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Kelp Benefits: A Health Booster from the Sea

You may know that vegetables are good for you, but you may not know that sea vegetables should also be included in a healthy diet. Kelp and seaweed are loaded with nutrients and are a source of essential vitamins. Kelp is a type of seaweed found in ocean waters all over the world. Seaweed is available in many varieties, including wakame and kombu, which are popular in Japanese cuisine, and dulse, which can be found on the coasts of Ireland and the state of Maine. Seaweed is an excellent source of minerals, but people with thyroid problems should seek medical advice before consuming kelp, which is high in iodine.

Vitamins

According to the European Food Information Council, seaweed is one of the few vegetables that contain vitamin B-12, which is important for a healthy nervous system. Wakame seaweed is a good source of vitamin A. Kelp and other types of seaweed contain measurable amounts of vitamins C, E and K, as well as niacin, folate and choline.

Minerals

Seaweed is high in minerals absorbed from seawater. One third of a cup of dulse contains 19 percent of the iron you need daily and wakame can provide 20 percent of your daily manganese needs. Dulse is also a source of potassium, and all seaweeds provide magnesium, iron and zinc among other minerals. Kelp is a good source of calcium, offering 17 percent of daily needs in one cup.

Iodine

Adequate amounts of iodine are essential for a healthy thyroid and during pregnancy. Iodine deficiency can lead to hypothyroidism and cause goiters. The only sources of iodine are dietary, and seaweed is a good source because seawater contains iodine. Information from the American Thyroid Association concludes that the cure for iodine deficiency and prevention of deficiency both come from ingesting adequate amounts of iodine.

Anti-Cancer Benefits

In 2005, scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, found that when kelp is included in the diet, levels of estradiol decreased. Elevated levels of estradiol have been linked to the formation of breast cancer, and the researchers found that dietary kelp lowers estradiol levels. They concluded that including kelp in a healthy diet may lower the risk of breast cancer, but caution that more research is needed.

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This article was written on 06 Jun 2017.