The Seaweed is Greener on the other side...
Tasmanian Bull Kelp - Nutrient-Dense Super Food
This dense sea vegetable is extremely high in nutrients and comes with a whole host of benefits. These include digestive health, cholesterol-lowering effects and weight loss.
The images in this product information were taken on a farm near a beach in Tasmania’s King Island, where the cows escaped from their paddock and were found munching on none-other than “Tasmanian Bull Kelp”. The grass (or seaweed in this case), was definitely greener on the other side.
And as we know, animals are intrinsically well-renowned for sourcing the best natural, nutrient dense foods. You can’t argue with mother nature and the benefits of bull kelp – the vegetable of the sea.
Bull Kelp (Durvillaea potatorum) is collected by Kelp harvesters from clean, unpolluted waters around Tasmania and King Island. The Kelp grows to a spectacular 8m. During a storm, kelp is torn from the rocks and cast on the beaches. Kelp can live 14 years or longer and can grow at the rate of 10-14 cm a day. It does not have flowers, seeds or roots like other plants. Instead, the plants fix themselves to rocks using a root-like structrue called a ‘holdfast’ to stop it from being swept away. Some kelp plants can be found washed up on the beach after storms. Bull Kelp form the basis of important ecosystems. It grows in large groups called ‘forests’ that become important nursery areas for many species.
Bull Kelp is a good source of trace minerals that well-up from the bottom of the sea. It is harvested for use in natural medicine, as a fertilizer and feed in aquaculture. Aboriginal people in Tasmania used dried Bull Kelp to transport water and food. The species name came from this use: potatorum means ‘to drink’ in Latin.
Climate change threatens the growth of Bull Kelp, even small increases in water temperature.
Kelp from the shores of King Island is air and solar dried followed by wood fired oven at temperature up to 75 degrees as a final milled moisture content of around 12 – 15 percent.
Kelp is delivered to the factory by truck or trailer, where the fresh weed is hung by hand onto low purpose-built unloading racks.
The weed is lifted onto high racks to dry naturally in the sun and wind before being moved inside for completion of the drying process.
The dry kelp is fed through a hammer mill to reduce it to the required granular form and size. The final product is packaged into reusable one tonne bulk bags. The product may be transferred into 20kg sacks or bulk loaded into sealable shipping containers.
What is the Process to form Dried Bull Kelp?
Tas Kelp is a local Island business started by Kelli and Steve Lane to promote the uses of Bull Kelp. TasKelp market environmentally friendly products under the Tas Kelp brand. We are based in the North West of Tasmania and source the best quality kelp from the shores of King Island to the West Coast of Tasmania.
Spending 23 years on King Island and 15 of those years carting kelp on the beaches.
It takes about two weeks of drying on the wind-blown, sun-drenched drying racks, and the kelpers are paid per tonne of dry weight.
From the racks, the strands of kelp, which are now black and hard, are taken to a wood-fired dryer inside the factory in King Island and then granulated for export.
Bull Kelp is quite common on the eastern and western flanks of Tasmania as well as the southern part of King Island. It grows at the rate of 10cm per day and is washed ashore in the swirls and swells that caused so many shipwrecks around the island.
It is valued for its high alginate content. The alginates are the derivative of processed kelp and can be used in detergents, soaps, shampoos, grouts and foodstuffs to name a few. It is also being promoted as a substance suited to health and well-being. Cows that have access to the beach prove that point. They love Bull Kelp; pregnant cows especially go into a frenzy at the sight!
Health Benefits of Bull Kelp
You already know to eat your daily servings of vegetables, but when is the last time you gave any thought to your sea vegetables? Kelp, a type of seaweed, is chock full of good-for-you nutrients that can benefit your health and possibly even prevent disease.
Already a staple in many Asian cuisines, this type of sea algae is a natural source of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
What Is Kelp?
You may have seen this marine plant at the beach. Kelp is a type of large brown seaweed that grows in shallow, nutrient-rich saltwater, near coastal fronts around the world. It differs slightly in colour, flavour, and nutrient profile from the type you may see in sushi rolls.
