Kelp Benefits: Boost Your Health With Seaweed

Medically Reviewed on 7/14/2022
Kelp Benefits: Boost Your Health With Seaweed
Kelp is rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, with health benefits ranging from weight maintenance to disease prevention

Kelp is a type of seaweed that grows in shallow, nutrient-rich saltwater near coastal areas.

A staple in many Asian cuisines, kelp differs in flavor and color depending on where it is found.

Kelp is rich in nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, with health benefits ranging from weight maintenance to disease prevention.

What is the nutritional value of kelp?

Table: Nutrients in 1-ounce serving of dried kelp
Nutrient Amount
Calories 68
Protein 5 grams
Fat 1 gram
Carbohydrates 11 grams
Fiber 0 gram
Sugar 0 gram

Besides iodine and iron, kelp is a rich source of:

  • Calcium: 13% of the recommended daily value
  • Folate: 45% of the recommended daily value
  • Magnesium: 29% of the recommended daily value
  • Vitamin K: 55% of the recommended daily value
  • Vitamin A: 13 % of the recommended daily value
  • Pantothenic acid: 13% of the recommended daily value

8 health benefits of kelp

Kelp contains 10 times as many minerals as plants that are grown in the soil and has several proven health benefits:

1. Nutrient-dense

Kelp is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and magnesium, which play vital roles in the optimal functioning of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs.

Vitamin K helps build strong bones and produces some of the proteins crucial to blood clot formation. Vitamin A is essential for the eyes, immune system, and reproductive organs.

2. Regulates thyroid function

According to the National Institutes of Health, seaweed is one of the best natural food sources of iodine, an essential component in thyroid hormone production. Low levels of iodine in the body can result in disrupted metabolism, thyroid gland enlargement, and other thyroid disorders.

3. Helps control blood sugar levels

Kelp contains a mineral called vanadium that may help regulate blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes.

4. Aids in weight management

Kelp is low in calories and fat as well as natural fiber, which can help with weight loss. Animal studies have suggested that fucoxanthin found in kelp may help increase the production of omega-3 fatty acids and the protein involved in fat metabolism. However, research is limited.

5. Prevents anemia

Kelp is moderately high in iron, which is necessary to prevent iron deficiency anemia. Menstruating women are especially at risk of anemia, which can cause symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, and dizziness.

6. Supports bone health

Many researchers claim that kelp is a plant-based source of calcium and is an even better source of calcium than most vegetables, including kale. For most adults, the recommended dietary allowance of calcium is 1,000 mg per day, and raw kelp contains 168 mg per 100-gram serving. 

7. Has disease-fighting properties

Dietary fiber, peptides, antioxidants, and minerals in kelp reduce the markers of heart disease, protect cells from oxidative stress, reduce inflammation in the blood vessels, and prevent high blood pressure.

8. Enhances longevity

Kelp is a dietary staple in Japan and is speculated to be a contributing factor in the above-average life spans of Japanese people.


Foods That Aren't as Healthy as You Think See Slideshow

What are the potential side effects of kelp?

Kelp contains heavy metals such as aluminum, cadmium, arsenic, and lead. Although heavy metals in kelp are usually below toxic levels, exposure can be a concern for some people.

Most people will never consume kelp enough to cause a problem, but excess consumption can lead to:

How to use kelp

Kelp is available fresh (long, thick strands with a greenish color) or frozen, or in the form of dried kelp and kelp noodles. Natural kelp can be eaten raw, pickled, cooked, or in the form of powder and supplements.

Here are some ways you can add kelp to your diet:

  • Sautee, steam, or boil kelp and then add to miso soup.
  • Combine kelp noodles with shredded vegetables to make a salad.
  • Make pad thai using kelp noodles instead of traditional noodles.
  • Make kelp salad by mixing water, dried kelp, carrots, cucumbers, and dressing.
  • Sprinkle dried kelp flakes onto foods as a seasoning.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Medically Reviewed on 7/14/2022
Image Source: iStock image

Brunilda Nazario. Health Benefits of Kelp. WebMD:

5 Kelp Benefits for Your Health. GoodNet:

What Are The Benefits Of Kelp Powder. Organic Facts: