Seaweeds are classified as algae, although they are often referred to as 'sea vegetables' or 'plants from the sea’. Brown seaweeds constitute a major group of all the seaweeds.
All seaweeds photosynthesize, just as land plants do. However, they do not produce flowers, have roots, or systems for transporting water and nutrients. They all contain chlorophyll which is synthesized 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 color groups – red, green, and brown.
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. Although grouped as 'brown', their color may vary between hues of brown, yellowish-brown, and olive greens.
The most popular edible species of brown seaweeds from Maine are: Kombu, Wakame/Alaria, and Kelp/Digitata.
What Nutrients And Minerals Do Brown Seaweeds Offer?
Brown seaweeds are known for their high iodine content, but they also contain high concentrations of minerals and trace elements, especially calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. They also contain Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.
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 it’s 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 high iodine level) includes a number of benefits for optimal health:
~ Nourishing the thyroid gland and brain
~ Balancing hormones
~ Improving metabolism and facilitating weight loss
~ Removing radioactivity, heavy metals and environmental toxins from the body
~ Naturally inhibiting cancer cell growth
~ Soothing the skin and the digestive tract
~ Supporting bone and joint health
How To Use Brown Seaweeds In Your Cooking And Baking
Each brown seaweed has a unique flavor profile. Experiment with different seaweeds in your cooking to see which flavor you prefer.
You use seaweeds like you would use any spice or herb. A little goes a long way!
Here are some ideas to get started with adding a little brown seaweed to everyday meals:
~ Drink Miso soup with Wakame/Alaria regularly.
~ Sprinkle Kombu instead of salt on food; it tastes salty and provides a better balance of minerals.
~Use Kelp/Digitata when cooking beans. It aids digestion, reduces cooking time and is tenderizing.
~ Make a soup stock with Kombu; it is quick, easy, healthy and delicious!
Try our brown seaweed and “sea” for yourself!