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MONTEREY LIFE

All About Seaweed

Sun, Mar 06, 2016 at 8:30AM

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It’s dark, slimy and might startle you in the water—but as much as you might dislike seaweed in the water, it’s actually a complex organism that’s surprisingly useful to us as humans! In today’s blog, we will be looking at seaweed—what it really is, why some people love it, and how it’s often used to improve our daily lives.

The study of seaweed is known as “phycology”

Despite its tricky name, you wouldn’t go to a “phycologist” for your mental health needs—but you might go to them with questions about algae and seaweed! Phycologists study seaweed and have been around—whether professionally recognized or not—since the 1700s. But even before this, ancient cultures such as the Greeks, Romans and Chinese all knew of the existence of algae. The Chinese even all those years ago, used it as food!

Surfers love it

Like the rest of us, surfers typically don’t love getting themselves tangled in loose strands of seaweed in the water—however, large seaweeds (kelp) do serve a practical purpose for them. Kelp beds can work to smooth out the chop caused by winds, making waters a little easier to surf (if the surfers can get past the long, twisting tentacle-like strands of kelp below the surface!).

Seaweed is a great source of vitamins

When it’s consumed, seaweed can be a great provider of protein, vitamin C, iodine, calcium and more. It’s often eaten in its raw sheet form or accompanied by other ingredients in dishes like sushi or tasty salads—just find a dish you love and enjoy!

In reefs and lakes, seaweed acts as a natural filter…

When it comes to filtering out unwanted nutrients from the water such as ammonia, iron, phosphate and more, seaweed is an effective natural solution. The seaweed consumes these nutrients as it grows—then the seaweed is eaten by fish or removed from the water, eliminating those undesired nutrients altogether.

…and in spas, it’s a popular treatment for smooth skin and other benefits

As you may have already seen or experienced yourself, seaweed wraps are popular treatments in spas all around the world. The seaweed is thought to remove dead skin, boost your skin’s elasticity and leave you walking away with smoother, more glowing skin. And of course, while we may not like it in the water with us, a good seaweed wrap can promote some much-needed relaxation when you need a break from the business of day-to-day life.

We hope that these fun facts help you understand—and perhaps appreciate—seaweed a little more the next time you come across it in the water.


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