Seaweed is a common name for various types of marine algae that grow in the sea, which are not always edible. Seaweed can be used as a food source, fertilizer for soil and water purification.
SEAWEED AS FOOD SOURCE
Tiny shrimp like to live on seaweed, which means you can harvest it and eat the shrimp. It’s a common food in many areas of Asia where people use it cooked by boiling, deep frying or pickling. It’s also added to soups, salads and casseroles.
SEAWEED AS FERTILIZER
Sea wrack is a great fertilizer. It is a nitrogen-fixing plant that improves the soil and water quality. Rich in iron, it also helps improve crop growth and quality. It thrives in sands and mud, so seaweed can be grown on beaches to create a living wall that will clean the area through its uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It can also be used as a mulch around shrubs that are planted for erosion control purposes.
SEAWEED AS WATER PURIFICATION
It has been suggested that seaweed can be used to purify water. This is based on the idea that seaweeds are able to grow in environments that have high salt concentrations. As a result, scientists have tested the waters of the Dead Sea, which contains around 30% more salt than seawater. The results from these tests suggest that there could be benefits from adding these dense waters to drinking water systems where it would increase its efficiency and reduce costs.
Sea wrack is a good source of alginates for use in cosmetics, food and other products; however this claim has yet to be substantiated in humans.
In addition to the benefits for water purification, some scientists have suggested that seaweed is a good source of dietary fibre. The fibres are produced by algae called fucoidans, which are also used in food. These seaweeds are considered safe because they contain little or no toxins. In fact, it’s believed that at one point this type of algae was used to treat patients with ulcerated intestinal linings, many centuries ago.
Seaweed is an incredibly versatile ingredient. There are more than a thousand species of edible seaweed, which come in a variety of shapes and sizes. And while seaweed can be used to add flavor and texture to many dishes, it's also valued nutritionally. Seaweed is rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C and D as well as dietary fiber and protein; it’s also low in calories with no cholesterol or saturated fat making it an ideal food for those looking to lose weight or live healthier lifestyles.
So what kind of health benefits does seaweed have? For starters, 17 minerals found nowhere else on the planet including iodine which helps maintain our thyroid function. Seaweed is also a good source of calcium, a key ingredient of healthy bones. And, while seaweed may look like it can be tough to chew, the sea vegetable is actually rich in soluble fiber which nourishes your gut bacteria and helps lower cholesterol.
But seaweed's health benefits don't stop there. In addition to being an excellent source of dietary fiber and protein, it's also a good source of antioxidants and vitamins. Farmed seaweed is important because it contains omega 3 fatty acids like DHA and EPA which are nutrients that the body needs for growth and development. Another study finds that a compound found in some species of seaweed can reduce anxiety levels during stressful times.
Seaweed is also an excellent food source for the Japanese population which has one of the world's longest average life spans. Seaweed also contains more than 10 grams of protein per cup which could make it an excellent alternative to meat or other protein sources which come with saturated fats. It’s also low in calories and high in antioxidants which could help reduce cholesterol and fight against cancer development.