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Types of edible seaweed

by Georgia Ede
Published: Last Updated on

What are algae?

There is no modern menu that does not contain this precious food , seaweed has become part of our most current gastronomy, and with the properties they have, it is inevitable to succumb to the oriental charm of seaweed and its multiple health benefits.

Algae are part of the vegetation of our seas and rivers, they also exist in lakes and salt flats. These plants that grow underwater and are capable of photosynthesis in the aquatic environment , are very diverse, there are many species, ranging from microscopic unicellular organisms to multicellular groups that form large colonies.

There are algae that live in very diverse habitats , as well as there are species that live in symbiosis with other animals, fungi and other plants; This is the case of lichens that join other algae, corals and plants to develop.

We are going to focus on edible algae , above all, since they are those that provide us the most benefits.

Types of edible seaweed

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.

What do seaweed give us?

We must differentiate between the contributions of algae if we consume them, and the contributions of algae to our planet. In the first place, it should be noted that, without consuming them, algae provide us with large amounts of oxygen and participate in around half of the global photosynthesis processes.

Algae are part of the livelihood of both the flora and fauna of our oceans and rivers, as well as ponds and ponds. They serve as food for animals that later serve as food for us.

There algae edible and inedible , those that are edible, we can say that we provide lots of nutrients necessary for our health, especially minerals. On the other hand, they hardly provide us with calories and their fat content is low.

Although, we have to take into account that our body is not fully prepared for a high intake of algae, since they contain a lot of iodine and other heavy metals that we do not know how to eliminate well the excess from our body; For this reason, a controlled and occasional consumption is recommended .

You wonder why the Japanese eat so much seaweed and nothing happens to them? We must say in this regard that the intestinal flora of the Japanese is not the same as ours, we must emphasize that the diet of the Japanese is full of algae but always in small quantities and that their digestive tract is used to its consumption.

We have made a compilation of the best edible algae, with its properties, benefits and even recipes. For a correct grouping of the algae, we have decided to order them according to the group to which they belong based on their color. That is, green-blue, brown or red algae, always in the case of edible algae and with a multitude of properties.

Classification of seaweed by color

Although we have organized the algae by their color, it is worth highlighting the properties that the algae of the different groups have in common.

Seaweed is alkalizing , nutritious, helps us detoxify the body, antioxidants , is low in fat and low in calories, has anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties .

Others help us more specifically to reduce cholesterol levels, but all in themselves are antioxidants and prevent premature cell aging, which is important and interesting for our body.

Of course, we must always emphasize that our body is not prepared for its digestion, and in large quantities they can be less healthy than we imagine, since algae usually have high amounts of heavy metals that can alter our health. As long as they are consumed in small quantities, there is no risk to our health.

Green or green algae

Blue-green algae, known as the Chlorophyta group, is the majority group of algae whose bluish-green color is characteristic for the presence of chlorophyll. The pigment that is used by this type of algae to carry out photosynthesis.

The green pigment is one of the least sensitive to light , which is why these algae develop in places of small depths , never at great depths since this makes it impossible to carry out photosynthesis. among which we highlight the following:

Sea spaghetti

This algae, which is part of the group of blue-green algae, is a delicious algae, whose flavor may remind us of that of cuttlefish and whose culinary possibilities are multiple. It has a powerful flavor, it is full of nutrients that can help us in cases of anemia or hypertension, it provides us with vitamins and minerals and also strengthens the immune system. If you want to know more about sea spaghetti you can click here .

Klamath or algae AFA

Klamath algae, also known as AFA algae, is an algae that grows in fresh waters with a multitude of beneficial properties for our health. It provides us with trace elements and essential nutrients such as vitamins, beta carotenes, essential amino acids and other compounds that are very useful and healthy. It contains a multitude of antioxidants that provide us with benefits, it also has antiviral properties, it also modulates lipids and glucose metabolism. If you want to know more information about the so-called love seaweed, click here .


Spirulina algae is one of the first algae to spread in the West, its many benefits make it a very valuable algae. Its alkalizing power, its proteins of high biological value, its low calorie content have made it one of the most used in diets due to its properties related to the digestive system.

We also have to take into account that it has many beneficial properties to keep brain healthy in shape, avoiding the degeneration produced by the passage of time. If you want to know more about the properties of spirulina alga you can find out here .


Chlorella algae is the star algae for those who seek to detoxify the body, as it is one of the most powerful for this. It strengthens the immune system providing energy, it also provides us with antioxidants that protect us from premature cell aging and the action of free radicals. It also helps regulate blood pressure and facilitates digestion. It intervenes in the recovery and healing of tissues due to its cellular recovery action. If you want to know more about Chlorella vulgaris click here .


