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Kelp Vs. Seaweed
They might not yet make up staples in the average American diet, but seaweeds — marine vegetables available in a range of colors and flavors — offer a lot of nutritional value. Kelp, sometimes called kombu, is among the more widely available seaweed varieties you can purchase at health food stores, Asian grocery stores and some regular grocery stores. It offers some health benefits over other types of seaweed, but also has some minor disadvantages compared to other seaweed varieties.
Like other seaweeds, kelp is low in calories. A cup of kelp boosts your energy intake by just 34 calories, while equivalent servings of Irish moss, laver and wakame contain 39, 28 and 36 calories, respectively. Most of kelp’s calories come from its carbohydrate content. Each serving contains 7.6 grams of total carbohydrates, including 1 gram of dietary fiber. Kelp also contains 1.4 grams of protein per serving. This puts it approximately on par with Irish moss, but makes it an inferior source of protein compared to laver and wakame, which boast 4.7 and 2.4 grams of protein per serving, respectively.
Calcium and Iron
Kelp provides more calcium per serving than other seaweeds. It boasts 134 milligrams of calcium per 1-cup serving, or 13 percent of the recommended daily intake established by the Institute of Medicine. In comparison, Irish moss and laver contain less than 60 milligrams of calcium per serving, while wakame contains 120 milligrams. You need calcium each day to support healthy bone tissue, as well as to aid in cell signalling and nerve function.
Kelp contains a moderate amount of iron — 2.3 milligrams, or approximately 29 and 13 percent of the recommended daily intakes for men and women, respectively. Irish moss contains more iron than kelp, at 7.1 milligrams per cup, while laver and wakame provide less — 1.4 and 1.7 milligrams, respectively.
Kelp serves as a superior source of vitamin K compared to other seaweeds. Vitamin K’s main function in your body involves blood clotting — it activates proteins needed to set off a series of chemical reactions, called a coagulation cascade, that result in the formation of a blood clot. It also aids in cartilage and bone development. Kelp boasts a vitamin K content of 53 micrograms per cup, while Irish moss, laver and wakame each contain less than 5 micrograms per serving. Just 1 cup of kelp provides 42 percent of the daily intake for men and 59 percent for women.
Use dried kelp to flavor salads, soups, steamed vegetables or grilled fish or chicken — it adds salty flavor without the need for table salt. Add fresh kelp to your favorite leafy green salad, or combine it with garlic, ginger, green beans and carrots for a healthful salad that features kelp as its base. Alternatively, add marine flavor to your favorite vegetable soups using a handful of kelp.
Kelp Vs. Seaweed. They might not yet make up staples in the average American diet, but seaweeds — marine vegetables available in a range of colors and flavors — offer a lot of nutritional value. Kelp, sometimes called kombu, is among the more widely available seaweed varieties you can purchase at health food stores, …