Comestible Algae: Types, names, properties, and more

In recent years, people from all  countries  have got used to consume different types of Comestible Algae. There are many varieties of this species, which besides having  a delicious flavor, provide multiple properties and benefits for  our body.

Comestible Algae Around The World

The custom of consuming comestible algae comes from the Japanese culture;  but it has gained huge popularity within western countries. As a result, people are eating more algae than a few years ago; although  they don´t  know  what are algae exactly yet.

Algae or seaweed are a  type of vegetables, that can grow both in freshwater and saltwater. They go through the same cycles,  than the terrestrial plants that we know;  this means that they grow, multiply and die without the aid of fertilizers or pesticides.

An important aspect  to keep in mind  about algae, is  that not all of them can be used in gastronomy. In fact only 50 species are edible, from a total of 25,000 species of seaweed that exist in the world. There are differences between most of these species, because despite having about 2,000 million years of existence;  they have been evolving and changing constantly.

What are Marine Algae?

Algae are present in all waters of the world; although there are many of them that also  that develop on land. The cultivation of algae  is developed mostly in coastal areas;   bringing economic benefits to the communities that perform  this activity .  In Latin America, these crops  are not enough developed,  but there are some organizations working in order to improve this system. So,  they are providing help , to fishing communities and giving  a viable option in economic matters.

Before classifying the types of comestible  algae, we must learn  about  them;  which will help us understand all the benefits they provide .

Marine Algae

Marine algae   are merely vegetables organisms,  that can live both in fresh and saltwater. They  don´t  develop  flowers like other terrestrial plants. The algae release substances based on CO2;  and other kind of compounds , that are dissolved in  water.

The main  difference between them and terrestrial  plants;  is that they don´t  develop driving or supporting tissues.  They keep in upright or firm position, because gravity does not interfere on them, since they develop in water.

Classification of Marine Algae.

Blue-green algae

These are plants with large amounts of chlorophyll inside of  them. They are closely linked  to  CyanoBacterias.

Green algae.

These algae have big amounts of chlorophyll and starch and  they are mostly distributed in freshwater, 90% of them.  The remaining 10% live in salty seas. They prefer cold and / or cool zones for their reproduction.

Red algae

These algae have  biliproteins,  that contribute to eliminate the green color  of chlorophyll . They accumulate starch and sulfates like agar among other complements.

Brown algae.

These algae owe their color,  to the presence of big  amounts  of xanthophylls; and the abundance of other pigments, that may appear in the long run.  They only live in salty  water, and they are quite used to prepare emulsions such as fertilizers.  They have a high content of iodine, which is very useful for this purpose.

Benefits of Marine Algae

There are many benefits related to the amazing  properties of these plants. We should start mentioning , the high concentrations of vitamin B12, vitamin E and antioxidants;  which are quite useful for our body. They don´t  absorb pollutants and they are also energetic plants. Their high content of minerals such as iodine, calcium, magnesium, and fiber,  facilitates  the production of natural fertilizers.

They are also employed as natural remedies against constipation, and in strict regimes of alimentation  for problems  in the  thyroid gland.

Types of Comestible Algae

There are 50 types of comestible algae  which provide multiple benefits for the body. They  represent a great complement to our health. Similarly, they are an important element of different types of gastronomies around the world; since they are quite used by the most recognized restaurants in different countries. In this article we’ll show you some types of comestible algae, and the benefits they provide.

Sea Spaghetti

This type of comestible algae, has the scientific name Himanthalia Elongata, but it’s commonly known as sea spaghetti. It is characterized for being very similar to noodles. Its color is yellow with greenish shades.  This species is not very popular in the Eastern countries; but in Europe it’s one of the most consumed.

The sea spaghetti is thick and very fleshy; and  its flavor is not so intense, so it canbe combined very well in different recipes. It has high content of potassium, vitamin C, calcium and iron.

Comestible Algae: Sea Spaghetti

Properties of the Sea Spaghetti.

All algae are rich in calcium, specially the sea spaghetti which is probably the species with the highest content  of this mineral. It provides much more calcium than 100 ml of milk. This is the reason why many doctors and nutritionists prefer to balance the amounts of milk and algae, including this food into the daily diet  especially for elder people.

It is also very effective for athletes, since it’s really useful to equalize the levels of minerals in their bodies, after long and exhausting  competitions or exercises.

Benefits for the Heart

Given their high  content of potassium, these  algae have become really  necessary to achieve a good cardiac function. They are especially  recommended for people who suffer cardiac diseases . It is good to know, that the medicines commonly used to control these  kind of diseases; make the body lose big amounts of potassium. So,  this is the  reason why it is recommended, to consume these algae  periodically, in order to replenish this loss. A single portion per day  is more than enough.

