In Diet Tips
May I Kelp You?
On 26, May 2018 | In Diet Tips | By Gaetana
By Gaetana Korbin
Did you know that almost all of the Earth’s elements are found in sea water? It is no wonder that kelp, a type of plant from the sea, is brimming with health-supporting compounds. With a vitamin profile that includes A,B1,B2,C,D,E, and K, some foodies are calling kelp ‘the new kale’! And with a roster of minerals like zinc, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, calcium and iodine, others are praising it as a ‘superfood’.
As new and exciting as this all sounds, rhetorically speaking, how old is seaweed? Ya…that’s what I thought. Seaweed wasn’t born yesterday and its health benefits have been known since ancient times. It is believed kelp appeared in the Miocene period which is about 23 million years ago. But as the saying goes, “everything old is new again”!
Iodine is a fascinating component of seaweed. It was widely used, medicinally, in the 1900’s to cure a myriad of ailments. Trace amounts of iodine are required by the human body for normal growth and development. Some parts of the body that contain iodine are the thyroid gland, salivary glands, breasts, ovaries, cerebral spinal fluid and a part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which is associated with Parkinson’s Disease. Iodine plays a role in metabolizing fat, and has been used to treat goiter (enlarged thyroid) since ancient times. Healthy iodine levels are linked to intelligence, proper fetal development, male and female reproductive health and skin health.
People with underlying thyroid disease can experience adverse effects of too much iodine. Thyroid dysfunction can be a complex issue. If you have a clinical thyroid condition, or suspect that you do, always discuss your health choices with a physician.
With this in mind, when kelp is eaten as food, not in a concentrated supplement form, the beneficial iodine content is considered a trace mineral and is generally metabolized slowly and gently by the body. And when you include food sources of SELENIUM, with kelp, this can protect against the effects of iodine toxicity. Iodine and selenium work together. Some food sources of selenium are: brazil nuts, shiitake and white mushrooms, brown rice, oats, halibut, eggs and sunflower seeds. It always comes down to a balanced diet with lots of variety and everything in moderation.
Kelp also provides the body with antioxidants which protect us from the premature-aging ravages of free radicals. Dietary kelp may also reduce swelling, water retention, and when cooked with beans, it can even reduce gas and bloating! High consumption of raw cruciferous veggies like kale and cabbage can actually block your body from using the iodine that it needs. This is how a neck goiter (enlarged thyroid) can develop. The simple addition of adding kelp to your vegetable regimen can help with this imbalance. Humans eat a lot of land products. Our soil can become depleted of vital nutrients. Kelp from the sea is an ideal way to ensure we are getting the vitamins and minerals we need.
Another way to experience the power of iodine is in the bath! A relaxing soak in a brown seaweed called Bladderwrack has many benefits. With antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, bladderwrack may help with wound healing and irritated skin. It can detoxify the body by pulling heavy metals from the tissues. It may also help rid the body of environmental toxins like bromide (found in plant pesticides), flouride (found in drinking water) and chlorine (found in cleaning agents). Rich in antioxidants, bladderwrack may improve skin elasticity, relieves the feeling of sore joints and leaves skin beautifully soft and smooth. It’s like a seaside spa vacation in your own bathtub!
Gaetana Korbin holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of British Columbia. With two years of formal Nutrition Studies at CSNN in Vancouver and eighteen years of feeding her family, she loves to share her nutrition knowledge, garnered form decades of studies and research.
Disclaimer: This is written for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Content should not be considered a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.