If you’ve eaten sushi before, you may be familiar with eating the black nori wrapper. Another type of seaweed that is just as mysterious looking as it is healthy for you is known as “dulse.”

One teaspoon of dulse flakes can satisfy the daily percentage requirement of iodine.

One teaspoon of dulse flakes can satisfy the daily percentage requirement of iodine.

Dulse is an edible red algae, or seaweed, that grows among the shorelines of Canada, Ireland, and Iceland. It is usually harvested between June through September, and dried into flakes. Its official name is “Palmaria palmata,” and comes in a variety of forms including dulse flakes, or eaten in its original red leaf form. They are a great source of minerals, vitamins, and trace minerals. Dulse flakes can be a great addition to salads and soups, giving it that rich, salty sea flavor and added crunch. It is also rich in one specific element that is severely lacking in most people’s diet today. And that is iodine. 

Deficiency in Iodine

Iodine is an element that your body cannot make but need in order to function. It can be found all over our oceans, soil, rocks and concentrated by seaweed. Our bodies need iodine for the development of important thyroid hormones. Your thyroid is a gland located near your neck, and is in charge of metabolic process such as growth and use of energy. Over the last 40 years, the rate of iodine deficiency has increased 4 times! A deficiency in iodine can lead to the following problems:

  • Most common cause of goiter (hypothyroidism)
  • Links to breast cancer and fibrocystic breast disease
  • Leading cause of preventable intellectual disability or mental retardation in children
  • Causes weight gain, lack of energy, depression, cardiovascular disease
  • Infertility in women (low levels of thyroid hormone)

The US RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for iodine is 150-290 micrograms for adults. Fortunately only one gram of dulse flakes easily provides that daily amount.

 

What do dulse flakes taste like?

These gray flakes are crunchy, similar to the texture of nori wraps. They taste nutty, slightly salty and smoky. Some may say that dulse has a distinct “umami” flavor due to the minethyl sulfide from the coastal air. Since they are slightly salty, dulse flakes make a great salt replacement for some recipes. The best way to eat dulse flakes is to sprinkle it in soup or on salad for a rich flavor and dose of minerals. Dulse can be found at most health stores and Asian supermarkets. Unfortunately sea vegetables can also absorb unnecessary contaminants in their surrounding environment such as mercury and arsenic, fuel oil residues, and bacteria. Whenever possible, buy organic sea vegetables.

Vegetarian Miso Soup with Dulse Flakes

Ingredients:dulse soup

  • 6 cups filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon crushed pepper
  • 5-6 shitake mushrooms
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 package of firm organic tofu
  • 5 medium green onions
  • 2 tablespoons dulse flakes.
  • 1/2 cup, or 8 tablespoons white miso paste
  • Optional: Serve soup with buckwheat noodles
  1.  In a small bowl, dilute the miso with 1/2 cup of water. You can do this by using a spoon to mix the miso up until it’s completely diluted.
  2. Cut the zucchini into circles and shitake mushrooms into skinny strips. Cut the onions in pieces. Set these ingredients aside.
  3. Combine the ingredients in a large pot with the water. Cook at a low temperature and simmer for 15-20 minutes until vegetables are tender.
  4. Sprinkle dulse flakes on at the end. Serve immediately.

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