Kelp is the name of several species of large seaweed, some in huge underwater forests, found around most of the world’s coastlines. Kelp’s high iodine content gives it an important role in thyroid health. Check out the awesome Top 10 Superfoods for Exceptional Health infographic on the HealthPost blog
What is Kelp?
Kelp is the name of several species of large seaweed, some in huge underwater forests, found around most of the world’s coastlines. Kelp forests are recognized as one of the most productive and dynamic ecosystems on Earth. Some fast growing kelp plants increase by half a metre a day and reach 80 metres in length.
In New Zealand, these forests are protected and no kelp can be cut from the wild natural supplies in our waters. Instead it is collected by hand when it detaches from the kelp forests during storms.
Because it absorbs all the nutrients present in its ocean environment, all the minerals necessary for human life are present in kelp. Kelp contains vitamins, amino acids and around 70 minerals and trace elements, including good levels of zinc, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron and potassium. Importantly, kelp has high levels of iodine, the trace mineral necessary for a healthy functioning thyroid gland.
Kelp’s high iodine content gives it an important role in thyroid health. It is the specific medicinal herb for hypothyroidism, the condition of iodine deficiency. As a whole food source of iodine, kelp has a normalising effect on thyroid function.
Kelp’s high mineral content helps keep fingernails, hair and skin strong and healthy. The algin in kelp is a highly absorbent substance which helps remove toxins and heavy metals from the body.
Kelp can help improve immunity, energy levels, digestion and liver function, and is a highly nutritious condiment. It soothes the digestive tract and mucous membranes, balances fluid retention and blood sugar levels, has antioxidant properties and supports cardiovascular health.
Kelp Side Effects and Contraindications
- Safe when eaten as a food or condiment or taken as directed in supplement form.
- Consult your health practitioner if you have an existing thyroid condition.