Kelp Benefits + Side Effects

By Adriane Marie •  Updated: 08/03/22 •  9 min read
kelp benefits and side effects

What are kelp benefits and side effects every ethical consumer must know? Here are kelp pros and cons and how buying them will impact your health, the environment, animals and laborers. 

Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on kelp benefits and side effects.

You are going to learn all about kelp benefits and side effects. This will include kelp benefits for your health and potential risks, kelp water footprint and kelp carbon footprint, kelp sustainability, if kelp are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more. 

After learning if kelp are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.

This post is all about kelp benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.

Must-Know Kelp Benefits And Side Effects

Health

Kelp health benefits may include:

Kelp is…

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Environment

Water footprint: unknown

Carbon footprint: low, 0.0 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of aquatic plants, a car driving equivalent of .0 miles or .0 kilometers

Destruction: low, kelp production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.

Kelp is…

Animals

Kills: none, kelp production does not require any animals to be killed

Harms: none, kelp production does not require any animals to be used

Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from kelp production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat

Kelp is…

Laborers

Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible

Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation

Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits

Kelp…

China is the world’s top producer of kelp.

Yes! Sea kelp is a natural source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, C, D and E, and minerals like zinc, iodine, magnesium, iron, potassium, copper and calcium (it highest natural concentration of calcium of any food…10 times more than milk)!

kelp is alkaline. kelp benefits include fitting into an alkaline diet.

acidic foods and alkaline diet benefits that improve ph levels

Is kelp alkaline or acidic?

Kelp is alkaline.

What is the pH level of kelp?

Kelp has a 9.0 pH level once digested. Sea vegetables are an alkaline food group.

When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.

Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List

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kelp is gluten free. kelp benefits include fitting into a gluten free diet.

glutinous foods have side effects but a gluten free diet can help

Is kelp gluten free? Yes, kelp is a naturally gluten free food. 

While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…

Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:

There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.

Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List

kelp is not a common food allergen.

side effects of common food allergens like milk, wheat, soy, fish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs and crustaceans

Is kelp a common food allergen?

No, kelp is not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to kelp but it is relatively rare by comparison.

A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:

Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. 

Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.

Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List

kelp has a low carbon footprint.

carbon footprints of food and food emissions

Does kelp have a high or low carbon footprint?

Kelp has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.

What is the carbon footprint of kelp?

It takes around 0.0 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of aquatic plants, a car driving equivalent of .0 miles or .0 kilometers.

Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.

When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…

But that’s not all!

It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:

Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List

kelp is sustainable.

sustainable shopping, for eco friendly brands and products good for the environment

Overall, is kelp eco friendly? Is kelp sustainable?

Kelp production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.

A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.

Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.

kelp is vegan. kelp benefits include not killing, harming or using animals.

benefits of vegan food to eat on a vegan diet which helps save animals

Is kelp vegan?

Yes, kelp is vegan. Kelp is a brown algae seaweed and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food. 

Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.

Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.

Go vegan for animals!

It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.

Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non-Vegan Foods List

kelp may have labor issues and human rights concerns.

benefits of buying fair trade, labor rights, human rights and workers rights issues

Is kelp a product associated with labor concerns?

At this time there have been no major concerns associated with kelp production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may be associated with specific brands.

Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized. 

Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even be subjected to harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death! 

Such mistreatment has been likened to modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation. 

Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards. 

We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade. 

This post was all about kelp benefits and side effects.

Sources:

Seaweed, kelp, raw – FoodData Central

The Nutrition Source, Harvard, Aquatic Foods

Adriane Marie

Grocery Guru, Material Maven, Conscious Consumer Connoisseur. I organize ethical info for us to comprehensively see how purchases impact people, animals and the planet. I hope you find HEALabel helpful! Use it for personal and global improvement and empowerment.

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