Benefits to lose weight.

All types of comestible algae, are considered as vegetables with high contents  of minerals. This fact makes of them very necessaries, to lose weight in a healthy way. Their high content of nutrients  is ideal for any diet;  as well as they also help  purify the liver and detoxify it properly.

In the case of the sea spaghetti, they are also very beneficial for those who like natural diets, since it has been demonstrated that they are  a  very efficient remedy for hypertension and kidney problems.


They have a high  content of Iron.

The Sea Spaghetti is the alga with the highest content of iron compared with any other one. Although iron which comes from vegetables , is not absorbed  as much as that of  animals; the consumption of this  alga helps balance low iron levels and to combat anemia; if this is the case. It is very recommended,  for people who have lost big amounts of blood.

Useful  for treating thyroid problems

The content of iodine  is another distinctive property of the sea spaghetti. This trace element is very important for the proper functioning of thyroid gland; which controls the  human body metabolic process.

The absence or deficiency of this mineral produces adverse effects such as depresion, constipation weight gain and fatigue. So, its consumption should never be omitted.

Now, we should also mention; that a high consumption of this mineral, will produce the opposite effect. Note that according to specialists , a serving  of 100-200 mcg per day, is enough to fulfill the human body requirements.

In case of hyperthyroidism, it is not advisable to consume this alga; because it is recommended to reduce or even eliminate the consumption of iodine in the usual diet. (See article nori seaweed for further information about the proper consumption of iodine)

Now, we invite you to watch this video to learn more about the Sea Espaghetti

Kombu Seaweed

This is a type of comestible algae which also has amazing benefits. It’s high content of fiber helps purify and strengthen the intestine; as well as it also stimulates the  metabolism. This alga  belongs to the species of kelp algae, which is constituted for a wide variety of specimen.

The consumption of kombu seaweed which began thousand years ago occurs mainly in Japan. It is used as the basis of a famous local broth called dashi;  as well as in many others Japanese dishes. The properties of this seaweed  were shown by Buddhist monks , and it can be found in any local market of organic food in the form of sheets whether dry  or fresh.

Properties of Kombu Seaweed

This alga contains high quantities of alginic acid, which has excellent purifying properties. It is not absorbed by our organism, so it acts as an effective debugger of the intestines; fully benefiting the intestinal flora. The alginic acid also eliminates all types of toxin, ejecting  them from the body in a natural way. In fact this alga is used in many recipes to combat colitis either normal or acute.

It reduces the cooking time of vegetables.

The  glutamic acid of this alga has an intense and very characteristic  flavor,  similar  to that of  preservatives that are commonly used in meals. This acid is useful to soft  some  difficult fibers contained in vegetables, which makes them easy to digest by the body.

Metabolism Estimulation

This seaweed possesses high contents of Iodine, whose benefits have been mentioned previously in this article. Including kombu two  or three  times per week in our diet  would be enough to have the proper amount of this mineral .

Is good to remember, that Iodine is one of the most powerful stimulators of our body, mainly for the thyroid gland;  which causes our metabolism to accelerate.

Other benefits of Kombu Seaweed and how to  include it in your meals

The consumption of this alga also improves the lymphatic system, and  it’s quite useful to prevent hypertension or to control different heart diseases that people  may suffer. Thus it’s a good idea to employ it, in the diet of people with these health problems. The best way to do it, is by incorporating it in stews or soups, since kombu needs a high cooking.

There are also others options for example  you can bake them  at high temperature for about 10 minutes; then you just have to grind them  with a mortar, until they become powder and thus more simple to add in any preparation. Remember that anyway,  the dish will capture their flavor and all the nutrients they provide

Comestible Algae : Kombu Dashi Powder

Agar Agar.

This is a millenary alga used from ancient China combined with other algae. It’s very beneficial for treating  obesity problems, and also for people who suffer of constipation, helping them to purify their metabolism by detoxifying the blood.

The agar agar  has many medicinal benefits for the human body, since it contains a lot of prebiotic fiber and multiple minerals. We can find it  in several forms, such as capsules or natural slices, which  at culinary level can be combined with gelatins and other recipes .So this alga is ideal for any type of diet.

Benefits of the Agar Agar.

These algae  are very beneficial for the human body, since their  high fiber content helps  the digestive system in constipation problems. Two teaspoons of agar agar powder  dissolved into water  every morning,  will be enough to regularize your evacuations.

You can also prepare delicious dishes made of this sort of gelatin  and refrigerate them,  for being consumed  several days later.

It helps people who suffer from hemorrhoids.

