Types of algae

Several types of algae are mainly known. There are thousands of types of sea vegetables that are classified by color and are known as brown, red or green sea vegetables. Western countries are just beginning to enjoy the taste and nutritional value of sea vegetables, which have been a staple in the Japanese diet for centuries. A variety of sea vegetables can be found all year round in specialty stores, many of them in ordinary supermarkets.

Some of the most famous types of algae

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  • Spirulina: This blue-green algae is well-known for its nutritional benefits and is often sold as a dietary supplement. Spirulina is rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Chlorella: Another type of green algae, chlorella is packed with chlorophyll and used as a health supplement. It helps in detoxification and boosting immune responses.
  • Kelp: Kelp is a large brown algae that belongs to the seaweed group. It grows in underwater “forests” and is known for its high iodine content, making it widely used in culinary applications, especially in Asian cuisines.
  • Diatoms: These are a major group of microalgae found in various aquatic environments. They have unique cell walls made of silica and play a crucial role in the carbon cycle and as oxygen producers.
  • Red Algae: Known for their vibrant color, which ranges from purple to red, these algae are used in producing agar and carrageenan—thickening and stabilizing agents in food.
  • Dunaliella Salina: This type of micro-algae is famous for its ability to produce large amounts of beta-carotene, which is used as a natural coloring agent and antioxidant in foods.
  • Euglena: This is a unique type of algae because it shares features of both plants and animals. Euglena has chloroplasts for photosynthesis but can also feed on organic carbon when sunlight is not available.
  • Noris: Often called nori in culinary contexts, this red algae variety is commonly used to wrap sushi rolls and is also enjoyed as a snack in East Asian countries.
  •  Kombu: very dark in color and used mainly for seasoning soups. They are a rich source of glutamic acid. An ideal addition to diets for weight loss. If added to beans, they speed up its preparation and give a great taste. They can be served with lots of vegetables and of course with rice;
  • Wakame- similar to Kombu, used for Japanese soup. They are rich in calcium, vitamins B and C. They are a good addition to many vegetables and rice;
  • Arame – compared to others, this species has a much sweeter and milder taste. In addition, they have a delicate structure. They combine well with vegetables, are a good addition to salads, rice, soups and all kinds of porridge. They are especially rich in calcium and iodine.

Description and history of algae

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Sea vegetables, often referred to simply as algae, are the beautiful jewels donated to us by Neptune, giving life to blue waters and providing us with food that improves our diet in both culinary and nutritional terms. Consumption of sea vegetables enjoys a long history. Archaeological evidence shows that Japanese cultures consumed algae more than 10,000 years ago. In fact, most countries near water, including Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and the coast of South America, have consumed algae since ancient times.

Today, Japan is the largest producer of sea vegetables. Maybe that’s why most properties of algae are often called by their Japanese names. Sea vegetables grow both in sea salt waters and in freshwater lakes and seas. They usually grow on coral reefs or rock formations that are very deep in the water, but the sun’s rays can penetrate them, as they, like other plants, need light to survive.

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