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Health & Nutrition

Is kelp the new kale?

August 30, 2016
AlgaeIndustryMagazine.com

Barton Siever's new book Superfood Seagreens shows how seaweeds such as kelp, dulse, wakame, and alaria can be incorporated into more than 75 versatile recipes including everything from smoothies and cocktails to salads, pasta dishes, stews and soups, and even breakfast foods and desserts.

Barton Siever’s new book Superfood Seagreens shows how seaweeds such as kelp, dulse, wakame, and alaria can be incorporated into more than 75 versatile recipes including everything from smoothies and cocktails to salads, pasta dishes, stews and soups, and even breakfast foods and desserts.

Fred Bever reports for NPR that “Kelp is the new kale,” according to Barton Seaver, who directs Harvard’s Healthy and Sustainable Food Program. A former D.C.-area chef, he has recently published a seaweed cookbook and sees a bright future for macroalgae.

Their virtues are many, in Mr. Seaver’s eyes: They require no fertilizer, no pesticides, no fresh water, no arable land. Their nutritional profile is admirable, he says, providing healthy doses of iodine as well as potassium, calcium and other micronutrients, protein, soluble fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

And seaweed’s benefits aren’t just for humans, he points out. It’s quick growth means quick carbon dioxide uptake, which can reduce ocean acidification. Seaweed can filter excess nitrogen and phosphorous from the water, too. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-funded project in Washington State’s Puget Sound is aiming to prove that farmed seaweed can create a “protective halo” around stressed sea habitats. It’s not just a sustainable crop, Mr. Seaver says, it’s restorative.

“And that’s a very real difference and a major evolutionary point in the sustainability dialogue,” he says. “We’re not at a point where we’re just focused on doing no harm. We’re really beginning to investigate and discover food production methods that allow us to restore and heal environments. And,” he adds, “it’s delicious.”

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