Why You May Want to Toss Some Kelp in Your Salad

By: Joy Stephenson-Laws, J.D., Founder

 

Salads are are so easy to make! It is a great way to get plenty of nutrient-rich leafy greens, veggies and healthy fats such as avocado in just one dish.

But I have to admit - sometimes salads can get boring if I constantly use the same ingredients. So I am always motivated to find ways to spruce up my salad. And recently, I came across kelp.

Basically, kelp is a type of seaweed. Hear me out before you turn your nose up! Kelp (like nori) is an edible seaweed (also called sea veggie) and is popular in Asian cuisine. Kombu is a type of kelp commonly used in Japanese cooking (specifically for making broth).

(Seaweed is a red, green or brown marine algae. Kelp is a brown algae that  reportedly grow up to 18 inches per day!).

Most likely, the kelp you will find in your local grocery store will be dried. To make a kelp salad such as this one, simply soak the kelp in warm water to rehydrate it. It’s salty, fresh taste will surely shake up your everyday salad. You can also break up and sprinkle dried kelp over fresh greens or buy it in powdered form and use it like a spice.

You can also make a vegetable stir fry with kelp noodles, and there is even kelp jerky!

There are also plenty of kelp supplements out on the market, so there’s got to be something to this edible seaweed. After doing some research, I can see why kelp is often referred to as a “sea veggie.” Kelp is very nutrient-dense. In fact, it’s so rich in nutrients that some even classify kelp as a superfood.

Kelp is very rich in the mineral iodine.

The body needs iodine for some of its most fundamental functions. For example, iodine can make the difference between a healthy child and one with intellectual disabilities, or between a sluggish, obese person and a lean, vibrant one.

Iodine is important, because it’s used to make two hormones: T4 (storage thyroid hormone) and T3 (active thyroid hormone). These are both made in the thyroid gland, located in the neck. “Low” thyroid, or hypothyroidism, can cause problems including fatigue and a slowed metabolism. Some people can develop hypothyroidism from an iodine deficiency. No iodine, no thyroid hormones.

Kelp also contains the mineral magnesium.

This mineral helps regulate blood pressure, contributes to bone metabolism and has antioxidant functions. Magnesium is also great for pain management. Many people use magnesium as a safe alternative to ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Magnesium may even help alleviate leg cramps women may experience during pregnancy.

Kelp is a good source of iron.

Iron is an essential component of many proteins and enzymes. It is vital in the formation of red blood cells and lean muscle. If you are low in iron, you may find that you feel very tired.

Kelp contains calcium.

You probably know that this mineral is essential for strong, healthy bones and teeth. Did you know this mineral may also decrease your risk for colorectal cancer? Recent studies confirm that high calcium intake is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer among both men and women. Maintaining the correct levels of calcium in your system could also reduce your risk of breast cancer as well.

In addition to this, calcium is needed for many vital body processes such as muscle contraction, blood clotting, hormone release, neurotransmitters and more.

Kelp is a source of the mineral sulfur.

Sulfur is a mineral you may not know much about (it’s not as popular or as commonly talked about like the minerals calcium and iron). But sulfur is the third most abundant mineral in your body (after calcium and phosphorus).

There are many reasons you should know and care about sulfur. Being so abundant in your body, it has many functions. Sulfur is required for the proper structure and biological activity of enzymes. It also helps detoxify the body from certain foreign substances and pharmacological drugs.

(Other dietary sources of sulfur include garlic, onion, broccoli and eggs).

Kelp also contains additional vitamins and minerals that are very critical to our health and wellness such as choline, vitamin A, manganese, zinc, certain B vitamins and more.

Warnings with Kelp?

If you are interested in taking a kelp supplement, it is imperative to seek the advice of a competent healthcare professional firsrt. People with thyroid issues may not be able to take kelp supplements due to the high iodine content.

“People with thyroid issues should not have more than an average daily recommended intake of 158 to 175 micrograms of kelp per day,” according to a doctor referenced in this Cleveland Clinic report.

“The concentration of kelp in foods is generally not enough to cause a problem, but a kelp capsule can contain as much as 500 micrograms.”

Pregnant women also have to be mindful.

The use of seaweed supplements is not recommended for pregnant women, owing to the variability and excessive iodine content of seaweeds, with kelp-based products being of particular concern,” reports the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Since kelp is seaweed and comes from the sea, there are some concerns that it may contain toxic heavy metals such as mercury. These are similar to the concerns that people may have with consuming fish.

As with any food, you should eat kelp in moderation. And if you are concerned that you may have a toxic build up of heavy metals in your body, take the pH toxins test.

Finally, if you have any existing health issues, are currently taking any medications or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is highly advised to consult your doctor about supplements and foods you are including in your diet and proactive healthcare routine.

Enjoy your healthy life!

 

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.

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