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Kelp is a highly nutritious underwater "plant" (although it has no roots). Although it is often referred to as "seaweed" it actually belongs to a different classification of plant.
This sea vegetable is a concentrated source of minerals, including iodine, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron. The iodine found in this sea vegetable is a mineral that assists in making thyroid hormones, which are necessary for maintaining normal metabolism (or functioning) in all cells of the body. This nutrient-dense food also includes vitamins C, B1, B2, and B12. The entire plant should be consumed, although it usually comes in powdered or granular form (sometimes with a blend with other herbs, such as in essiac). It is one of the ingredients in eight herb essiac tea. The sea vegetable is generally available in the forms of a tea, tincture, or capsules.
Due to the high iodine content (which helps promote healthy thyroid function) this plant can be used as a treatment for hyperthyroidism. Preliminary tests show that kelp may be effective in the supplemental treatment of various tumors, although these claims have yet to be substantiated.
Past cultural studies of diets that include the sea vegetable have determined a link between intake of this plant and: a lower breast cancer rate, less obesity, reduced risk of heart disease, reduced rheumatism and arthritis, lower blood pressure, less thyroid disease, less constipation and gastro-intestinal ailments and less infectious disease. The sea vegetable provides these benefits because it offers nutritional support to the nervous system and heart in the form of iodine, vitamins, minerals and cell salts.
The plant is also known for the following properties: it's antibacterial, an antioxidant, a diuretic, an emollient, an endocrine tonic, and an expectorant. Thyroid health, which improves when kelp is taken, is an important component of body weight regulation. The plant, therefore, may help reduce one major possible cause of obesity.
Iodine is essential for the proper regulation of energy through its effect on metabolism. The plant not only absorbs iodine from seawater, it also absorbs a wide variety of essential nutrients. These nutrients include protein, essential fatty acid, carbohydrates, fiber, trace elements, sodium and potassium salts, and a variety of other chemicals, such as alginic acid. The trace mineral content of this substance is among the highest of any known single source, which means that it is a highly nutrient-dense food. By adding it to the diet, the diet becomes significantly more nutritious.