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Why Use Seaweed in Your Cooking?

Why choose seaweed? After all, there are lots of other foods out there which are good for you. Watercress, for example – packed with calcium. Cocoa beans – oozing antioxidants. So why seaweed?

Lots of reasons!

Besides the health benefits seaweed can provide, there are some great culinary reasons to use seaweed:

   Salt Substitute
   Umami
   Flavour Enhancer
   Preservative
   (there is more information below on each of these)

But more than these, we believe its down to the fact that in just one product, taken in a relatively small amount (which is incredibly easy to add to lots of other food), so many benefits can be gained – not just nutritionally, but a huge array of other health benefits, as well as taste enhancement, its effect on the environment, its sustainability. There is no preparation required – no washing of leaves or worries about it losing its nutrient content within 3 months, no wondering how to incorporate it into a meal. No other food ticks so many boxes.

Did you know seaweed has:
   2x more vitamin C than orange juice;
   10x more calcium than cows milk;
   50x iron than spinach.

Overall, seaweed is 10-20 times more nutritionally dense than land vegetables and it is the most mineralised plant on the planet.
It can be an everyday condiment, just a sprinkle is all it takes to supercharge your food, adding goodness and taste to all your cooking.

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On researching the product, we were not only bowled over with enormous range of benefits that this product brings but also shocked at some of the things we learned.

For instance:

- Iodine. Did you know that most people in the UK are iodine deficient, especially women? In 2012 a study by Bristol and Surrey Universities found 75% of pregnant women were iodine deficient and that babies deprived of iodine are 50% more likely to be in the lowest quartile for intelligence by the age of 8? Why isn't this more widely known as a major public health issue?

- Declining food nutrition – a recent study looked at the mineral content of 72 foods between 1940 and 1991 and found that farmed meat lost 41% of its calcium and 54% of its iron and vegetables lost an average of 50% of its calcium, 25% of its iron and magnesium, 76% of its copper and 59% of its zinc. So even if you are eating a healthy diet of fresh ingredients, there has been a drastic reduction in the nutrient content over the years. And this study only compared up to 1991, since then there has been further expansion of the convenience processed food market, further impacting on our nutritional intake.

- the effect of sugar (even artificial sweeteners) and simple carbohydrates, rather than fat, on obesity and insulin levels and the burgeoning incidence of diabetes. There is ongoing research on the effect of seaweed on insulin reactions when seaweed is added to food.

- the importance of gut health – not just with regards to IBS and coeliac disease, but also links with mental health, autism, alzheimers and diabetes.

These are just a few of the things we've learned on our seaweed odyssey! Please have a browse around the media articles section and the academic links we have posted for more details on all of these points, and how seaweed can help.

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The health benefits to one side, seaweed is great in your cooking because:

Salt Substitute

Salt is known to increase hypertension, heart disease and stroke and everyone is under pressure to reduce salt in their diet. Seaweed is currently being used as a salt substitute in some of the worlds leading food brands. The sodium content of seaweed is 3½% compared to 45% in table salt. This means that for anyone looking to reduce salt, seaweed is a natural healthy alternative. It can be used as a partial or complete replacement, without a perceived reduction in salt taste. However it can be used in sweet dishes too, without making them taste salty!

A great starting point is to cut the amount of salt you would usually use by half, and then add an equal amount of FlaVit Seasoning – it does depend upon the dish, but we find that with most dishes we can completely cut out the salt!

Umami and Flavour Enhancer

The Japanese term Umami is used to describe the 'fifth taste' after sweet, sour, salty and bitter. It adds an 'unctuousness' to food – similar to the effect of adding Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) but without the bad stuff!

As well as the Umami effect, it also brings out the flavours of the foods its added to – either savoury or sweet. It adds a richness and depth to savoury foods while melding into sweet ingredients – don't worry, cakes are not going to taste of seaweed (unless you're very heavy handed)!

Preservative

Our seaweed has been proven as a natural preservative in the making of foods, extending shelf life for such things as bread, cheese and sausages, acting in a similar way to salt. There is ongoing research into the anti-microbial power of seaweed.

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We believe that everyone should be aware of the amazing benefits that seaweed brings - not just for their health but for the culinary benefits too. Seaweed should be a part of everyone's diet, everyday – not just reserved for the gourmet chefs and Eastern cuisine. We would love to see it used in every kitchen – domestic, restaurants, schools, hospitals, care homes.. everyone should be eating seaweed!

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