczema, and psoriasis.
To ensure you get the health benefits of kelp:
- store fresh kelp in a tightly sealed container and keep at room temperature
- do not use kelp powder, tablets, or capsules after its expiration date.
Image courtesy of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (in the public domain).
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