Raw Food Spotlight on Kelp
– by Christie Fischer
Also known as brown algae, kelp is a seaweed that has been called the “miracle plant” — thanks to its healing and therapeutic properties, as well as its ability to perform incredible acts of wellness. Containing almost every mineral and trace mineral necessary for human existence, sprinkling even the smallest amount of kelp on food can provide your body with salt and minerals important to the function of your body.
Kelp’s most obvious and prevalent mineral is iodine, as kelp comes from the sea and so does iodine. But did you know that due to all the other nutrients this salty stuff contains, kelp can help prevent (or assist in banishing) depression? It has been reported that kelp is very beneficial to the sensory nerves, membranes surrounding the brain, spinal cord, and brain tissue.
Kelp For Your Health & Vitamin B
It has been researched and shown that lower levels of magnesium are often found people who are depressed. And guess what? You can find magnesium in… you guessed it: kelp!
I’m sure a lot of you know magnesium is great for post-hardcore-gym-session to stop the cramps from coming, but did you also know magnesium prevents a loss of dopamine from our brain? The stuff that provides us with energy and motivation – two things that tend to be missing in a depressed person.
Vitamin B6 also prevents this loss. And yep you guessed it — kelp is especially high in the B vitamins also. Our buzzing B’s are well renowned for their ability to combat stress and increase energy levels, but in regards to our mental health:
- B12 is good for depression and post-traumatic-stress
- B5 (aka. pantothenic acid) is essential for the adrenals. It combines with magnesium, vitamin E and vitamin C to fuel the adrenal glands.
- B9 or Folate (aka. Folic acid) has loads of jobs in the body that indirectly affect the adrenal glands; it also supports the major players B3 (niacin), B-6 and B5 (pantothenic acid) in the adrenal glands, and a deficiency in B9 can cause fatigue and depression
In addition to their role in the adrenals, the B vitamins also support the nerves and the brain and help make mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin. That leads to an energized calm similar to our buzzing bee friends.
Omega 3’s & Kelp
Omega-3 essential fatty acids seem to be cropping up all over as to why we need them in our diets, but the word “fatty acids” can scare some people but I’m here to educate you otherwise.
Omega 3’s are:
- necessary for human health; but you have to get them through food as your body cannot make them
- play a crucial role in brain function as well as normal growth and development
- are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for brain memory and performance along with behavioural function
- important for maintaining a healthy circulatory system
- have been shown to help reduce the symptoms of depression
So How Do I Eat The Stuff?
Easy! Dried kelp can be reconstituted to soften, and then eaten in salads, with veggies, or made into rolls. Kelp granules can be sprinkled over salads or soups. My favourite would have to be raw kelp noodles. Use these slightly chewy goodies to make a raw stir-fry, an asian inspired noodle dish or a tangy summer salad.
Nori sheets are made from seaweed, and some manufactures may even make nori from kelp! Nori can be enjoyed in soups or salads, or rolled up with vegetables. Mmmm.