Have you considered sea vegetables in your diet? If not, then it's still not too late to start using kelp in your diet, especially if you want to boost brain health. Since kelp really doesn't taste that great, supplementation offers an easy solution to reap all of the health benefits without having to choke it down.
What is Kelp?
Kelp is a large brown seaweed that often grows in shallow, yet nutrient-rich, saltwater, usually near coastal fronts. This sea veggie is a staple in many Asian countries, both as food and for medicinal purposes, although it is slowly gaining popularity among Western countries. It is also considered as a superfood because of its variety of nutrients.
Kelp produces sodium alginate, a type of compound used as food thickener found in many foods like salad dressing and ice cream. Also, kelp can be taken in various forms:
- As a supplement
Whatever form you choose, one thing is for sure: kelp offers incredible nootropic benefits.
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Kelp is a Great Source of Nutrients for Your Brain and Body
Kelp, being a sea vegetable, is full of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and trace elements, thereby making it rich in nutrients. Its status as a superfood is because of its significant vitamins and mineral content such as, but not limited to:
- Calcium, wherein kelp is higher compared to most vegetables
- B vitamins like Niacin, Riboflavin, and Thiamin among others, all of which are essential for cellular metabolism and boosting energy levels
- Vitamin A
Aside from these, kelp has alginic acid, a compound that protects the body from absorbing heavy metals and radiation exposure.
Feed Your Brain with Iodine from Kelp to Boost Brain Health
According to the National Institutes of Health, kelp is among the best natural food sources of iodine.
Iodine is an important nutrient for growth and development of the brain. Since the human body does not produce it naturally, you will need to supply it well, with kelp being a great option. Sufficient supplies of iodine lead to better problem-solving abilities and overall cognitive performance, as evidenced by a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Otherwise, iodine deficiency leads to mental impairment and overall mental functioning, especially on children, thereby preventing a child from reaching his or her “full intellectual potential.”
Iodine is also essential in thyroid hormone production. The thyroid releases stimulating hormones that act as an immune defense for the nervous system, stimulate the growth of microglia cells, and reduce the risk of brain degeneration. Maintaining right amounts of thyroid hormones also ensures that the blood-brain barrier is functioning properly to prevent brain fog or brain fatigue.
Enjoy Anti-Inflammatory and Antioxidants Properties from Kelp to Keep Your Brain Healthy
Did you know that stress and inflammation are among the risk factors that contribute to chronic diseases? This is because free radicals, which you often get from daily living, freely roam around the brain and turn into oxidative stress. Allowing oxidative stress could weaken your immune system and make you more prone to sickness.
Thankfully, kelp can keep you healthy and away from any illnesses.
Kelp is rich in antioxidants, specifically flavonoids, carotenoids, and alkaloids, which fight disease-causing free radicals in your brain and body. It also contains vitamin C, zinc, and manganese, which combat oxidative stress.
Aside from this, kelp has fucoidan, a component found in kelp that works as an anti-inflammatory agent and improves blood cholesterol levels. Once inflammation is reduced, antioxidants also come into play and minimize your risk of getting sick or developing serious medical conditions.
Look Younger than Ever with the Help of Kelp
If you are looking for an anti-aging solution, kelp can also help. The iodine content effectively eliminates free radicals in your body, thus reducing the appearance of wrinkles and keeping you looking younger than your actual age.
Keep in mind that thyroid issues could accelerate not just the formation of wrinkles, but also the signs of aging. Through iodine, thyroid gland coils produce stimulating hormones that promote regeneration and detoxification, and stimulate removal of dead skin cells. This leads to a younger-looking you.
Boost Brain Development and Cognitive Performance with Kelp
When it comes to cognitive abilities and boosting brain performance, kelp is also helpful.
Kelp is rich in folate, which is crucial in fetal brain development. It can also help in improving verbal and memory performance. The Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience also revealed the connection between folate – and the lack of it – and depression. In fact, this B vitamin is needed by your body to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes positive moods.
This seaweed is also rich in iodine, which influences the production of thyroid stimulating hormones. When your thyroid is functioning well, neural transmitter production functions well, too. This means your brain and body get abundant supplies of dopamine, serotonin, and acetylcholine, which keep you happy, motivated, and in a positive mood. This minimizes the risk of depression as well.
Apart from influencing neurotransmitters in the brain, iodine is also an essential mineral when it comes to brain development. Iodine deficiency could reduce intellectual capacity and mental function, which you can prevent by getting enough iodine from kelp.
The magnesium content found in kelp could also reduce stress and protect your brain and body against those harmful effects. Kelp is also rich in lignans, which promote better cognitive performance, especially for post-menopausal women.
Kelp Professional Recommendation
The “recommended amount” for kelp supplementation often depends on the manufacturer. Some supplements will require once a day while others recommend twice or thrice everyday, with 200 to 400 milligrams.
Nonetheless, it is best to keep supplementation on an as needed basis, typically 1-2x per day. Some supplements can contain arsenic so it is important to trust the source. Check the maximum dosage of iodine to make sure you are within limit of 150 mcg or 0.15mg. A single kelp supplement is also required to provide up to maximum of 225mcg of iodine.
For general therapeutic purposes, two teaspoons of kelp supplement in liquid form is acceptable. It is also advised not to take kelp supplements continuously to avoid iodine overdose. Take a break, usually one to two weeks, and then start drinking again. More importantly, observe the effects on your body and discontinue use in case of nausea, gut or stomach issues, and vomiting.
Kelp Side Effects
Whether you take kelp in raw form or as a drink powder, adding kelp in your daily diet is a good idea. Still, this doesn’t mean you should go overboard.
Too much kelp, whether in supplement or raw form, not only results in unwanted side effects like diarrhea and reduced blood sugar levels, but also leads to too much iodine in the body. When this happens, it could over-stimulate the thyroid and cause unwanted side effects such as fatigue, mood issues, poor concentration, poor memory, and brain fog. This is why those with hyperthyroidism are not advised to add more kelp in their diet.
Kelp is a sea vegetable, so there is a possibility that it at one point absorbed harmful metals like lead, arsenic, or cadmium, which you don’t want to be transferred to your body. Make sure you go for certified organic versions of kelp and check the packaging and see if it says kelp was tested for arsenic for added protection.
Recap of Kelp For Nutritional Benefit
In a nutshell, kelp is one of the many superfoods you need to feed your body because of the nutrients it can provide. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that reduce inflammation and prevent free radicals from taking over your brain. Kelp also offers anti-aging benefits by minimizing symptoms of aging such as wrinkles.
More importantly, kelp is a great source of iodine, which plays a crucial role in many brain functions like boosting cognitive performance, minimizing risk of depression, and keeping your brain healthy and functioning.
Where can I buy kelp supplements?
Kelp supplements are available in the supplements aisle in many health food stores. If you prefer to shop online, you can score a good deal from online stores like Amazon or Walgreens. You may also buy directly from the supplement’s manufacturer to save a few dollars.
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