Seaweed are classified by colour into 3 broad groups : Reds, Browns & Greens.
All seaweed have many things in common (like the high concentration in minerals, vitamins & trace elements), but each group & each seaweed also has some unique qualities. As an example, the Brown Seaweed are the best source of natural iodine in nature; the Reds & Greens also contain iodine but in much smaller quantities, but are much higher in vegetarians proteins than the Browns. Trying and eating a variety of seaweed from different groups is as important as sampling a wide variety of land vegetables – they each have their nutritional strength and unique flavours.
A very good way to start putting sea vegetable variety in your diet is to use a seaweed mixture like Furikake. It is the Japanese word for ‘seasoning’ , and like make others (sushi, nori, kombu) the word Furikake is making its way into the English language. This condiment adds visual interest, flavour and aroma to dishes, in addition to stimulating digestion and enriching the nutritional value of the meal. Used as a replacement for salt, it is a delicious way to reduce sodium while adding calcium, magnesium, iron, protein, and fibre to the diet. In addition to the important nutrients provided by the seaweed, the sesame seeds contain two unique substances: sesamin and sesamolin. Both of these substances belong to a group of special beneficial fibres called lignans, and have been shown to have a cholesterol-lowering effect in humans and help prevent high blood pressure. They have also been shown to increase vitamin E supplies in tests on animals. Sesame seeds are also highly valued for their oil, which is exceptionally resistant to rancidity. While traditional Japanese Furikake contains bonito flakes and MSG to preserve flavour & colour, Pacific Harvest’s Furikake is vegan and totally natural. It is made of 5 types of seaweed (some from each colour group), therefore providing an extensive range of nutrients, in addition to the extract & dried pieces of Chilli, Citrus or Garlic.
Nori can be found in a similar context. Lots of people are keen on sushi wraps – they like the flavour and are convinced that it is a healthy food, because it is seaweed! Little do they realise that the seaweed in the sheets is highly processed then glazed with flavoured salty mixtures to make the sheet shiny, salty and resistant to moisture. New Zealand’s nori, Karengo, is raw and largely unprocessed. It is harvested, cleaned and packaged by hand. It therefore retains all the goodness from the clean sea where it is harvested, and will keep for a long time provided it is kept dry and away from direct light.
When looking for seaweed products, try & find what has been done to them. You will get the best natural taste & nutrition if you choose products that are raw and as close as possible to their natural form.
Follow the link to find out more about Pacific Harvest’s Furikake range.