Kelp: Can the Seaweed Boost Your Health?

Kelp is a sea vegetable which contains a slew of nutrients you should not miss.

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Kelp reminds us that useful vegetables don’t just grow on land. Most importantly this sea vegetable is no fluke. It is chock-full of vital nutrients that can give your life a lift. Chief amongst these is iodine. Without an ample supply of iodine, our bodies would experience developmental delays. You wouldn’t want to have the height of a child, would you? Of course not. Also, remember that without the needed iodine in our body certain health issues surface. Why? Because iodine is an essential nutrient in one’s diet. You just can’t do without it. And people who are suffering from goiter are a living example of how essential this nutrient is.

The iodine content in kelp is so much, without a doubt. Such that, some species of kelp would even harbor as much as 30,000 greater concentration than what seawater itself would contain. Small wonder why people who live by coastal regions where you’ll find a great supply of seaweeds are usually least deficient in iodine compared to people who live closer to the city. And yet, there’s more to kelp than just iodine. Indeed.  There’s more to meet the eye with this sea vegetable. Next time, you see kelp by the beach, you would be in a better position in keeping it than just kicking it away. Read on.

History and Origin

For starters, kelps are huge plants – brown algae seaweeds from the order Laminariales. These are definitely of sea origin. Meaning: Grown underwater in kelp forests in shallow oceans. And never on land.

In the 19th century, people made a habit of burning seaweeds to get soda ash. The resulting product is termed “kelp” – though at that time there were mainly two kinds of seaweeds being used for said purpose. One was from the order Laminariales and the other from the order Fucales.  Over time, kelp meant processed ashes (from seaweeds).

The amazing thing about this seaweed is its above-average growth rate. For instance, some can grow as quickly as ½ meter in just one day achieving heights as tall as 80 meters in its lifetime.

To flourish, kelp must stay in cooler temperatures of 43 up to 57 degrees in Fahrenheit. Thanks to its tremendous growth rate, this sea vegetable is easy to harvest.

How Kelp May Help You

Right from the get-go, know that kelp is blessed with an abundant supply of alkaline. In this regard, this allows the sea vegetable to buffer key nutrients from calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium.    And more:

Iodine to the Max

You can travel the whole world through but you may never find the most potent natural source of iodine than what kelp has to offer. As mentioned, there are some species of the sea vegetable that contains iodine by as much as 30,000 times compared seawater. Imagine that. Given iodine deficiencies affect millions, this is a biggie. In 2010 alone, over 187 million people worldwide are affected by goiter – a disease related to iron deficiency.

Though goiter is normally a treatable disease, it also took a huge toll on people around the world. Over 2700 goiter complications resulted in deaths in the year 2013. Being able to supplement yourself with a healthy dose of iodine via kelp would be a great boost to health, in this regard.

A String of Antioxidants

Yes, indeed. We’re not talking about just a few vitamins and minerals here. We’re talking about an army when it comes to kelp. For one, UCSF Medical Center shows that the seaweed contains more calcium than the vegetables we consume on a daily basis. And that includes collard greens and kale. To note, you can’ really build strong bones without the benefit of calcium. Furthermore, you get a healthy dosage of vitamin B with kelp. And that’s another healthy boost for you. You see, vitamin B is a key nutrient in cellular health and energy build-up.

Disease Protection

It must be remembered that free radical damage is a huge contributing factor to many life-threatening diseases. We’re talking about stress and inflammation, for instance, factors that are usually a product of free radical damage. Having kelp in your diet, in this regard, would bring about a slew of health benefits as it is high in antioxidants – a key ally in fighting free radicals. For instance, antioxidants in the form of zinc, manganese and vitamin C   in fighting oxidative stress. This will greatly benefit people who want to maintain great heart health – which should include everyone. Further, there have been studies which indicate to the cancer-fighting ability of kelp Studies reveal that getting kelp is instrumental in slowing down prostate and lung cancer. It has also been revealed that this active anti-cancer ingredient in kelp is fucoidan.

Weight Loss

This is another big help for all Americans. Every year over 600,000 succumbs to heart disease, America’s #1 killer disease. And it is worth noting that most of the people who are affected are either obese or overweight. Though the studies involving Kelp and obesity may be considered as preliminary,  substantial conclusions have been reached.

Research shows that a particular compound in the brown sea vegetable does aid in weight loss especially for patients who are obese. This particular compound is fucoxanthin and is most effective when working in combination with pomegranate oil.

Even better, studies suggest can give better glycemic control reducing unhealthy blood glucose levels in the process. This would benefit people with type 2 diabetes.

Anti-inflammatory

Moreover, the fucoidans in this sea vegetable exhibit a branching pattern with the molecules which contain sulfur.  This gives kelp the ability to reduce unhealthy inflammation in the body. When bound with sulfur, fucoidans minimize pain and even prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries. The anti-inflammatory effects of fucoidan can be traced to its ability to block selectin production reducing the inflammatory effects of prostaglandins and various enzymes.

WARNING: As in anything, too much of kelp can be harmful too. Ingesting too much kelp can be harmful for the body as this can lead to overstimulation of the thyroid – inducing harm in the process.

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