Kelp Seaweed: Properties, Benefits and Contraindications
Are you wondering what kelp algae is? Kelp is a type of algae that grows in marine forests, especially on the Patagonian coast, at depths that are not too deep, giving it a characteristic color between green and brown. Due to its high nutritional content, it is considered a superfood and its consumption is widespread in Asian countries. It is increasingly found in health food stores, supermarkets or as a main ingredient in gourmet recipes. It comes from the Laminaria family and has many beneficial properties for the body, although in some cases it may be contraindicated.
The following oneHOWTO article tells you everything you need to know about the kelp seaweed: Properties, benefits and contraindications.
Properties of the kelp seaweed
Its rich composition gives kelp seaweed its special properties. While it has an intense marine flavor, it contains a number of beneficial properties when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
- It is rich in fiber, which gives it satiating properties associated with a mild laxative effect.
- It contains large amounts of polyphenols and vitamins E and C, which make it a powerful natural antioxidant. To these properties is added the ability to speed up the metabolism, favoring thermogenesis.
- It is a source of important minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and especially iodine, essential micronutrients for our body.
- In its particular composition, it is also worth highlighting its content of vegetable protein, which makes it a food rich in protein.
- It has detoxifying properties.
- It is believed that kelp seaweed may also be a natural antibiotic due to its antibacterial properties.
- It has anticoagulant properties that promote proper blood flow.
In addition to kelp, there are many other seaweeds that you can include in your diet to take advantage of their many benefits, such as wakame. This is a type of seaweed that can be used in a variety of dishes. It has a slight sea flavor that is not too overbearing. Read this other article on how to prepare a Wakame seaweed salad to learn new, exciting recipes for your salads with an Asian twist.
Benefits of kelp seaweed
The composition and properties of kelp seaweed provide a number of benefits that make it a wholesome and healthy food, unless there is a contraindication that advises against its consumption. Among its main advantages are.
- It is a good ally in weight loss, mainly due to its high fiber content and the presence of alginates, a special type of fiber that, can help reduce fat absorption in the body.
- It promotes good digestion and intestinal transit, avoiding constipation problems and fluid retention.
- Thanks to its minerals, it is an effective means of preventing diseases such as anemia (due to the presence of iron) and osteoporosis, since its calcium helps keep bones in good condition.
- Its antioxidant capacity favors the good condition of the whole body, since it slows down the action of free radicals that cause aging at the cellular level. We must not forget that kelp seaweed is not only consumed as food, but is also a component of many cosmetic skin care products.
- The iodine contained in it contributes to the regulation of the endocrine system, especially the thyroid gland, which is beneficial in the case of hypothyroidism.
- It protects the immune system and is effective in preventing and relieving colds, flu and nasal congestion.
How to eat kelp seaweed
Many dietary supplements contain kelp seaweed, the use of which should be discussed with a doctor or pharmacist before consumption. You can also include it in your diet in the following ways:
- You can find it in powder form to add directly to vegetable juices and smoothies, which are very popular in weight loss diets, or to enrich healthy salads, broths, or rice dishes. It is also often used as a seasoning instead of salt.
- You can also consume this superfood raw, adding it to salads or using its long leaves to prepare Asian dishes like sushi.
- You can also find kelp seaweed in dried form in specialty stores. To eat it, you just need to rehydrate it by boiling it for a few minutes. Then you can use it in different preparations: sautéed, with oil and vinegar (like any other vegetable) or as a special vegetable spaghetti, for example.
There are many ways you can reduce the pasta you normally use by half and replace it with vegetables, or omit the pasta altogether. Read this other article on replacing pasta with vegetables to learn more.
Contraindications of the kelp seaweed
The main problem with kelp seaweed is their high iodine content, so their consumption should always be moderate and avoided in certain cases:
- People with hyperthyroidism should not consume it in any case.
- It is also not advisable for pregnant or breastfeeding women to consume it as a precaution.
- If you are taking a certain medication, especially if it is a medication with anticoagulant effects, the consumption of kelp seaweed is not recommended. In these cases, prior medical consultation is particularly important.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland secretes less thyroid hormone than the body needs, causing disturbances in your metabolism. This problem is noticeable through various symptoms such as weight gain or fatigue. Continue reading this other article to learn more about hypothyroidism and how you can treat it naturally.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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- Science Direct, Food Chemistry (2014). The modulation of pancreatic lipase activity by alginates.