Kelp also produces a compound called sodium alginate. This is used as a thickener in many foods you may eat, including ice cream and salad dressing. But you can eat natural kelp in many different forms, including:
- in supplements
Because it absorbs the nutrients from its surrounding marine environment, kelp is rich in:
- trace elements
According to nutritionist Vanessa Stasio Costa, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N., kelp “is often considered a ‘superfood’ due to its significant mineral content. It’s especially concentrated in iodine, which is important for optimal thyroid function and metabolism.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that seaweed such as kelp is one of the best natural food sources of iodine, an essential component in thyroid hormone production. A deficiency in iodine leads to metabolism disruption and can also lead to an enlargement of the thyroid gland known as goiter.
Why Iodine Levels Are Dramatically Dropping – by Dr Mercola
“Iodine deficiency is on the rise in the United States. Simple supplementation may not be the answer as the following issues also need to be addressed.
Recent national survey data suggest that just over 11 percent of the total U.S. population, and over 7 percent of pregnant women, and nearly 17 percent of all reproductive-aged women, are deficient in iodine.
The Total Diet Study, performed by the FDA, reported an iodine intake of 621 µg for 2 year-olds between 1974 and 1982, compared with 373 µg between 1982 and 1991. During this same time period, the baking industry replaced iodine-based anti-caking agents with bromine-based agents.
In addition to iodine's disappearance from our food supply, exposure to toxic competing halogens (bromine, fluorine, chlorine and perchlorate) has dramatically increased.
You absorb these halogens through your food, water, medications and environment, and they selectively occupy your iodine receptors, further deepening your iodine deficit.
Fluoridation of water is a major contributor to iodine deficiency, besides being very damaging to your health in many other ways.
Recapping the Main Arguments Against Fluoridation
The issue of fluoride in drinking water has a 60-year history that is far too involved to recount in its entirely here. But the main points are summarized below, and you can read them in detail here:
- Administering a drug to the masses in a “one-size-fits-all” approach is a major assault to your freedom of choice.
- Fluoridation is unnecessary and avoidable.
- Fluoridation is probably causing harm.
- The type of fluoride being added to your water supply is NOT pharmaceutical grade fluoride, but rather an industrial waste product.
- I also highly recommend your picking up a copy of the book The Case Against Fluoride.
Additional factors contributing to falling iodine levels are:
- Diets low in fish, shellfish and seaweed
- Vegan and vegetarian diets
- Decreased use of iodized salt
- Less use of iodide in the food and agricultural industry
- Use of radioactive iodine in many medical procedures, which competes with natural iodine
How You Can Prevent an Iodine Deficiency
Best Sources of Iodine
The RDA for iodine is as follows: (16)
- 1–8 years old — 90 micrograms every day
- 9–13 years old — 120 micrograms every day
- 14+ years old — 150 micrograms every day (15 milligrams or 0.015g)
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers — 290 micrograms every day
Seaweed is one of the best food sources of iodine, but it’s highly variable in its content. Examples include arame, kombu, wakame, kelp and hijiki. Kelp has the highest amount of iodine of any food in the world.
What Minerals are found in Food Grade Bull Kelp?
Dried sea vegetables contain extraordinary amounts of minerals, which are commonly found in the sea. In some species the mineral content is so high that it’s 36% of its dry mass. Some of the most common minerals include cobalt, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, iodine, phosphorous and potassium.
Dried sea vegetables have high quantities of iodine as compared to the minimum required in our diets that it’s primarily known for this particular nutrient.
Vitamins constitute another essential part of seaweeds. They are a rich source of carotenes and many a times is used as a dietary supplement. Vitamin A content ranges from about 20 to 170 parts per million. It is also rich in vitamin B and Vitamin E.
Seaweed contains lignan phytonutrients, which are nutrients found in plants. Seaweed’s phytonutrients promote women’s health by converting within your body to compounds that act like estrogens. If stored levels of estrogens become low, these compounds have an estrogens-like effect. When estrogens levels are too high, lignan phytonutrients crowd out the hormone and minimize unwanted side effects. These nutrients also have antioxidant properties that work against damaging free radicals that circulate in your body. Another phytonutrient present in seaweed is fucan, which reduces the body’s inflammatory response and prevents blood clot formation.
The carotenoid beta-carotene is a natural pigment in dried seaweed. Beta-carotene has antioxidant properties and works to protect you from ultraviolet damage. Carotenoids also help prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke. Carotenoids are converted into vitamin A and require fat and bile acids for absorption. Currently, there is no recommended dietary allowance for beta-carotene.
