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Atlantic Kelp

Kelp are giant seaweeds , particularly a type of brown algae , belonging to the class Phaeophyceae, classified under the order Laminariales . About 300 genera of Atlantic Kelp are found in nature, some of which are very long and form kelp forests .

Plantations of Kelp grow underwater and are addressed as forests . They mainly grow in the in shallow oceans and seas. The fact that they are so highly nutritious comes from the fact that they need nutrient-rich water below about 20 °C to sustain themselves. Atlantic Kelp is known for its prolific growth; For e.g. The species belonging to the genus Macrocystis and Nereocystis grow up to half a meter a day, finally reaching 30 to 80 m in height.

Nutritional Value

Every 100g of Kelp contains about 180kj of calories. They are found to contain high amount of carbohydrates followed by sugars, dietary fibers and fat. Proteins also form a considerable part of their nutrient value along with other vitamins like Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin,Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, Folate and Vitamin C. It also consists of minerals like Magnesium, Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Sodium and Zinc in high content.

Uses and Health Benefits

Some species of kelp found in the Pacific region, called Kombu forms an imperative ingredient of Japanese cuisines. Kombu is extensively employed to add flavor to broths as well as stews. Many a times it is used as a savory garnish for rice and related dishes. At other places it is also used as a vegetable and a basic part of some popular snacks, like tsukudani . Kombu is also used to soften the beans while cooking bean stew. This specie of Kelp is extremely helpful in the conversion of indigestible sugars, thereby causing a reduction of flatulence.

It is known to contain high amount of iodine which is extensively used to treat goiter. Just recently, in 2010 some researchers of the University of Newcastle learnt about the presence of a fibrous material called algenate in sea kelp which helped in the prevention of fat absorption. It has been found to be more be more beneficial than most over-the-counter slimming treatments of curing obesity.


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Iodine Helps Kelp Fight Free Radicals and May Aid Humans, Too Newswise, Retrieved on July 8, 2008.