Kelp is a type of seaweed that belongs to the brown algae family. This alga grows in underwater forests aptly called kelp forests. Because kelp grows in a mineral-rich environment, it is one of the most nutrient-dense marine algae there are. Kelp is loaded with vitamins, minerals, trace amino acids and antioxidants too. If you’re wondering what the nutritional benefits of this marine algae, check out our list below:
Packed with Essential Nutrients
Growing up in nutrient-rich shallow waters, kelp is rich in macro and micronutrients. It’s packed with B vitamins, vitamin C and E as well as cancer-fighting compounds. As for minerals, kelp is high in calcium, boron and magnesium. These nutrients keep the bones strong; they also promote better blood vessel health. Kelp is also packed with amino acids that promote muscle growth.
Just like other seaweeds, kelp is also a rich source of sodium alginate. This compound protects the body from radiation. A study published in the “Canadian Medical Association Journal” found that sodium alginate minimizes the body’s absorption of radioactive strontium by up to 80%. sodium alginate works by protecting the intestinal walls from binding with strontium. Then, the radioactive compound is safely eliminated from the body as waste.
Again, all types of marine plants (and animals, for that matter) are a rich source of iodine. Iodine is a nutrient that promotes healthy hormone production in the thyroid. The main elements of iodine are thyroxine and triiodothyronine. Iodine is absorbed by the bloodstream and straight into the thyroid. The hormones secreted by the thyroid controls the pituitary gland in the brain. Consuming iodine-rich foods, like kelp, ensures the production of important hormones.
Iodine deficiency can lead to the enlargement of the thyroid, called goiter. This condition can also cause hormonal imbalance because the thyroid gland secretes important hormones.
Chlorophyll is a plant-based pigment that gives plants their bright-green color. Chlorophyll is rich in antioxidants and amino acids. Just like iron, chlorophyll promotes the production of red blood cells. That’s because it shares the same cellular composition as human blood. Eating kelp regularly helps oxygenate the whole body.
Promotes Weight Loss
Remember how kelp stimulates the production of important hormones in the thyroid? Kelp also boosts the metabolic rate, a process controlled by the thyroid gland too. The iodine in kelp prevents sluggishness and chronic fatigue. It also keeps the thyroid healthy, cutting the risk of obesity, and overactive or underactive thyroid.
Protects from Cancer
Kelp is also high in vitamin C, an essential nutrient that acts like an antioxidant. It can neutralize free radicals. These molecules destroy healthy cells. Research shows that free radical damage is one of the main causes of cell mutation. Cell mutation leads to chronic diseases, including cancer. Clinical tests show that kelp can shrink cancerous tumors. This alga also contains a compound called “fucoidan.” This compound triggers apoptosis or cell death in cancer cells.
If you’re sensitive to acidic foods, you’d be glad to know that kelp is an alkaline food. It re-balances the body’s pH. Acid-balance is critical for many body processes including digestion.