Kombu kelp is rich in minerals and anti-oxidants as well as containing all the trace elements needed by humans. In fact, kelp can contain up to 10 times as much minerals as land plants. It is exceptionally rich in iodine, and so traditionally kelp was used as the main source for preventing goitre and treating thyroid conditions. Iodine promotes healthy thyroid function, and therefore can be an extremely useful tool in regulating the metabolism for weight loss or gain, as well as increasing energy levels. Proper thyroid function is also extremely important for healthy development, brain function and growth in children. Kombu has also been used as a natural dietary fibre for centuries. Kombu is a great source of protein, iron, calcium, folate (Vitamin B9) as well as magnesium. Recent research in the UK and Ireland have found that magnesium can help to inhibit the process that leads to high blood pressure.
Kombu is extremely versatile, eaten dried it is a delicious low calorie snack but can also be used as a flavour enhancer as it contains umami the fifth human taste. Kombu adds luxurious richness and body to such dishes as soups, chowders, stews or salads and can even be added to bread. Milled or finely diced kombu can also be used as a healthy alternative to salt due to its lower sodium content.