Surprising Health Benefits Of Eating Kelp

Kelp is a type of brown seaweed that grows in nutrient-rich saltwater along the coastlines. Often used as a key ingredient in sushi, kelp is full of vitamins and minerals and is linked to a number of important health benefits (via Shape). For instance, kelp can help regulate your blood sugar levels. That's because kelp is a great source of vanadium, a mineral that can naturally lower your blood sugar and stabilize your blood glucose levels. As a result, eating kelp may help lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Kelp can also help support and maintain bone health. That's because kelp is rich in calcium and vitamins A, K, and B12. "Vitamin K is [particularly] important for bone metabolism and works with calcium and vitamin D to help maintain bone health," Maya Feller, a registered dietitian in Brooklyn, New York, told Shape. In addition, eating kelp may help reduce your risk of cancer. Kelp is full of antioxidants like vitamin C and polyphenols, which can help fight off oxidative stress and protect your cells against disease-carrying free radicals. This can help protect your body from cellular damage and lower your risk of developing cancer.

Ways to eat kelp

If you're wondering how you can add more kelp to your everyday diet, look no further. Although kelp can be consumed as a supplement, it is best to absorb its nutrients straight from the source (via Healthline). Sold dried or fresh, kelp is a versatile ingredient that can be used to flavor a number of tasty and nutrient-rich dishes and beverages. Whether cooked or raw, kelp can be added to soups, stir-fry dishes, salads, smoothies, and juices.

Kelp can also be turned into kelp noodles, used as a seasoning, or eaten plain and dry as a snack. In addition, kelp pairs well with other vegetables and can be used to enhance the flavor of beans. "Beans without kelp taste earthy, [but] with kelp there is a hint of brine," Feller told Shape. Adding a few dried sheets of kelp to a pot of beans can help improve both the flavor and texture of white beans and kidney beans.