Algae have been known to have successfully lived on earth for a very long time. Although many people don’t realize it, there are many different species of algae. They are classified into different groups depending on their pigments, structure, and function.
Some of the most common species include Euglenophyta (euglenoids), Chlorophyta (green algae), Xanthophyta (yellow-green algae), Phaeophyta (brown algae), and Rhodophyta (red algae).
With the numerous varieties available, algae are widespread in countries with vast coastlines, including the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. Despite their abundance, the uses and benefits of these plants are still unknown to many.
Dulse is a kind of red algae that are usually attached to rocks with the aid of a short stem. This plant, like seaweed, has broad and red colored leaves that normally flow freely into the breaking waves. Other nutrient rich algae include chlorella and kelp.
During ancient times, it was perfectly legal to collect strands of dulse from rocky shorelines. The harvested dulse was prepared and used as garnishes or food ingredients. Historical records even reveal that it was sometimes given as a special gift to kings. Even without the knowledge of the benefits the red leaves gave, it was still known to be a unique plant.
It is just recently that a lot of people have started to appreciate the many benefits that dulse has to offer. Studies revealed that this species of red algae is densely packed with nutrients that are beneficial to human health.
Dulse may be consumed in many ways. It can be eaten fresh, smoked, fried, or even sprinkled into salads or soups. It can also be dried, pulverized, and added to supplements to provide complete substitutes and produce optimum performance, like in nootropic supplements.
The Benefits of Dulse
- Packed with vitamins and minerals
- Enriched with polyunsaturated fatty acids
- Rich in protein
- Good source of iodine
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Vitamins and Minerals
Dulse is packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for the body. These provide several benefits to the different parts of the body. Some of the vitamins and minerals found in dulse include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
Promotes Eye Care, Healthy Teeth, and Clearer Skin
The high levels of Vitamin A in dulse make it an ideal solution to several eye problems. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant that reduces the free radicals that can cause harmful damage, especially in the eye tissues. It prevents macular degeneration and even slows down the development of cataracts due to aging. These benefits make it an all-around vision booster.
Dulse can also provide enough Vitamin A to help build and maintain healthier teeth, clearer skin, and softer tissues. This allows better management and functioning of the body with reduced worry of incurring inflammation and other damages.
Boosts the Immune System
Rich in Vitamin C, which is the key component to the immune system, dulse increases white blood cell count. This essential vitamin plays a very important role in the production of collagen in the body and is the easiest and most accessible way to keep the immune system in working order.
Builds Stronger Bones
Calcium, iron, and magnesium are essential minerals to keep the bone density strong and healthy. As people grow older, the need to maintain robust bones also increases in order to prevent diseases like osteoporosis. As we age, we slowly lose the innate strength of our bones due to mineral loss, and one way to combat brittleness over time is to ensure that we have a steady source of bone forming minerals, such as are found in regular dulse-containing food or supplements. Aside from strengthening our bones, these minerals also help in protecting your joints and tissues.
Improves Muscle Function and Blood Flow
In addition to bone health, iron also plays a great role in keeping the muscles happy. It is essential for the production of red blood cells, which are responsible for the transport of oxygen in the body. Iron is one of the essential components of hemoglobin, which is the part of red blood cells that attract oxygen and carry it around the body to areas where it is needed.
The lack of iron in our diet can disrupt the production of hemoglobin and red blood cells and may lead to the development of iron deficiency anemia. Dulse contains iron that can help ensure that the body receives the right amount of iron it needs to keep itself healthy.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Dulse is rich in potassium, which is known to be a natural vasodilator. This means the size of blood vessels, specifically their caliber, increases, which in turn decreases blood pressure. This decrease in pressure reduces the strain and damage to blood vessels. In the same manner, other health conditions are prevented, including atherosclerosis, heart disease, heart attack, and even stroke.
Enhances Brain Functions
Potassium improves the flow of blood to the brain, which ensures that there is an unobstructed flow of blood and nutrients to brain tissues. With improved blood flow, neural tissue improves the speed of nerve transmission and communication between synapses thus enhancing cognitive processing. Much like how your muscles have greater force output with increased blood flow from greater oxygenation.
Enriched with Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFAs)
Dulse contains two interesting and definitely important fatty acids, omega 3 and omega 6. These play a great role in maintaining a healthy heart. They also help in regulating several body functions, including an increased rate of blood clotting and proper functioning of the nervous system.
Some studies also reveal that these fatty acids are responsible for proper functioning of the brain. According to these studies, high levels of omega 3 fatty acids help in improving various brain functions and mechanisms. This leads to better memory and improved concentration. The high concentration of PUFAs in dulse enhance brain activity towards better performance.
