Palmaria palmata, or dulse is reddish brown and is accounted a delicacy by many. It has doubtless been harvested for many, many a century but the earliest recording of it is 1400 years ago. Icelandic peoples also used it from early times. In Nova Scotia it is called Sea Parsley and is sold fresh. The Irish call it “dilisk” or “dillisk” and you can buy it as a snack food in some pubs.
Edible seaweed has a long history of use in different Asian cultures. It’s easy to harvest and the plant has been around for thousands of years in its current form. There are records suggesting Japanese cultures began cultivating red seaweed as far back as 300 years ago. Edible seaweed like Dulse, kelp, and others gained attention from researchers in the 1990′s when it was discovered that many Asian populations that were notable for long lifespans and lack of chronic diseases used sea vegetables more frequently in their diet than westerners.
Overall, dulse and other sea vegetables are notable for their high mineral and protein content, particularly iron and potassium. At its highest levels of concentration Dulse has 34 times as much potassium as a banana. Not too shabby.
Dulse has an unusually high concentration of different minerals. One study found a total of 112 different minerals and trace elements in a collection of red seaweed from northern Spain. Minerals with the highest concentrations are copper, zinc, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. One study found that dulse had potassium concentrations 34 times higher than a banana. In fact, the potassium content was so high that it’s advised patients with renal conditions consult a doctor or dietician before using dulse in your diet.
For a vegetable, dulse has an unusually large amount of poly-unsaturated fatty acids. Moreso than green seaweeds. Furthermore, dulse has an unusually high concentration of EPA and DHA, which are omega-3 fatty acids most commonly found in fish. The ratio of n-6/n3 fatty acids in dulse is close to 1, which is believed to be optimal.
A variety of studies suggest that edible seaweeds (including dulse) have strong anti-oxidative properties that prevent unhealthy cell proliferation.
The variability of nutritional value in dulse is very high.
Dulse has a high protein content for a vegetable, but it’s not absorbed very well. In an unusual twist, protein absorption increases after manufacturing because absorption is inhibited by non-soluble fibers that bind to the protein in its natural state but are broken up when being processed. This is a process carefully attended to in Female Blessing + Plus.
Also, compared to other foods, the overall level of research on red seaweed in general and dulse in particular is small. More common ingredients like spinach, broccoli, and garlic have been studied much more extensively. Furthermore, there’s not a lot of research that analyzes the changes in nutritional value of dulse throughout the manufacturing process and how different brands, manufacturing processes, or growing conditions might affect the types of dulse you buy in food products.
The purported health benefits of Dulse more or less ring true. Its fatty acid, mineral, and polyphenol composition make it unique. For vegetarians especially its a remarkable source of different nutrients that are hard to find elsewhere, even in nutritional behemoths like spinach or broccoli.
Dulse is exceptionally nutritious, containing around 10 – 20% protein and a whole slew of vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, iron and beta carotene (which the body uses to manufacture vitamin A.