The consumption of this alga helps  prevent hemorrhoids problems, since it hydrates the fecal bolus and stimulates the natural movement of the intestines; favoring the evacuation and facilitating a better expulsion of the feces.

It doesn´t have Calories

The most important thing about this  alga, is that it doesn´t  contain calories so it is very good for any diet

At the same time  due to its high fiber content , the agar agar helps decrease cholesterol levels in our body, and those unwanted fatty salts that stagnate in our intestines. So, they are especially recommended to eliminate  big amounts of cholesterol  as well as  bad fats that could be harmful in the future.

It’s useful to prevent various intestinal diseases

It is a great help in intestinal diseases either chronic or just temporal; if you suffer from diarrhea, gastritis, stomach flu, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, among others do not hesitate to add this alga to your diet.

The agar agar also  helps  improve the intestinal flora preventing constipation, since it acts as a great intestinal regulator, To make all this really work, doctors usually  complement its consumption with a proper diet;  in order to eliminate  those foods that can be harmful to the intestinal flora.

Now, we offer you this video to learn more about the Agar Agar

Nori Seaweed

This is a type of comestible alga that contains many interesting properties. Actually is one of the most consumed algae throughout the world; since it is the one employed to make the famous dish called sushi.

Benefits of  Nori.

Like the other algae, the nori is characterized for its high contents of minerals, iodine, iron, calcium and potassium; as well as multiple vitamins such as vitamin B and C. It is suitable for the treatment of the kidneys and bladder problems;  such as infections in the urine or watery systitis. These properties  distinguish it a little from the others seaweed.(See article nori seaweed for further information about this species)

 Antioxidant Properties

The nori is a type of brown seaweed; which  contains big  amounts of carotenoids, composed by multiple photosynthetic pigments. These elements are useful to counteract some individuals outside our body. They also prevent premature aging and depurate the skin.

Its minerals provide positive properties.

Even consuming these algae sparingly they  provide multiple minerals for the body. So it is not necessary to  abuse of them to obtain their nutrients.

Their high content of calcium and magnesium  make them  quite useful during  menopause. It is also highly recommended for people with problems of osteoporosis and during pregnancy and lactation of the baby.

Like other types of comestible algae, nori is also beneficial for athletes who are recommended,to incorporate it into their calcium-rich diets. These algae are rich in trace elements,  that help them to recover all the minerals lost, during their intense exercises or competitions.

Wakame Seaweed

This type of algae lives in leafy environments.  It’s widely used in the eastern cuisine for example in Japan,  China and Korea, which  influence has transcended around the world leading the new gastronomic trends.

Properties of Wakame Seaweed

The properties offered by this plant are very similar to those of kombu seaweed, as they are composed almost by the same elements. Its content of potassium, magnesium, calcium and iodine in large quantities, just as kombu; is quite useful to soften the fibers consumed by the body .

Antioxidant properties

This alga has a large amount of pigments such as chlorophyll, which help  purify our body and to prevent premature aging. They are also useful to eliminate toxins.

Its high levels of calcium favor the body.

A teaspoon of wakame is equivalent to more than 100 ml of liquid milk .

It is very recommended during  menopause  and in those cases where suffering from illnesses such as osteoporosis. They  also provide the calcium necessary in the diets of vegetarian people. As in all cases,athletes often benefit from this type of algae, as it helps to reintegrate to the body levels of minerals lost during the physical training.

Useful to lose weight naturally.

The wakame algae contain big  amounts of soluble fiber, which is useful to reduce the levels of cholesterol .Wakame also  contains potassium,  which provides many benefits to the proper functioning of the heart; preventing this way cardiac  diseases. It’s commonly employed in diets designed to prevent hypertension, and  to purify the liver of unwanted organisms; likewise it helps to avoid fluid retention and the cellulite formation in women.

Benefits of Consuming Algae

Given all the properties and benefits  listed in this article; algae have become very popular recently. Just to summarize we can  mention their  content  of vitamins, fiber and minerals, which are essentials  to take care of our body.

In addition,  it’s known nowadays, that they have properties that provide multiple benefits for those who want to lose weight. They are natural products  that fulfill all the expectations that we could have;  since they literally satisfy  hunger. A small serving is often enough, since when they get in contact with water, their volume increase.

They  are quite useful to  regulate the intestinal transit for  people who may suffer from this problems.

Moreover, algae are considered  one of the best antioxidants, due to their high content of vitamin E. It is recommended that besides of using them in foods,  they can also be consumed  in the form of algae powder dissolved in 2 glasses of water half an hour before eating.  You will have a satiety  sensation  which helps avoid the anxiety that certain foods may cause…

Finally, we invite to watch this video; so you can learn about  the harvesting of Comestible Seaweed….

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