Seaweed is an aquatic plant life also known as macro algae, or sometimes even ocean vegetables. It is the most sustainable plant on the earth because it doesn’t need fresh water, fertilizer, or any type of gardening work at all to grow. It just grows naturally with the processes of the ocean, rivers, ponds, or other bodies of water that it may be found in. There are different types of seaweed and scientists generally categorize them by color: red algae, green algae, or brown algae. There is blue algae that can sometimes be considered as seaweed but it is less common.
Seaweed is sometimes considered as a super food because it is packed full of vitamins and nutrients that are healthy for humans. Seaweed contains a large amount of protein. This is especially beneficial for vegetarians. Iodine is another nutrient that is found in hefty amounts in seaweed. This is beneficial because iodine is found in most consumable foods. Seaweed is also good for weight loss because it has a large amount of soluble fiber which helps people to feel fuller for a longer amount of time than other foods. One kind of seaweed, Alginate, has been shown to limit fat absorption. Nutritionists do warn that if a person eats a diet with a lot of seaweed, they should take a vitamin B12 supplement because seaweed blocks absorption of B12.
Seaweed is used in a lot of popular dishes. Some of the most popular seaweed is from the brown algae category. A couple of them are called kelp and wakame. One of the red algae seaweeds known as Nori is used in Japanese sushi. Seaweed doesn’t always have the best taste–in fact it is more of an acquired taste. Researchers and chefs alike have been working to make seaweed taste better.
Chris Langdon, a researcher at Oregon State University, has developed a new strain of red algae called Dulse that tastes like bacon when it is fried. Dulse was originally developed to feed abalone in order to stimulate the abalone industry in Asia, but Chuck Toombs, an Oregon State University business professor saw the potential for a new industry for the state of Oregon. The two began working with the university’s Food Innovation Center in Portland and from that collaboration came a chain of marketable products. For now, the products are still in research and development, but the new Dulse-based industry looks promising.