Red marine algae is a type of algae that have been used for centuries by a number of cultures as both a source of nutrition and a treatment for various medical conditions. There are more than 5,000 species of red marine algae, many of which are an important part of the development of coral reefs, as well as being directly useful to humans
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One of red algae’s defining features is its red appearance, a direct result of pigment phycoerythrin, all red algae species contains. The presence of phycoerythrin allows all types of red marine algae to grow and flourish deeper into the sea than most algaes side phycoerythrin pigments absorb blue light, which is able to penetrate deeper into water. All types of red marine algae contain large amounts of nutrients and is extremely easy to grow and tend. Together, these features make the red algae a favorite food and supplement staple.
Dulse, another name for Palmaria palmata species of red algae, is a popular food in the North Atlantic and North Pacific coasts. In Iceland, Ireland and Canada, the dulse used as a dietary supplement and is often eaten as fried chips, as an ingredient in soups and salads, sautéed with butter, or added to bread and meat dishes.
Porphyra, another species of red algae, is best known as seaweed used as wrapper in Japanese sushi or the Korean specialty gimbap. Gimbap consists of white rice and other ingredients rolled and held together by a thin Porphyra.
Agar is a tasteless, gelatin-like substance which is derived from the cooking, boiling and drying of Gelidium or Gracilaria species of red algae. Agar is widely used in Japanese cuisine as a base ingredient in some traditional dishes, such as dessert anmitsu. Agar is also a popular vegetarian and vegan substitute for gelatin, and instead of dairy products, it can be used to thicken sauces, soups or puddings. Agar is sold in flakes, powders, bars or blocks.
Immune System Supplement
Traditional Chinese medicine used red marine algae as a treatment for a variety of ailments from digestive problems to asthma goiter. The most common medical use of red algae in the western world as a general immune system booster and as a very effective treatment for cold sores.