Kelp and Kelp powder has been used in traditional medicine and as food source for thousands of years.
When you think of seaweed, do you only imagine a sushi wrapper? Kelp, a large type of seaweed, is bursting with benefits that prove we should be eating it beyond that California roll. In fact, kelp is already in a ton of things we use on a daily basis — from toothpaste to ice cream.
Kelp is often called a ‘superfood from the sea’ because it has 10 times more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than orange juice. In fact kelp is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B-12, calcium, iron, and magnesium. Vitamin K aids with bone metabolism and helps produce the protein that’s key to making blood clots. Vitamin A is key to so many functions in your body, from making sure you have optimal eye health to supporting the immune system and reproduction.* At the same time, it also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work optimally.
While kelp contains dozens of essential vitamins and minerals, it’s difficult to find kelp on the menu and get it into one’s daily diet. Not to worry, though, kelp can be found in powdered form, and it’s easy to add to smoothies, soups, and baked goods. If you’re adventurous and live close to the sea you may want to even forage your own kelp. Kelp is moderately rich in iron, which is necessary to prevent the iron deficiency known as anemia. If you have anemia, your body’s tissues don’t get enough oxygen because of a shortage of red blood cells. Menstruating women are especially at risk of anemia, which can cause fatigue, weakness, dizziness, and other symptoms.
But what this sea superfood really excels at is its iodine content. In fact, it’s one of the best natural sources of iodine there is, giving it superhero hormone-balancing capabilities.
The mineral iodine plays a crucial role in producing thyroid hormones, managing the metabolism, and aiding the female body in a healthy pregnancy. On the other hand, a deficiency in this vital mineral can play a part in diseases and disorders such as polycystic ovarian disease, prostate disorders, thyroid conditions, autoimmune diseases, and even diabetes. Since diet is the exclusive source of the human body’s iodine content, it’s important to pay attention to foods high in this mineral.
Research has also shown that kelp can possess powerful cancer-fighting capabilities, particularly against breast and colon cancer. Its high levels of antioxidants not only fight free radicals, but can aid people with diabetes and act as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent.
Not only is it great to eat and health, but it’s great for your skin too! Kelp powder is antioxidant rich, and is known to help soften and hydrate dry skin. Not only that, but it also helps your skin retain moisturize, keeping it hydrated for longer. It is known to reduce the appearance of breakouts. Brown algae has many benefits for skin: It’s high in antioxidants and, when applied topically, will help reduce redness and swelling. In addition, kelp is also a great moisturizer.
Takeaway: Kelp is a nutrient-dense edible brown algae. It is a good source of vitamins and minerals, especially iodine and calcium, and can support bone health, weight maintenance, and, when applied topically, skin appearance. Kelp is available fresh, dried, and powdered. For an easy way to incorporate it into your diet, try adding the kelp powder to water or smoothies.