Is Kelp the New Kale? Try This Nutritious, Sustainable Kelp Jerky and Decide For Yourself
Allow us to draw your attention to kelp: that long, tough, thick seaweed that clumps on the beach and grows in huge forests in select areas of the ocean, like the American Northeast. Ever thought about eating it? Maybe not raw — but how about dried?
Is Kelp Jerky Healthy?
Kelp jerky: let that sink in, then let AKUA, the brand behind this new snack, explain. Because here's the thing about kelp: it's nutritious to the extreme. According to the AKUA's website, one bag of vegan, gluten-free kelp jerky has over 100 percent of your daily intake of vitamins B1, which can combat stress, and B2, which is used to metabolize fats, carbs, and proteins. A pack of kelp jerky also contains 80 percent of your daily iron intake and 60 percent of your daily magnesium intake.
What's more, AKUA's kelp jerky is high in fiber and even contains some protein, five grams of each per serving. Calories and carbs are low, with just 90 calories and a mere 11 grams of carbs per serving. More good news for weight loss? Seaweeds, like kelp, are also one of a small number of foods that expand in your stomach once you eat them, keeping you full, satisfied, and less likely to overeat.
Is Kelp Jerky Eco-Friendly?
Even better than the nutrition of kelp jerky might be its potential to help the environment. One part of that is obvious: kelp grows in the ocean, so it doesn't require irrigation, fertilizer, land, or feed. "Animal agriculture uses one-third of our fresh water, one-third of our dry land, and is the second biggest contributor to greenhouse gases in the world," said AKUA's co-founder and co-CEO Courtney Boyd Myers.
Kelp farming does the opposite — instead of contributing to climate change, scientists believe it may actually help combat it. Like land-based plants, kelp uses carbon dioxide to produce energy, but it does it at five times the rate of your average tree or bush. "When I learned all of this, I thought, what if we could replace the most unsustainable form of agriculture on the planet with the most sustainable, and scale it?" Myers told POPSUGAR. "We thought kelp jerky would be a great place to start."
What Does Kelp Jerky Taste Like?
AKUA, which launched in April, offers three flavors of kelp jerky so far: Sesame & Nori Sea Salt, Rosemary & Maple Barbecue, and Spicy Thai & Spirulina. Myers said that the taste "definitely has a strong kelp flavor," so if you like seaweed wraps, you'll love kelp jerky. It's not all kelp, though; the jerky also contains mushrooms, pea protein, and chickpea flour, and the taste varies among the different flavors (click through the slides for a description of each). The texture, meanwhile, resembles your basic soft, chewy jerky.
Even if you're not totally sold on the idea of eating kelp, the one-two punch of nutrition and earth-friendliness is pretty convincing. Good for your body, good for the earth? Vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, high-protein? It might just be worth a try. Flip ahead to check out the flavor options and more nutrition info, and head to AKUA's website to learn more and buy a bag for yourself.