By Carol Kendig
First, let me admit I am not an authority on algae or seaweed. If you combine these two species together there are over 350,000 varieties of collected species throughout the world and new species are frequently discovered. However, as a consistent user of kelp and dulse in my own diet and those of my dogs for over 50 years, I have some knowledge and experience with these incredible sea vegetables.
What is Dulse?
Dulse refers to a few varieties of red seaweed or red algae and I have seen it referred to as both. These varieties have been used in human diets and animal diets for at least 500 years, probably longer. The crisp, slightly salty taste of Dulse is pleasant and reminiscent of bacon. None of my dogs have ever objected to the addition of this powder to their food, and the health benefits of Dulse are many. It builds strong bones, safely regulates blood pressure and increases blood circulation, helps prevent thyroid diseases, boosts immunity, and strengthens the nervous system. With high levels of natural Vitamin A, specifically good for eye health and immunity, Dulse’s healthy fiber content also aids digestion.
What is Carrageenan?
When food scientists tinker with whole foods, fractionating them apart, they can create problems. This seems to be the case with Carrageenan, a polysaccharide extracted from Dulse by heat and an alkaline solution. Dulse in its’ whole natural form is not heat or alkaline treated so no carrageenan is formed. Carrageenan must be labelled as such on any edible products for humans or pets. If you see “Dulse” listed as an ingredient, you are getting the whole, natural product. If “Carrageenan” is listed on the ingredient panel you are getting the fractionated, heated and treated product, which is a controversial ingredient. At this time, Carrageenan is USDA approved and widely used in the human food chain for its’ gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. There seems to be valid arguments both pro and con for this ingredient and the studies done on it, but rest assured that Dulse is NOT Carrageenan and Carrageenan is NOT Dulse. Northwest Naturals is proud to use natural, whole Dulse in our pet foods for its’ valuable nutritional goodness.
Trace Minerals for Pets
Are you worried about you and your pets getting sufficient trace minerals from vegetables grown in today’s depleted soils? Add Kelp and Dulse to your diets. In addition to vitamins and fiber, these sea vegetables are rich in trace minerals such as magnesium, selenium, zinc, potassium, and iodine. Dulse, in its’ natural whole state, is truly a magnificent addition to our diets and our pet’s diets, too.