Why is Iodine Important?
Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormone which in turn helps in the proper growth and development of the body. If the amounts of iodine in the body is less than required, the body would show stunted growth. As the land plants produce very low levels of iodine it’s recommended to have dried seaweeds to increase the iodine content in the body. However, make sure that you don’t consume it in large quantities at a time or else it may be harmful. Many a times iodine is mixed with table salt to ensure enough levels are maintained.
Dried Seaweed Health Benefits
It is an excellent source of Vitamin B, which is helpful for cutting down the amounts of cholesterol in the body. It also helps in reducing acne and rheumatoid arthritis. Minerals like magnesium and iron found in high amounts in dried seaweeds are helpful in preventing heart attacks and diabetes. They contain niacin and riboflavin which help in repairing the tissue quite fast. The only downside is that the calories in dried seaweed is slightly higher, but not as high as several other foods. Know more on seaweed salad calories.
With the kind of health benefits dried seaweeds provide, it’s no surprise that they have become a popular source of food among a majority of people. While consuming them make sure that you don’t consume it in huge quantities at a time.
Links to mineral and nutrient composition of Tasmanian Bull Kelp here.
How Much Kelp Should I Consume?
Iodine found in kelp is a micronutrient that is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. The primary source of iodine is the diet via consumption of foods that have been fortified with iodine, including salt, dairy products and bread, or that are naturally abundant in the micronutrient, such as seafood.
Kelp is available in a variety of forms, and people can consume it as a food or a supplement.
It’s best to obtain nutrients from dietary sources, where possible. Kelp can be a healthy addition to a broader, nutritious diet, alongside a variety of fresh vegetables and other unprocessed, nutrient-dense foods.
Ideas for incorporating kelp into the diet include:
- adding organic, dried kelp into soups and stews
- using it as a salt substitute for salads and main dishes
- sprinkling dried kelp flakes onto foods as a seasoning
- blending it into a vegetable juice
Consuming concentrated amounts of kelp can introduce too much iodine into the body.
This can lead to health risks for some with thyroid issues. For example, excessive iodine can overstimulate the thyroid. It’s important to eat kelp in moderation. It’s not suitable for those with hyperthyroidism.
Always consult a healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation regimen.
The recommended daily iodine intake 15 milligrams or 0.015 grams per day in adults who are not pregnant or lactating. Ingestion of iodine or exposure above this threshold is generally well-tolerated. However, in certain susceptible individuals, including those with pre-existing thyroid disease, (if you're taking thyroxine) the elderly, fetuses and neonates, or patients with other risk factors, the risk of developing iodine-induced thyroid dysfunction might be increased. Please check with your physician before taking an iodine natural supplement.
Hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism as a result of supraphysiologic iodine exposure might be either subclinical or overt, and the source of the excess iodine might not be readily apparent.
Petro chemical free & Now Available For Human Consumption - high-grade seaweed meal.
This dried kelp (Durvillea potatorum); comes from the West Coast of Tasmania where this unique species of Bull Kelp thrives in the mixing zone of nutrients welling up from the depths of the Great Southern Ocean. Due to cold sea temperatures, it has the highest alginic acid content and natural growth stimulants vitamins and minerals of any brown kelp in the world.
How Cows Actively Seek out Tas Bull Kelp
Seaweed is often called the vegetable of the sea and every morning, some of the island’s cattle come down to the shore for a healthy breakfast of giant kelp – the wonder plant of the sea. With close to 3,000 species, Australia has the richest array of seaweed of any country and some scientists believe it’s not as prolific (reducing in numbers) as it once was due to climate change.
The evidence is all cold-water kelp is susceptible to climate change and that includes bull kelp and this is the only species the cows choose to eat.
This cribbing and picking, which happens in animals and in particular, pregnant females of any species, is natures way of saying they’re after some nutritional compound that they need in their diet. And these cows go particularly crazy for bull kelp, are in fact, pregnant cows. They’ll walk over the top of other seaweed species to get to the bull kelp and its definitely they’re preferred food and they eat large quantities of it – its not uncommon to see them standing in the waves to get to it.
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Non-Perishables = essential oils, beauty and cooking oils, raw minerals and supplements
Dry goods = herbs, spices, coffee
Perishables = vegetables, herbs, fruit, eggs, F&G boxes, stock broth and liquid broth
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