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9 amazing facts about Seaweed!

Here we go with 9 amazing facts about seaweed that have nothing to do with trace elements or natural growth hormones...........(a bit unusual for us!)

1. Seaweeds are not plants - they are a type of algae. They have no roots, leaves or stems to transport water or nutrients. Instead each cell derives what it needs directly from the seawater around it. The only similarity between seaweed and land plants is that both rely on sunlight to create energy through photosynthesis.

2. Most of the world’s oxygen, about 70%, comes from seaweeds and algae. And Seaweed is one of the biggest carbon sequesters on our planet. Scientists believe Seaweed can be a big part of the climate change solution.

3. Some seaweeds reproduce by producing spores that actually have tiny “flippers” and swim away from the parent.

4. Wakame, Kombu and Nori are all well-known seaweeds used as ingredients in Asian dishes. In fact Asia consumes around 2 million tonnes of seaweed every year.

5. It is estimated that there are 9 times more seaweeds than there are plants on the land. But we only use three one hundredths of one percent of its total biomass.

6. Irish Moss is in fact a seaweed used for over a hundred years as a health remedy. Seaweed has been used for centuries to cure all kinds of ills from tuberculosis and the flu to ovarian cysts and obesity. The low rate and general good health of the Japanese people has been attributed to the amount of seaweed in their diet.  The ancient Romans used seaweed to treat wounds, burns and rashes, and still today alginate is widely used in hospital dressings.

7. For centuries people have been taking seaweed baths for their health-giving properties. The practice became particularly popular in Western Ireland where there are still many Seaweed Bath Houses and Spas. To have your own seaweed bath simply buy a sachet – we like Australian Seaweed Bath at Emerald.

8. Carrageenan, agar and alginates are gels derived from seaweed. Chances are you use these products every day. They are widely used in dairy products and desserts, toothpaste, air freshener gels, processed meats and pet food. Amazingly they are also used to produce fire-proof clothing for firemen and also the flux in welding rods.

9. Seaweed is becoming the buzz-word for futurists. Algae could become the bio-fuel of the future. Bio-degradable plastics made from seaweed will replace those made from petro-chemicals that are now polluting every inch of our planet. Medical breakthroughs are likely with seaweed extracts found to have anti-viral and anti-tumour properties. And seaweed is gradually becoming more a part of the western diet, especially since we discovered sushi!

Blog post by Liz

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