Kelp, or more commonly, seaweed, is found in kelp forests in the ocean where the water is shallow and clear. It is an algae that grows underwater and is famous for its ability to spread. Kelp grows 20 inches a day and can reach 200 feet long. It grows in water that is cooler than 68 degrees F.
Though it is commonly called seaweed, the official name for this algae is kelp. Kelp may be found in kelp forests, in shallow, clear parts of the ocean. The water needs to be below 68 degrees F. Kelp multiples and spreads easily, growing 20 inches or more in a single day, and at times reaching over 200 feet long!
In most kelp, the body or thallus consists of flat or leaf-like structures known as blades. Blades come from elongated stem-like structures called stipes. A root-like structure, called the holdfast, anchors the kelp to the floor of the ocean. In American species gas-filled bladders form at the base of blades, and keep the kelp blades close to the surface, holding up the leaves by the gas in them.
You can buy Kelp as a capsule, as kelp powder, or as the dried plant. It can be used as flavoring in drinks or as a substitute for salt. Many people add kelp to their stir fries, beans, soups, stews, or cook it with grains.
Kelp contains over 70 enzymes, proteins, vitamins, minerals, growth hormones, and trace elements. These include calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and especially iodine. Wikipedia reports that 100 grams of kelp contains .6 grams of sugars, .6 grams of fat, 1.3 grams of fiber, 1.7 grams off protein, 9.6 grams of carbohydrates, and anywhere from 3% to 45% of the daily minimum requirements for 13 other minerals and vitamins.
Lets examine a few of the many health benefits of kelp. Kelp can increase energy in the body and help it fight disease. Kelp helps the body fight heart disease, some types of cancer, and it suppresses AIDS. It has helped improve the function of the liver and relieve the pain of arthritis.
Kelp helps control body weight because it stimulates metabolism. Those suffering from problems do to an inactive thyroid should eat kelp because of the iodine. Kelp also deals with problems of bowel gas, constipation, and poor digestion.
Kelp helps maintain mucous membranes and to lower cholesterol levels. It kills herpes virus and even helps to reduce hair loss. The ash of kelp is used in glass production and making soap. Alginate, which is a carbohydrate which comes from kelp, is an effective thickener used in making ice cream, salad dressing, toothpaste, and jelly. Kelp is even used as one ingredient in exotic dog food.
Vraic is a fertilizer made from kelp. In the far east, some types of kelp are considered delicacies.
A daily intake of kelp in capsule or sprinkled on food as powder will help regular the bodys systems and provide needed vitamins and minerals. You will be benefited from making kelp a regular part of your diet.