Wakame seaweed has become very fashionable in recent years due to its peculiar flavor, short cooking time and its properties.

Helps the immune system, contributes to cell regeneration, due to its antioxidant action. It is purifying and helps us to clean the circulatory system. It is used in a slimming diet for its metabolism-stimulating function. If you want to know more about the Wakame seaweed you can see everything you need to know here .

Alga Kelp

Kelp seaweed is one of the great unknowns. It is known as the algae of youth, since it contains high amounts of antioxidants, intervenes in the construction and regeneration of muscles, helps to detoxify the body due to its high amount of dietary fiber that improves digestion. It is also low in calories and helps us to take care of cardiovascular health, improving cholesterol.

If you want to know all its properties, click here, on the link.

Red algae

The group of red algae is characterized by using a red pigment to carry out photosynthesis. This pigment is the most sensitive to light, so these algae can grow deeper than green and brown algae, even in places where the light is very dim. This is the second largest group, red algae, among which we highlight the following:

Alga Dulse

Dulse seaweed is a powerful antioxidant that is recommended in cases of anemia, when we need Iron (Fe) since its concentrations are high. They are the poorest algae in sodium and calories, which is why they are very interesting to nutritionally complete a menu. It has large amounts of fiber, which is highly recommended in degenerative diseases of the intestinal tract. If you want to know all the properties that dulse alga has to offer, you can see it here .

Dunaliella salina

Dunaliella salina is an algae that grows in ponds and salt flats, it needs high concentrations of salt and a great solar presence to develop. It is the algae with the highest concentration of beta-carotene, one of the most precious antioxidants, which is why it is used in many cosmetic products. It cannot be consumed naturally since the algae is microscopic so we must consume it in powder or capsules. If you want to know more about dunaliella salina, click on the link .


These algae are one of the most widely used in our kitchen and their use is becoming more and more widespread. Agar agar is a red algae that is subjected to several filtration processes until it is edible, that is when it becomes transparent. It has a multitude of properties, but its use is known for its culinary properties as a thickener and gelling agent. If you want to know more about agar agar click on the link .


Brown algae

Brown algae are characterized by using the yellowish or brownish pigment for photosynthesis. This yellowish molecule is more sensitive to light than chlorophyll, a pigment used by green algae, so it can grow deeper . The minority group is the  Phaeophyta group (pheophytes) or brown algae in which we highlight the importance of the following algae:


Kombu seaweed is highly remineralizing, with a rather sweet peculiar flavor, which makes it easier to introduce it into our gastronomy. It provides us with a large amount of vitamins and minerals that are necessary for proper health. It also has the property of preventing the absorption of radioactive components. If you want to know more about the properties of Kombu seaweed, click on the link .

Hijiki o Hiziki

Hijiki seaweed, also known as Hiziki, is a fine brown seaweed that grows forming bushes, its multiple properties have made its expansion unstoppable, in addition to its powerful sea flavor, it fills us with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, beta-carotenes and trace elements. It is recommended in cases of anemia and osteoporosis, due to its large amount of calcium (Ca). If you want to know more about the properties of Hijiki seaweed and how to prepare it, click here .


This is one of the largest algae that we can find, an algae with a great history in Chilean gastronomy and that provides us with a large amount of vitamins and minerals. With its meaty texture, it is very easy to incorporate it into any stew in order to benefit from its multiple properties. It is antibacterial, reduces cholesterol, is digestive, is used for people with hypertension or cardiovascular problems and other pathologies. You can discover more properties of the cochayuyo by clicking here .

Seaweed consumption precautions

This is a small compilation of the most common edible algae , so that you can discover their properties and incorporate them into your kitchen, always in small quantities. Remember that our body is not prepared to ingest large amounts of algae, due to the presence of heavy metals in them.

If you have any pathology related to accelerated metabolism you should not consume seaweed either. Consult with your endocrinologist before, whether you suffer from hyperthyroidism (in this case they are not recommended), or if you suffer from hypothyroidism (since in many cases they are recommended).

In its fair measure, algae are a complete, nutritious and healthy food, but in excess it can be unfit for health.

How to prepare the seaweed?

If after reading the multiple properties of edible algae you still do not know how to introduce them into the diet, here is a compilation of recipes with algae, so that you can discover the food of the future and introduce it into your menu with delicious recipes.

In a simple way, these recipes with seaweed explain how to rehydrate the seaweed and cook it so that it forms part of different dishes. You will find recipes with the algae that we have explained to you, different types of dishes, so that you can choose the one that best suits your tastes and preferences.

To see the best 10 recipes with seaweed , you can check the post here .

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