Kelp, also known as brown algae, is an herb that comes from deep under the sea. It is, essentially, seaweed that thrives on sunlight and takes in the host of nutrients and minerals present in the water around it. This makes kelp an interesting and necessary supplement for those seeking to adopt a healthier lifestyle; indeed kelp is believed to have many benefits and serves a multitude of purposes.
Kelp is the number one herb for supplementing iodine. And being that it is a natural source of iodine it is considered to be safer and better for the body than chemical synthetics. Superstars like vitamin C, iron and calcium are always in the news and well-known for their health benefits, while iodine has been essentially ignored. But we need iodine for efficient thyroid and pituitary function. The thyroid, located in the area of the throat, is responsible for regulating metabolism and body temperature. We know that a strong metabolism is important for weight control, and so it is important for those seeking to maintain a healthy weight, or those hoping to lose a few pounds, to add kelp to the list of things that we know are beneficial to weight management: drinking lots of water, exercising on most days and incorporating a low-fat, low-calorie diet.
And adding kelp to that list will help in other ways too. As a natural diuretic, kelp is good for those troubled by water weight. Diuretics clean out the system and assist in shedding water and the toxins in the system. Kelp has other benefits as well. Kelp has been used for decades for strengthening nails and supporting hair growth. Some like to use kelp to hasten the buildup of the nail bed especially after the removal of acrylic nails, when the natural nail bed is seriously damaged. Kelp, taken orally, along with an aggressive regimen of topical protein applied to the nails supports the regeneration of the nails. Kelp is also used to stimulate hair growth as it helps to grow the hair stronger and thicker. It is because of kelp’s support of the pituitary gland and the thyroid that makes it the superhero of supplements for nail and hair health.
Kelp is more than capable as an adequate daily women’s vitamin because it is packed with other necessary nutrients such as iron, calcium and potassium. Since these are so necessary, and lost, during monthly cycles, pregnancy or lactation, women should especially take note of all the things that kelp has to offer. Because it has a natural antibiotic synthesized into it, kelp assists the body in fighting off infection, so it is especially helpful during cold and flu season, or for those who are susceptible to sinus congestion due to allergies or who have a lowered immune system. The magnesium and iron in kelp is beneficial to a healthy bloodstream as it creates a friendly environment for the growth of red blood cells. This gives us energy and helps to maintain homeostasis.
Many people are avoiding sodium in their diets, and for good reason. Sodium is harmful in a variety of ways as it is associated with heart disease and water-weight gain. But when salt first became available for seasoning food right at the table, manufacturers added iodine as a health benefit. For years kelp stayed hidden in the closet while people got their necessary iodine from table salt. But now that salt is being avoided, iodine is not as readily available and so kelp is becoming more and more favored as a healthy source of iodine. Vegetarians, and especially vegans who are avoiding dairy and animal products should be taking kelp since, healthy as these diets are, they are lacking in certain minerals and nutrients necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Kelp comes in tablet form or can be made into a tea. It can also be found in seaweed products offered in health food stores for making salads, soups and other recipes calling for dark, leafy greens.