Kelp: Superfood From the Sea

Kelp: Superfood From the Sea

Kelp is a seaweed that grows in shallow and nutrient-rich colder waters all around the globe. It relies on the sunlight for development and it absorbs a vast amount of trace minerals from the salt water. Sea kelp is naturally high in vitamin A, B1, B2, C, D, and E, as well as many minerals such as zinc, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and calcium. It's no wonder this green sea plant is considered to be a powerful superfood.

Many people ingest kelp in a powder form as it tastes far better and this strategy helps to avoid a taste bud rebellion. Please bear in mind when reading this article that kelp is not meant to replace conventional medicine and it should be used as nutritious food or supplement option.

The role of iodine

Iodine is a trace element that is vital for weight loss because it has an active role in the operation of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland controls your metabolism and iodine combines with the amino acid ‘tyrosine’ to make T3 and T4. These two important thyroid hormones are a major catalyst for increasing your metabolism and iodine from kelp can help to facilitate this process.  Therefore iodine levels are associated with either weight loss or weight gain.

A study from Newcastle University postulated that the fiber found in sea kelp can significantly decrease fat absorption within the body and this was compared to commercial slimming treatments. The iodine that is found in kelp can also remove free radicals that accelerate the aging process.

Active components of kelp

Alginic acid: This interacts with the gastric lining in the stomach to form a gel and this protects the lining from hydrochloric acid and pepsins. It also washes some toxins and poisons from the body. A Korean study in 2008 reported that eating kelp lowered blood sugar levels in a cohort of type 2 diabetic patients. This was attributed to alginic acid forming a gel in the stomach and this mechanism slows down the absorption of carbohydrates which improves insulin sensitivity.

Polysaccharides: The polysaccharides found in kelp help to eliminate constipation and improve the function of the digestive system. Specifically ‘fucoidan’ which is a dietary fiber improves the resistance to bacterial and viral infections; it also lowers cholesterol levels and act as an anticoagulant.  Fucoidan also lowers glucose absorption within the blood stream.

Inulin: This compound helps to remove toxins and poisons from the body and lowers the degree of glucose absorption in the blood and increases cell sensitivity to insulin. A Russian study researched the impact of kelp and all of its active ingredients on health. From their research it was discovered that kelp had the following benefits on the human body:

  • It improves metabolism of fats, carbs and proteins
  • It reduces blood glucose levels, increase insulin sensitivity and helps to prevent type 2 diabetes
  • It reduces blood viscosity and lowers blood pressure
  • It improves blood circulation throughout the arteries
  • Reduced bad cholesterol levels in the blood and can boost the good cholesterols
  • Detoxifies the liver and kidneys.