For many people, the thought of eating seaweed is less than appealing. Sometimes it’s salty or bitter, or hard to chew, and it sometimes lends an overpowering flavor to dishes. Unless you grew up in a culture or a family where sea vegetables were a regular occurrence, it can take some getting used to. The vast range of health benefits makes it worth the sacrifice for some, but thankfully you can also get all the benefits of kelp from a capsule supplement!
Kelp can have many nutritional and therapeutic uses, and is generally well-tolerated by most people. But before we dive into the list of these powerful seaweed benefits, let’s explore this amazing medicine of the sea. What the heck is kelp, anyway?
What is kelp?
Sometimes known generically as “brown seaweed,” kelp is a large-frond seaweed that grows in shallow waters, often coming from the coasts off Japan and Korea. It grows in huge forests, and can reach lengths of over 200 feet! There are over 30 varieties of kelp, all packed with nutrients like iodine, calcium, magnesium, and iron. Out of all the sources of iodine found in nature, kelp boasts the most per weight and calorie.
Since seaweeds like kelp are known for their iodine content, let’s start there. Then we’ll dive deeper, and see what else this sea veggie has to offer!
Here are the top health benefits of kelp:
1. Packed with iodine
This is probably the top reason why most people choose to take kelp powder, or look for the best kelp supplements online. Iodine is a vital nutrient, especially for the thyroid gland. It can boost production of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), increasing thyroid function, which has many downstream effects, like improving metabolism, sleep, and mood. Thyroid issues, including hypothyroidism, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and thyroid nodules, are becoming more common these days, indicating an even greater need for good quality iodine.
2. Can aid weight loss
Seaweeds like kelp contain special kinds of fibers and carbohydrates that have been shown to reduce the absorption of fats after a meal. Alginate in kelp, and other compounds like it, may block some enzymatic breakdown of lipids in the gut, shuttling it out of the body unused. This could potentially lead to weight loss in some people. Preliminary studies suggest these effects are more powerful with fresh seaweed, but kelp powder and kelp supplements still offer some benefit here.
3. Boosts skin’s radiance
The long list of bioactive minerals and nutrients give a wide range of kelp benefits for skin health. If you’re regularly ingesting the best organic kelp supplements on the market, you’re going to glow from the inside out. And, if you use kelp powder topically, like in a face mask treatment, you’ll enjoy direct absorption of these nutrients into the skin’s surface. Kelp and other seaweeds are great at calming redness and dryness, reducing breakouts, and slowing the signs of aging.
4. Controls blood sugar
With just over 1 in 10 Americans living with diabetes, the need for natural blood sugar control is greater than ever. In some studies, kelp supplementation reduced fasting blood glucose levels, as well as serum lipid levels, indicating some positive metabolic changes thanks to kelp’s range of nutrients. Kelp is very high in vanadium, which has been used to lower glucose and cholesterol levels in people with metabolic disease.
5. Strengthens and nourishes the hair
Kelp benefits for hair and scalp have been known for a long time now, which is why seaweed extracts are such popular ingredients in shampoos, conditioners, and other hair care products. Kelp may promote a healthier scalp and stronger hair follicles, leading to less breakage and hair loss over time. You can get these benefits not only from taking a quality kelp supplement regularly, but also from using kelp powder topically, as a scalp treatment!
6. Builds strong bones
Most of us know about the importance of calcium and vitamins, in keeping our bones and teeth strong. But we don’t need dairy to do so. Thanks to seaweeds like kelp, you can get enough nutrients to lower your risk of osteoporosis, and maintain resilient bone density for years to come. Kelp is 10 times higher in calcium than milk, and has more vitamin C than orange juice!
7. Lengthens your life
There is some evidence to suggest that consuming seaweed on a regular basis can help you live longer. Looking at populations in Japan, where seaweed is a daily staple, it stands out as a potential longevity superfood, where they have higher-than-average lifespans. This is likely due to the combination of kelp’s nutrient density, and its blood-sugar controlling and cholesterol-lowering effects!
Kelp is undeniably a powerhouse sea veggie, and one that I recommend for anyone looking to boost their overall vitality, but especially those dealing with a sluggish thyroid. Eat it fresh in your salads, soups, or stir-frys, or invest in the best organic kelp supplement that you can, and start reaping the benefits today!
Check out our Wild Ocean Kelp Capsules here.