Learn About Red Seaweeds

Posted by VitaminSea on 2/17/2022 to SEAWEED FOR HEALTH
Learn About Red Seaweeds
Seaweeds are classified as algae, although they are often referred to as 'sea vegetables' or 'plants from the sea’. Red 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 Red Seaweeds?

Red seaweeds are red because in addition to chlorophyll they also contain red and blue pigments such as phycoerythrin, phycocyanin, and allophycocyanin which combine in various ways and can mask the green chlorophyll.

Red seaweeds are the oldest and largest group of algae. Most exist in salt water although some grow in fresh water. Their distinctive color pigments allow them to survive at great depths where they can still absorb the light they need to photosynthesize.

Red seaweeds vary greatly in size, color (from pink to dark red to purple and everything in between), shape, ecosystem, and despite their name, their color ranges from pink through to crimson, purple and orange. They tend to grow more slowly than brown or red seaweeds, and also live in warmer waters, whereas browns tend to prefer colder temperatures.

The most popular red edible seaweeds in Maine include Nori (aka Laver), Dulse, and Irish Moss (aka Chondrus crispus).

The seaweed used in sushi is Nori and this can often look green when one purchases the processed sheets at the supermarket, but the green color is only as a result of drying, roasting and processing – the natural color for raw nori is a brownish red color.

What Nutrients And Minerals Do Red Seaweeds Offer?

Red seaweeds are an excellent source of minerals, carbohydrates, antioxidants, enzymes, and generally very high in dietary fiber. They are also rich in agar, 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 anemia). Red seaweeds are a good source of iodine, well suited to maintaining healthy thyroid function.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Brown Seaweeds?

Generally, red seaweeds:

~ Have a ‘tonic effect’ on the body, strengthening the immune system
~ Promote cardiovascular health and regulate cholesterol
~ Nourish the nervous system, improving resistance to stress
~ Relieve congestion in colds and flu
~ Are naturally anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic, anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, and anti-fungal
~ Soothes the skin and digestive tract

How To Use Red Seaweeds In Your Cooking And Baking

Each red seaweed has a unique flavor profile and they can be used in vastly different ways from each other. Experiment with different red seaweeds in your cooking to see which flavor you prefer.

Here are some ideas to get started with adding a little red seaweed to everyday meals. Remember to use seaweed as you would any spice or herb!

~ Eat more sushi! Buy it for a quick lunch or dinner. Even better, just eat nori straight from the bag as a raw snack!
~ Add Dulse to soups, pesto and savory baking for a nutritional boost. Dulse is a very popular smoothie ingredient and can also be eaten straight from the bag as a raw snack!
~ Try our Applewood Smoked Dulse in soups, chowders, and salads. It is especially good to sprinkle a few flakes on top of a cracker with cream cheese!
~ Use Irish Moss instead of gelatin or pectin.
~ Visit our recipe section for great recipe ideas!

Try our red seaweed and “sea” for yourself!

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