As people seek a healthier lifestyle, many are turning to the sea to supplement their diet. Seaweed is one item that is rapidly gaining popularity. Among the many seaweeds out there, and a name that’s showing up more and more, is “dulse”. What is dulse and why should it be in your diet as part of a healthy lifestyle?
What is dulse: an overview
Dulse, also known as Palmaria palmata, is an alga, which consists of a short stem stipe and red-tinted fronds that are thick and leathery in texture. All variations of this red alga contain a rich mixture of minerals, and have differing flavors depending on where it grows. This nutrient-rich form of alga has been a food source for more than a thousand years in various parts of the world. It primarily grows on the northern coasts of the world’s major oceans. Most times, the alga can be picked by hand from the shoreline and then dried, fried, chopped, or ground for various culinary and medicinal uses. It’s a red seaweed that grows attached to rocks. It’s not only rich in health benefits. This salty sea vegetable is eaten fresh and dried in foods including soups, chowders and fish dishes. Dried, dulse is used as seasoning.
Europeans have been eating this ancient sea plant for over 1,500 years. Whether they knew it or not, it was basically the equivalent of their multivitamin because of it’s dense nutrients.
What are the benefits of dulse?
There are actually several wonderful benefits of dulse. It may contribute to healthy bones due to its wealth of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron, all of which contribute to bone mineral density overall. With its potassium content, it may help lower blood pressure. It’s a wonderful source of Omega 3 and Omega 6, which are thought to regulate body functions such as blood clotting, brain function and the nervous system. It’s also a wonderful, healthy salt replacement. Dulse contains Vitamin C and the carotenoid antioxidants, like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which are known to be good for healthy eyesight, reducing free radical damage and decreasing the risk of some chronic diseases. It cleanses the body of heavy chemicals and it helps with liver function.
How can you use dulse?
Dulse’s minerality makes it a great stand-in for salt. Some even say that dulse tastes like bacon! Fresh dulse can be hard to find, but many stores sell it dried in both whole-leaf and flaked varieties, in the international foods aisle. You may also find it ground into a powder, or added to pre-mixed spice blends.
Here are some great ways to incorporate dulse:
- Mix flaked dulse into salad dressings.
- Use dried flakes to sprinkle over popcorn.
- Add strips of whole-leaf dulse to pickled vegetables.
- Sprinkle flakes over egg dishes.
- Mix flaked dulse into homemade cracker dough.
- Add to a bowl of ramen.
- Sprinkle flaked dulse over a baked potato to amp up the flavor of a classic.
- Use as a salt substitute or when you want a salty, ocean flavor in a dish
Does this mean I can only get it by eating it in some form?
Not everyone is willing to consume seaweed of any kind, even though it offers healthy benefits. Luckily, there are other ways to consume dulse and enjoy its potential health benefits. Seaweed supplements such as Sea Veg contain dulse, as one of 12 seaweeds found in its supplement. When consuming a seaweed supplement to enjoy the potential health benefits of dulse, be sure to look for supplements that has the following characteristics:
- Comes from the whole plant (a whole food supplement)
If you want to take your health to the next level, take a look at dulse to see how you may incorporate it into your diet through cooking or through a high quality seaweed supplement.