Seaweeds are classified as algae although they are often referred to as ‘plants from the sea’. Brown Seaweeds constitute a major group of all the seaweeds and are rarely found in freshwater.
All seaweeds photosynthesise, just as land plants do. However they do not produce flowers or have roots or systems for transporting water and nutrients. They all contain the light harvesting pigment chlorophyll which is synthesised and stored in the seaweed’s cells. Seaweeds also contain other pigments which are used to capture light for photosynthesis or to protect against harmful ultraviolet radiation. The pigments present in seaweeds are used to help classify them into three broad colour groups – red, green and brown.
Read on to learn more about brown seaweeds and why you should consider adding them to your diet!
What are Brown Seaweeds?
Brown seaweeds are brown because they have high concentrations of carotenoids such as yellowish-brown fucoxanthin. This group includes some of the largest sea plants, some of them part of large under-water forests. There are about 160 species of brown seaweeds in New Zealand, and worldwide approximately 1,500-2,000 species. Some brown seaweeds like Giant Kelp, can grow up to 60m tall!
What Nutrients and Minerals Do Brown Seaweeds Offer*?
Brown seaweeds are known for their high iodine content, but they contain high concentrations of minerals and trace elements, especially calcium, magnesium, potassium and zinc. They also contain Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids in a favourable ratio (1/2).
Brown seaweeds also contain other substances which may be key to resolving degenerative diseases including alginates (detox radiations and heavy metals), fucoidan (associated with cancer prevention and infections), Laminarin (cardio vascular health) and lignans (oestrogen related illness).
What are the Health Benefits of Brown Seaweeds?
As above, there are a number of areas where brown seaweeds have been researched and its found they have potential to have a remarkable impact on a range of health ailments.
The key value in eating brown seaweeds regularly (in carefully monitored quantities due to their naturally occuring high iodine level) includes a number of benefits for optimal health:
- Nourishing the thyroid gland & brain
- Balancing hormones
- Improving metabolism & facilitating weight loss
- Removing radioactivity, heavy metals & environmental toxins from the body
- Naturally inhibiting cancer cell growth
- Soothing the skin and the digestive tract
- supporting bone & joint health
There is ongoing research to explore how brown seaweeds may be critical to solving a range of degenerative diseases, inhibit the growth of cance cells and even weight loss.
How to use Brown Seaweeds in Your Cooking and Baking
Each brown seaweed has a unique flavour profile. Experiment with different seaweeds in your cooking to see which flavours you prefer. Click here for the brown seaweeds we offer – Kelp, Kombu, Wakame and Sea Spaghetti.
Here are some ideas to get started with adding a little brown seaweed to everyday meals:
- Drink miso soup with Wakame regularly.
- Use Sea Spaghetti instead of noodles in soups or as an ingredient in winter salads
- Sprinkle Kelp instead of salt on food; it tastes salty & provides a better balance of minerals. Just start with kelp salt which is a naturally iodised salt to easily replace the processed table salt and improve your iodine levels with no thought at all. Use our award winning seasoned kelp range (available in chilli, garlic or lemon) as a marinade or rub.
- Use Kombu when cooking beans & pulses – it aids digestion & reduces cooking time, tenderising.
- Make seaweed stock with Kombu: it is quick, easy, healthy & delicious
Visit our recipe section for more ideas on how to use brown seaweeds regularly in your kitchen.
Eat the Seaweed Rainbow!
Before we go, whilst we love brown seaweeds, we would suggest that eating a range of seaweed colours is optimal as each delivers differnt nutrients and flavours! Experiment with some of our blends which also contain brown seaweeds – power of three (sugar kelp is the brown seaweed) and the furikake (New zealand kelp) seasoning range.
*Note: The nutritional content of seaweeds can vary depending on a number of factors including where they are harvested from, which part of the season they are harvested, how they are dried and more. The indicated minerla and nutrients in this article are gathered from a number of journals and published books on seaweeds over the years are are intended as a guide only. Please refer to specific nutritional panels on each product you purchase for more information.
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.