Top 3 Health Benefits of Eating Kelp

Top 3 Health Benefits of Kelp

Kelp, a species of seaweed, is uncommon in Western diets, but the benefits of kelp might surprise you. Kelp is awesome. Nutritionally, the only thing kelp isn’t good for is gaining weight. But that’s not all! Kelp’s boons aren’t just restricted to the world of nutrition. Kelp has wide-ranging applications. Its fundamental purpose (or ecological niche, for you academics) is at the bottom of the food chain, sustaining diverse underwater ecosystems. Interestingly, a 2008 study from England even suggested that kelp may be a viable source of renewable energy. While we’re going to talk specifically about the health benefits of eating kelp, we’ll offer one major benefit that is unrelated to diet

Benefit 1: Kelp is sustainable

Because, according to Wikipedia, kelp “can grow as fast as half a meter a day,” we can eat plenty of it and be confident that we aren’t disrupting any ecosystems. Quite simply, when kelp is harvested, more kelp will grow in its place, so it actually benefits kelp and the whole underwater ecosystem.

So by eating kelp, you’re getting more than the nutritional benefits we’ll discuss below. You’re getting the knowledge and satisfaction that you are preserving the environment. In fact, kelp may be one of the most sustainable plants to incorporate in your diet. If you’re concerned with sustainability, perhaps you already eat a vegetarian or vegan diet to minimize the negative externalities of your eating habits. But the more kelp you eat, the more green your diet will be.

Environmental impact may or may not be a factor in your dietary decisions, but it’s a clear reason why eating kelp is good. We’re now going to take a look at the two biggest nutritional benefits of kelp. 

Benefit 2: Kelp is a great source of vitamins and minerals

Think about it like this: you know vegetables are good for you, especially when you eat a wide and colorful variety of them. Kelp grows in a different environment than most of the land-dwelling plants we typically think of when we think of vegetables. Since kelp grows in a radically different environment (i.e. shallow saltwater oceans), it adds another dimension of variety to the vegetables in your diet.

Kelp is an especially good source of magnesium, vitamin K, and folate. It also contains a considerable amount of iodine, sodium, phosphorous, calcium, iron, and manganese. To get a substantial portion of kelp’s copious micronutrients, you’ll need to eat a lot of it. You’ll want to cook it down in a pot or pan and season it.

Because it has such high amounts of vitamins and minerals, kelp is sometimes packaged and sold as a nutritional supplement, but we do not recommend taking a kelp supplement.

Why? Because kelp supplements have been shown to increase urinary arsenic levels. A typical kelp supplement probably won’t flood your body with arsenic — we highly doubt the arsenic levels could approach toxicity even if you were slamming entire bottles of kelp veggie caps. Still, there’s no proven benefit of taking kelp supplements, so the risk-reward ratio of taking them is dismally high.

Kelp is extremely useful for thyroid hormone regulation. Kelp is extremely high in calcium, therefore is very necessary for maintaining bone health. Kelp is one of the best post-workout diets as it has all the vital vitamins and minerals the body needs to recovery post-workout and help to build muscle faster. Kelp is also known to decrease the probability of cancer. Kelp has been proven to boost immunity. Kelp is used by many cosmetic companies as a skincare supplement. Kelp also helps to reduce inflammation in injured tissues and joints. Those suffering from arthritis may benefit from having a kelp diet. Kelp is also used as a natural cleanser, as it cleans the system from harmful toxins.

Benefit 3: Kelp aids weight loss

Kelp, like most leafy greens (underwater or not), is perfect to incorporate in a weight loss diet. When you’re dieting, you want to limit calories. Note that kelp contains only 43 calories in a 100 g serving! Eat enough of it, and it’ll fill you up for minimal caloric intake. Dried kelp makes a great snack any time, and common weight loss doctrine supports eating multiple, smaller snacks spaced evenly throughout the day. To eat five meals a day, you’ll need portable, non-refrigerated foods. Dried kelp is perfect.

Perhaps a more important part than its low caloric density is that kelp is nutrient-dense. When you’re limiting calories on a weight loss diet, every calorie counts, even if you aren’t counting calories. You need to be sure to get adequate micronutrients through foods like kelp, i.e. plant foods such as vegetables, nuts, and legumes, because they are all-natural, so they pack a huge nutritional punch.

Eat some kelp next time you’re trying to lose weight, but make sure to keep your net calories in a deficit! If you eat enough kelp, you’re sure to fill up on fewer calories, so kelp is sure to help you eat fewer calories than you burn each day.


These are just three of the benefits of kelp, but they’re the most significant benefits. Just to recap, let’s summarize our list the top 3 benefits of Kelp are Sustainability, Vitamins and Minerals, and Weight Loss.

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