Kelp has been used as a food for centuries, partly because of its health benefits, and partly because it is easy to find and harvest. Kelp is a type of seaweed, and some of the varieties can grow up to several hundred feet in length.
It is found all over the world in colder waters off the coast, but is especially abundant near China and Japan, where it an important ingredient in many recipes. Many Japanese women who include kelp in their daily diet have noticeably lower rates of ovarian and breast cancer.
Health Benefits of Kelp
The positive health benefits of kelp are well known, and many people have discovered the benefits from taking it regularly in the form of a supplement. Most health food stores stock kelp supplements, and it can also be ingested in powder or granule form, adding it to meals as a seasoning as needed.
Kelp is naturally rich in nutrients and proteins; in fact there are traces of over 70 of them, including many of the more essential ones, including iron, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Kelp is especially rich in niacin and vitamins A, B1 and C.
Kelp & Weight Loss
One of the biggest health benefits of kelp is its effectiveness as part of a weight loss diet. Because kelp is rich in iodine, it can help to speed up the rate of weight loss by optimizing the body’s rate of metabolism.
The presence of iodine can also help to maintain a healthier ratio of body fat, and to prevent the onset of hypothyroidism. Kelp can also be extremely useful to anyone trying to lose weight by practicing a low carbohydrate diet; the carbs present in the seaweed can help to provide those all-important, slow-metabolizing carbs the body needs.
Kelp Can Help Prevent Disease
Other health befits of kelp include its ability to help with preventing cancer and heart disease, as well as improving the effectiveness of the liver. Kelp is an ideal supplement to take for anyone who has occasional or regular problems with digestion, constipation or flatulence and it can also be used to improve the overall health of the mucus membranes and to minimize the effects of aids.
If you often feel tired and run down, kelp is also effective in boosting energy levels and eliminating tiredness. Kelp has even been associated with the prevention of tooth disease, and hair loss among its other health benefits.
Kelp is Brain Food
However, it isn’t just the body that can benefit from kelp, and studies have shown that the seaweed is good for the mind too. Taking a kelp supplement regularly can help to boost focus and can result in clear thinking.
The iodine present in kelp can help to eliminate irritability and worry, and many people claim that it can help them to sleep more restfully, and can help fight insomnia. Because kelp can help boost the brain membranes and tissues as well as the sensory nerves, it can also be the perfect supplement for anyone struggling with amnesia. The vitamin B present in kelp can also help to deal with anxiety and stress.
How to Integrate Kelp Into the Diet
Although the easiest way to include kelp in your diet is to take it as a supplement, it can also be taken in other ways. Kelp granules can be used as a substitute for salt and added to foods such as salads, soups and meat dishes for flavoring, just as you would add salt.
It can also be used in a powder form, and added to food to season it. Ground seaweed can be stirred into a glass of juice or a smoothie, blended into a dip or mixed with a salad dressing.
If you are using kelp as a seasoning, try mixing it with other spices, such as turmeric, thyme, rosemary or garlic. Kelp and other types of seaweed can also be fried and made into small and tasty snacks, and if you like sushi, kelp makes an obvious addition to any sushi meal.
Kelp extracts can be found in many of the green powder drinks on the market, including those made by Athletic Greens. These green drinks are an easy – and tasty – way to enjoy the health benefits of kelp, and it’s easy to add fresh fruit such as mangoes or bananas. When choosing green powder drinks, try to choose those that have been certified as organic.
Kelp Side Effects?
One advantage of kelp is that it typically has no serious or harmful side effects, although it can be something of an acquired taste. Ingesting too much iodine is the most common side effect, and this can lead to hypothyroidism, which in turn can cause tiredness, increased bowel movements and problems during the menstrual cycle. Kelp can also cause excessive bleeding during or after a surgery, and because it is a laxative, too much of it can lead to diarrhea or dehydration.
Overall, kelp is an extraordinary sea vegetable that has a host of health benefits to the body. Whether taking it in raw form or ingesting it through a superfood green drink powder, adding kelp to the diet is a very good idea.