All seaweeds can broadly be divided into three groups – red, green and brown. Just as we know we should eat a variety of land vegetable colours, so should we eat a variety of seaweed colours for optimal health.
Red seaweeds are the oldest & largest group of algae with over 6,000 species worldwide (roughly 570 species of which are found along the New Zealand coast). Their distinctive colour pigments allow them to survive at great depths. Red seaweeds vary greatly in size, shape and ecosystem, and despite their name, their colour ranges from pink through to crimson, purple and orange. The most popular red species include Nori (aka Karengo or laver), Dulse, Agar, Irish Moss and Sea Chicory.
What are the Health Benefits of Red Seaweeds?
Red seaweeds are an excellent source of minerals, carbohydrates, antioxidants, enzymes and generally very high in dietary fibre. They are also rich in agar and carrageenan and have a positive potassium/sodium balance. Red seaweeds are an excellent vegetarian source of high quality, complete protein – containing all the essential amino acids the diet requires. They are also a source of heme iron (a form of iron that can actually prevent iron-deficiency anaemia). Red seaweeds are a good source of iodine, well suited to maintaining healthy thyroid function. Generally red seaweeds:
- Have a ‘tonic effect’ on the body, strengthening the immune system
- Promote cardiovascular health & regulate cholesterol
- Nourish the nervous system, improving resistance to stress
- Relieve congestion in colds & flu
- are naturally anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and anti-fungal
- Sooth the skin and digestive tract
How to Use Red Seaweeds in the Kitchen
- Eat more Sushi! Buy it for a quick lunch or have fun making it at home
- Add Dulse to soups, pesto & savoury baking for a nutritional boost
- Sprinkle Nori on salads or roast it gently for a crunchy snack
- Use Agar or Irish Moss instead of gelatine or pectin
- Make quick & delicious salads with Sea Chicory
- Visit our recipe section for an extensive collection of easy-to-make dishes
Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and should be verified by a qualified health practitioner for specific & individual needs & requirements.