Rich in Protein
More than 20% of each serving of fresh dulse (21.5 grams out of 3.5 ounces serving size) includes a huge chunk of your daily requirement of protein. Having dulse can complement your regular serving of meat and vegetables. This can also be a great source for vegetarians as an alternative to their usual vegetable protein.
Fiber is an essential part of our diet as it keeps our digestive system working more regularly. The fiber moves along the digestive tract, bulking up the stool and attracting liquid, which ensures the right amount of stimulation of the bowels to maintain proper motility and to ensure easier passage. You can get your daily fiber needs from a diet containing dulse, which, as with any other seaweed, contains high amounts.
Good Source of Iodine
The sea is rich with food that are full of iodine, and that includes algae and seaweed such as red dulse. Iodine is an essential nutrient that the thyroid uses to create hormones. These hormones regulate many bodily functions, such as metabolism. Proper functioning of the thyroid is maintained by the right amount of iodine.
Dulse Side Effects
Dulse can be eaten as a food item, either on its own or added to other recipes. The sources should be trusted suppliers to ensure there are no contaminants, that the handling is sanitary, and that areas, where these are harvested, are free from harmful materials. There are preparations of dulse as a supplement and these may be taken as natural sources of nutrients in lieu of other supplements. Even if taken as a natural source, it is still recommended that a consultation with a health professional is done.
Still, as with any vitamin, take care when eating this food or taking these supplements.
Those with any form of thyroid disorder should take care due to the high iodine content found in dulce, as this may worsen your condition instead. As with everything else, consult a health professional before taking in high amounts of this food or its supplements.
Those with existing seafood allergies should take care when eating dulse or when taking its supplements. An allergic reaction may occur once you eat dulse, especially if you have had an allergic reaction before. It’s better to avoid this if that is the case.
It is also advised for people not to eat dulse when they have cardiac problems or sodium retention, or if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Recap of Dulse
With the emergence of more clinical studies, we get to understand better what we stand to gain from dulse. For now, we know that it is packed with many nutrients that are beneficial to our health.
Dulse is usually full of nutrients and vitamins, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, protein, fiber, and iodine.
This seaweed has Vitamin A and C in it. It has calcium, chromium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. Vitamins A can help with improving or maintaining a healthy eyesight. Our teeth and skin are healthier because of this vitamin. For our immune system, vitamin C can be a real asset. This vitamin can help maintain the appropriate level of white blood cell count.
Calcium, iron, and magnesium are all essential in keeping bone mineral density high, ensuring that our bones remain strong and healthy. Bone mineral density is the mineral content of the bone which determines its innate strength. The lesser the density is, the weaker it becomes, which is what happens with osteoporosis. The elderly are particularly susceptible to bone mineral losses, making their bones brittle and weak. Providing a steady source of these nutrients to your body ensures your bones don’t fall short of what they need to stay strong.
Iron also has other important functions in the body aside from helping keep the bones healthy It ensures that muscle and blood functions are at its maximum. Iron is one of the components of heme found in hemoglobin and myoglobin, found within the circulating blood and within the muscles respectively. These help bring oxygen to where it is needed. Without iron, the body cannot produce heme, and the body's ability to carry oxygen to the whole body is impaired. An adequate supply of iron in the diet can help ensure that the body functions at its optimum.
Potassium is also found in dulse, which can keep the blood vessels dilated, or vasodilation. With this, your blood pressure can decrease. Maintaining normal blood pressure ensures that the blood vessels are not damaged with constant exposure to high pressures brought about by hypertension. The risk of developing health conditions that can come from high blood pressure are decreased when hypertension is controlled. These are diseases such as atherosclerosis, heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
Potassium improves the blood flow to the brain, and that ensures that there is an adequate delivery of nutrients to the brain tissues which also improves its overall function. The brain works best when it is supplied well with nutrients.
There are also PUFAs, or polyunsaturated fatty acids, two of which are omega 3 and omega 6. Together, these two improve brain functions and mechanisms, which include better memory and improved concentration. A steady supply of these polyunsaturated fatty acids can enhance the brain’s overall performance.
Dulse is a good source of protein and may be combined with more typical protein sources such as meat and collagen. It may also be combined with other vegetables. This can serve as an alternative protein source for vegetarians who may be considering other sources of protein other than their regular vegetables.
The fiber content of dulse is also high, making it a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber helps maintain a regular bowel movement or can ensure ease of bowel movement by bulking up stool and keeping its moisture content adequate.
And, like any seafood, dulse contains high amounts of iodine and can be a good source of this nutrient. Iodine is necessary for the production of thyroid hormones which regulate many of the body's functions.
Where Can I Buy Nootropic Supplements that Contains Dulse Nutrients?
Dulse is available in vitamin shops and health food stores near you. Primary online stores also offer several brands from which to choose.
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