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Edible Red Algae; types and properties

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

Edible seaweed has become an increasingly common food in healthy diets. Algae have a multitude of properties and that is why they are increasingly used in gastronomy anywhere in the world. Not only Asians eat seaweed, every time we find seaweed in the dishes of the most prestigious restaurants, and they have no lack of reasons to incorporate them into the kitchen, since they are very healthy foods .

Seaweed is part of the diet of millions of people, in our gastronomy they became known due to the expansion of sushi , but we can already find them in various dishes such as salads with seaweed and even jellies made with seaweed.

The Romans, Vikings, Gauls and Celts alike have consumed algae and have used them to remineralize and charge their bodies with energy and nutrients. The consumption of algae among Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian tribes and peoples also stands out, taking advantage of its multiple restorative and remineralizing properties.

What are algae?

We all know what algae are, but technically an algae is an organism that is capable of carrying out oxygenic photosynthesis and obtaining organic carbon through the energy of the sun in an aquatic environment.

They can be unicellular or multicellular and usually live in the aquatic environment. They are part of the marine and aquifer flora of a multitude of different ecosystems where they develop.

Next we are going to talk about the different types of edible algae that we find in the market, also known as sea ​​vegetables , they provide us with a multitude of properties and are very beneficial for health. We will begin to see the types that exist and the properties they have and why we should consume them.

Types of algae

They are classified into three large groups commonly known as brown algae ( Phylum Heterokontophyta or Phaeophita ), red algae ( Phylum Rhodophyta ) and blue-green algae ( Chlorophyta ). Within these three groups we find both seaweed, that is, salt water, and freshwater river algae.

It is estimated that there are around 27,000 species described in the world between marine and freshwater, with more marine species than freshwater.

Are algae healthy?

Edible algae have been consumed in different cuisines of the planet since ancient times, they were consumed by our ancestors for their multiple properties that benefit our health, nutritional properties that make algae an exceptional food for our body.

All ancient populations used algae along with other vegetables as the main dish of their daily diet as a restorative. Those who have used algae the most throughout history are the Japanese, in fact they currently consume more than they can produce.

We must also emphasize that your body, unlike ours, is prepared to consume algae on a daily basis in your meals. They also took advantage of its medicinal and therapeutic properties in addition to its nutritional contribution.

They are nutritious, remineralizing , they provide us with vitamins, and depending on the type they are, they can have a multitude of properties such as anti-inflammatory, anticancer, are low in fat, low in calories, cleansing and detoxifying , and to a fair extent, healthy. We will start by talking about red algae, the second largest group of edible algae.

Red algae, Rodophyta

Red algae are known as the Rodophyta division , this group is characterized by using a red pigment that is very resistant to the sun, which is why they develop in great depths, even where the light is very dim. Their great sensitivity to the sun allows them to photosynthesize even in low light. Its reddish color, and sometimes even purple tones, is due to the high concentration of beta – carotene and phycoerythrin , powerful antioxidants .

It is the second largest group of algae, behind green algae, with around 7,000 different species, mostly marine algae , although there are around 165 freshwater species.

Although it is true, although their pigment is very sensitive to the sun, some of them need a lot of light to develop, such as dunaliella salina.

Properties of red algae

We provide vitamins of group A and  C . They mainly provide us with high amounts of iron , potassium , phosphorus , calcium and flavonoids , beta carotenes , omega 3 and 6, in addition to a multitude of amino acids.

Red algae provide us with a large amount of dietary fiber which improves digestion, and they are also highly detoxifying.

They stimulate the metabolism, reduce the incidence of cholesterol, regulate blood pressure and are used in many diets to lose weight .

They also have alkalizing , depurative, antitumor properties, are considered anticancer and rank first in antioxidant content , thus preventing premature cell aging and are also used in many cosmetic products to improve the skin .

They have a multitude of properties generically but in particular there are some that are even more complete.
Discover the properties of each of the algae by clicking on the image.

Precautions in the consumption of algae

They are healthy, always in small quantities , remember that our body is not prepared to ingest high amounts of algae since sometimes we can exceed the contribution of heavy metals that we are able to eliminate from our body.

If you have hyperthyroidism problems, consult your endocrine specialist, as well as if you have any thyroid problem since algae contain a large amount of iodine and can alter your controls and thyroid activity.

Recipes with algae

If you are thinking of including seaweed in your diet, you can check here the 10 best recipes with seaweed . In this post we offer you a compilation of recipes with different algae, do not hesitate to consult it by clicking on the link.

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