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Liquid Kelp Health Benefits

By Karen Curinga

Liquid kelp is the extract derived from kelp, a brown algae found on ocean shore rocks in shallow water. This concentrated form of kelp is used as a nutritional supplement and, with the exception of high amounts of fiber, contains the same health-promoting properties of whole kelp. This remarkable sea vegetable is packed with nutrients and health benefits.

Boosts Thyroid Efficiency

Iodine, a substance found in liquid kelp, is necessary for the production of the thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland, a gland in the lower front of your neck. Because your body can't make iodine, your diet must provide it. Thyroid hormone helps your body use energy, stay warm and assists in proper brain, heart, muscle and other organ function. Insufficient thyroid hormone can result in health problems, which include enlarged thyroid gland or pregnancy-related issues. The recommended dietary allowance for iodine is 150 micrograms for adult men and women, 220 micrograms for pregnant women and 290 micrograms for breast-feeding women, according to the American Thyroid Association. Check the package label for iodine content and talk with your doctor if you have any questions.

Antioxidant Power

Carotenoids are pigment compounds that give plants their color. These carotenoids are packed with powerful antioxidants. According to Juan Peng, et al. in an article published in "Marine Drugs" in October 2011, brown seaweeds, such as kelp, contain fucoxanthin, a marine carotenoid that shows remarkable antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are potent substances that help protect your body against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage healthy cells.

Mineral-Rich Food

Although your body needs minerals in small amounts, they're vital to proper body function. A 3.5-ounce serving of kelp provides 168 milligrams of calcium, which is 17 percent of the daily value set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, based on a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. The same serving contains 121 milligrams of magnesium, which is 30 percent of the DV. Calcium helps build and protect bones and teeth, and magnesium is needed for proper chemical reactions.

Furnishes Folate

Folate is a member of the B-vitamin family. It's crucial for cell development and growth. Recommended for all women who are pregnant or of childbearing age, it helps protect against brain and spine birth defects if taken early in pregnancy. Folate is also linked to reduced risk for heart disease, colon cancer and breast cancer. A 3.5-ounce serving of kelp provides 180 micrograms of folate, which is 45 percent of the daily value set by the FDA.

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