Does Autumn have a negative effect on your skin, hair and nails? Eat seaweed for a healthy cold season!

In Autumn and Winter we can have problems getting hold of not just enough Vitamin D, usually reaching us as sunlight, but also Vitamin C, Iron, Vitamin A and Selenium. All of these contribute to immunity as well as strong hair, nails and vibrant skin.

Although you can take multivitamins, studies have shown that these are less effective than consuming vitamins naturally through food! Luckily, sea vegetables have a wealth of vitamins and I can show you how to transform them into a delicious dish.

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Dulse (rhymes with “pulse”) is a red-colored seaweed that can be eaten fresh or dried, and while its savoury, salty flavor might even remind you of bacon, it is incredibly rich in vitamins! In fact, this nutrient-rich form of red alga has been an important food for more than a thousand years in various parts of the world. While dulse has its own unique qualities, these are very similar to many other seaweeds, so you can exchange one for the other and still retain healthy skin, hair, nails and even bones and teeth!

I pick up dulse from Clearspring and Yutaka, either in selected supermarkets such as Waitrose or Whole Foods, or online here.


Dulse helps you to….

Build strong bone density: The minerals found in pulse include calcium, magnesium and iron to keep bones, hair, teeth and nails strong – and protect joints and tissues into old age.

Retain Collagen: Vitamin C is also very important in building collagen for healthy skin.

Maintain strong nails and hair: With its strong selenium and iron levels.

Digest Well: Like most seaweeds, pulse is rich in fibre so it helps you to digest – something that can be problematic in winter with central heating and when we drink less water, and good digestion is also important for avoiding bloating as well as staying slim.

See in the dark: Well, not quite – although in winter light levels are lower! The vitamin A found in dulse makes it an ideal solution for vision problems. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant and prevents free radicals from damaging the tissues of the eye, and can even slow the development of cataracts.

Maintain normal thyroid gland health: Best to keep an eye on all year round, people can forget about the thyroid gland which – when acting up – can cause tiredness as well as a stream of more serious problems. A lack of coding can often be the explanation for this, and dulse (and all other seaweeds) are unique vegetables in that they are incredibly rich in this mineral. 

Improve circulation: Do you ever experience cold extremities, or even blood loss in your fingers and toes? This is common in winter, but the vast amount of iron in dulse  maintains the production of haemoglobin for circulation, and also staves off anaemia. 

Keep your mind sharp: The polyunsaturated fats in dulse are great for heart health and even help your brain and nervous system to stay strong – great for a winter-time tiredness.

Keep up your antioxidants: Many of the vitamins and minerals found in dulse protect against free radicals, preventing of chronic disease and even cancer.

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Try out dulse in my nutrient rich, Dulse & Avocado Salad with Ume Dressing!

Here, I’m using dulse with rich & creamy avocado and tangy Umeboshi for a balanced and beautiful dish.

Ingredients:

50g dried dulse
100g sugar snap peas
2 avocado
1 white onion
1 tbsp salt for rubbing onion
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 sheet of deep fried tofu

Ume Dressing

2-3 tbsp Umeboshi puree
4 tbsp mirin
2 tbsp
clear honey
1 tbsp tamari soy sauce

1. Soak dulse in cold water for 10-15 minutes and then squeeze water out.
2. Blanch sugar snap peas in salted boiling water for 1 minute then drain under cold running water until cold. Cut peas down the middle lengthways.
3. Cut avocado into half first then take the stone out and peel. Cut into segments.
4. Slice onion into half first and then slice them very thinly along the fibre. Place in a large bowl and add salt and rub vigorously until very soft and wet. Rinse it very well until salty taste has gone. Squeeze water out.
5. Thinly slice the deep fried tofu and quickly fry in a dry pan until dry and crispy.
6. Mix all the ingredients for Umeboshi sauce in a large mixing bowl, until sticky and shiny.
7. Add dulse and sugar snap peas to Umeboshi sauce bowl and mix well, add the avocado, onion and sesame seeds and gently toss.
8. Dish up the whole salad and sprinkle with your crispy tofu ribbons.

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