Kelp, famously known as seaweed, is a sea alga commonly used by Asians due to its health benefits. Since ancient age, Japanese have been using sea kelp in their sushi, and Chinese have been using it in their regular food. However, now, seaweed is surfacing as a well-known ingredient in Western kitchens too as it is rich in minerals, micronutrients, fatty acids, amino acids, and carotenoids. Many people even consider it as a superfood due to its positive effects in managing weight loss, thyroid, diabetes, and other such ailments.
Sea kelp’s main strength lies in its pigment fucoxanthin, which is responsible for its brown/orange color. This fucoxanthin imparts anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties to sea kelp. The pigment is also known to prevent strokes and reduce the risk of heart problems. A study revealed that fucoxanthin has a positive effect on human health; it has anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-obese, and anti-malarial properties.
The major 9 health benefits of sea kelp are listed below:
Healthy Source of Iodine
Sea kelp is an iodine-rich food that can help you maintain your iodine levels and save you from various ailments caused by iodine deficiency.Proper intake of iodine can guard you against hypothyroidism as our thyroid glands need iodine to function smoothly. Iodine additionally fights against certain cancers, enhances development in babies, and promotes a healthy brain.The most natural way of sufficient iodine intake is through kelp. Some people have also started consuming it regularly to reduce severe symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Helps in Weight Loss
People who find it hard to lose weight can use sea kelp for promoting weight loss. Kelp’s protein fucoxanthin is an anti-obesity element, and it helps in reducing fat tissues. This property of kelp can be explained by the fact that it is fiber-rich which enhances metabolism.Some people also prefer taking kelp with pomegranate seed oil for better results.
Treats and Prevents Diabetes
Kelp helps diabetic patients or people who have a risk of diabetes by controlling their blood sugar levels, decreasing blood lipids, and lowering risk of diabetes-related cardiovascular diseases. Further, as we have already discussed, seaweed is rich in fibers which helps people with type II diabetes lose weight.
Inhibits Some Blood Disorders
Fucoidan, a nutrient present in brown alga (kelp), helps in avoiding blood clots that can cause heart problems, stroke, and other dangerous health issues. Its effectiveness can be proved by this study that suggests using fucoidan as an oral antithrombotic to reduce and prevent blood clotting.People with the risk of diabetes can benefit from kelp as it prevents blood clotting, so diabetic patients or people at risk of diabetes have multiple reasons to rely on kelp.Additionally, sea kelp can inhibit damage caused due to inadequate flow of blood in body parts, which is commonly known as ischemic damage.
Prevents Growth of Cancer
Cancer-preventing properties of sea kelp are backed by various scientific evidence and proofs. Presence of fucoidan and fucoxanthin together makes it an effective cancer-fighting agent. Both these nutrients have anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties that assist in colon, breast, and lung cancer and leukemia.The main aim of cancer treatment is to eliminate tumor cells without harming healthy tissues. However, most treatments used today have various side effects, and that is why the use of natural substances such as sea kelp is well-known for preventing cancer growth.This research found out fucoidan present in kelp has anti-cancer properties; it reduces tumor cells and increases lifespan.
Reduces Body Inflammation
Many diseases in humans are a result of inflammation, and reducing inflammation can reduce the risk of such diseases. Kelp decreases overall inflammation in the body, and with just kelp, you can avoid most types of body inflammation naturally.
Inhibits Bone Loss
We all know calcium-rich foods are helpful for bones, but what most of us don’t know is that vitamin K enhances bone density. Seaweed is a natural source of vitamin K, and with just a single serving of kelp, you can consume one-fourth of vitamin K requirement per day.
It is well-known that immunity is the ability to fight diseases and guard the human body against ailments. With an insufficient intake of vitamins and minerals, the body’s immunity is severely affected. Kelp bridges this gap by providing necessary minerals and vitamins to the body.
Relieves Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS can be uncomfortable for most women as they experience cramps, fatigue, and anemia during periods.Seaweed contains various minerals including iron that can control the production of RBCs (red blood cells) and assist in reducing fatigue and risk of anemia. Further, kelp contains potassium and calcium which together reduce menstrual cramps.
Sea kelp has various therapeutic properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, etc. It is also easily available in the market in various forms such as fresh, dried, powder, and supplement. However, it is always advised to consult your doctor before regularly consuming kelp, as it may not work efficiently with some medications.
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