The benefits of dulse, or Atlantic Dulse as it’s commonly referred to, are broadly categorised into health and flavour.
Atlantic Dulse is an incredible superfood of the sea – ihas remarkable, unique nutritional benefits that you can incorporate into your diet and it happens to taste particularly delicious too!
For centuries, this sea vegetable, with its scientific name Palmaria referring to its fan-like shape, has been hailed as a nutritious, vital food in Europe and off the East Coast of North America. Dulse is to the Irish what nori is to the Japanese – a key pantry staple that offers amazing benefits to our health and wellbeing. Read on to discover why eating Dulse offers a number of benefits.
Where Dulse Comes From Matters
Dulse only grows in the northern hemisphere in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is typically harvested from late spring to mid-autumn and, as with all seaweeds or sea vegetables, the nutritional profile can change depending on a number of factors including location, time of harvest and drying method. The areas of the Atlantic where Dulse grows are generally cleaner (less contaminated) than the areas of the Pacific where Dulse grows, so Pacific Harvest only offers Dulse which has been harvested from the Atlantic ocean – hence you will hear it referred to as ‘Atlantic Dulse’. Additionally, Pacific Harvest’s Dulse is harvested from an area which is organically certified.
What’s Special About Dulse from a Nutritional Perspective?
Although all seaweeds and sea vegetables are nutritiously rich, containing high levels of minerals and vitamins, the ratios differ between them. For instance, Dulse has relatively high levels of iodine, calcium, potassium, manganese and iron compared with other sea vegetables. Not only that, Dulse is also a great source of vitamins A, C and B-12, which is especially important for those following a vegan or plant-based diet where vitamin B-12 often needs to be supplemented. In addition, Dulse contains high levels of fibre & omega-3 fatty acids which support heart health, brain function and many other processes to promote physical and mental wellness.
Pacific Harvest offers Dulse in either a flake or leaf format – both have the same nutritional profile – just select which format suits how you like to work in the kitchen best.
What Are Some of the Health Benefits of Dulse?
- Improved thyroid health: Including dulse in your diet is an easy way to naturally increase your iodine consumption, an essential nutrient that we must get from our diet as it cannot be synthesised by the human body. Iodine is of critical importance for thyroid balance and it is also said to protect the body from absorbing the radioactive iodine present in our environment.
- Healthier blood and blood flow: Potassium is another essential nutrient, well-known as a vasodilator (medicines that dilates blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily). Potassium helps reduce the strain and damage to blood vessels and arteries caused by high blood pressure and protects against coronary heart disease, strokes and heart attacks. Potassium can also help increase blood flow to the brain and capillaries. Potassium plays an important role in balancing body fluids, helping your heart maintain a steady beat and is needed for proper muscle contraction.
- Increased fibre to improve digestion and cleansing: Dulse contains a minimum of 35% fibre, with 10% soluble and the rest insoluble, both of which are important for a healthy body as they offer complementary benefits. Seaweed fibres are different to those in land-based plant foods because they contain fibrous polysaccharide substances such as alginic acid, which helps to detoxify heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from the body. Kelp seaweed and other brown seaweed varieties are particularly abundant in alginic acid or algin, but Dulse also contains this polysaccharide in adequate amounts. Since seaweed polysaccharides work to detoxify the liver, their cleansing ability naturally promotes glowing, healthier skin.
- Healthier nervous system: Dulse contains omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are not only important for heart health, but also for the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Studies have linked high levels of omega-3 fatty acids with improved brain and nervous system function. Another major benefit of the omega-3 content of Dulse is that it acts as an anti-inflammatory that is essential for balancing excess consumption of omega-6 fats which is all too common in our Western diet.
- Increased folate/B-12: Depending on how Dulse has been dried (and subject to seasonal variation) it can contain varying levels of folate and vitamin B12. These essential nutrients tend to be found mostly in animal products, such as meat, poultry, milk, fish and eggs, so eating Dulse is an excellent way for you if you are a vegan, vegetarian or plant-based to get sufficient vitamin B12 in your daily diet. We have had samples of Dulse where a 99g portion of Dulse contains 6.6 micrograms of vitamin B12, which is more than 100 percent of the daily value set by the FDA.
- Stronger Bones: Dulse contains a wealth of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, and iron, all of which contribute to improved bone mineral density, especially important for women as we age and become more susceptible to osteoporosis. Calcium is crucial for long-term bone and joint health.
- Improved eyesight: Dulse is also a good source of vitamin A, which acts as an antioxidant and prevents free radicals from damaging the eye tissue that leads to macular degeneration. Consumption of vitamin A in Dulse can also slow the development of cataracts, acting as an all-around vision booster. Dulse also contains vitamin C and the carotenoid antioxidants, such as alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, all of which promote healthy eyesight, reducing free radical damage and decreasing the risk of chronic disease.
A Delicious Smoky Flavour – Try it Today
In addition to the incredible health benefits Dulse can offer, it has a unique smoky and intensly salty flavour that many people crave! Use Dulse instead of salt and increase your mineral and nutrient intake whilst still enjoying the delicious saltiness dulse naturally offers.
We have recently hot smoked a batch of dulse to intesify this smoky flavour – try our Manuka Smoked Dulse flakes today, or if you are a puritan, stick with the raw Dulse flakes and leaves in our core range.
Read our blog article on how to use Dulse in new and exciting ways and send us your recipe ideas – we love to hear about your creations.
Try these Dulse recipes:
Visit our recipe section for more inspiration: