The Secret Life Of Seaweed | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
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Seaweed under water Photo by: shutterstock.com/legenda

Seaweed is not a weed at all, technically it’s not even a plant. Seaweed is algae! There are over 10,000 species of seaweed from microscopic phytoplankton to giant kelp. Besides being a great place to find fish, people have used seaweed for food and facials for thousands of years. Here are some other facts about seaweed that might grow on you.

  • The electro-pop band, Passion Pit, included a song about seaweed in their debut CD, Manners. The Seaweed Song was barely a blip on the Billboard 200, but the band’s second CD, Gossamer, debuted at number four.
  • The book Seaweed Soup by Stuart J. Murphy is a pre-math mainstay among kindergarteners. In the book, the hero, Turtle, makes a slimy, smelly seaweed chowder for lunch, which none of his friends want to taste. Young readers must keep track of bowls, cups, spoons and napkins as they learn how Turtle’s friends avoid hurting his feelings.
  • The seaweed wrapped around your favorite sushi rolls may look green but it’s really Porphyra, a red variety. In Wales, laverbread is also made from Porphyra. In Belize, the sweet drink dulce is a mixture of seaweed, milk, cinnamon and vanilla. 
  • Seaweed is rich in minerals like calcium, copper, iodine and iron and loaded with protein, fiber, vitamins (especially vitamin K) and folic acid. Indonesia is the largest producer, harvesting over three million tons per year.
  • Looking for a new way to shake your bootie? Check out the Seaweed Hula on YouTube. Even a klutz can master the choreography for this dance, which basically involves fluttering your arms and swaying your body like, well, seaweed.
  • Carrageenan, that mysterious ingredient listed on the labels of candy, baked goods, salad dressings, meat products and beverages, is extracted from seaweed. So is the gooey stuff the dentist squishes onto your teeth to make a mold of your mouth.
  • Diet pills sometimes contain seaweed extracts that expand in your stomach to make you feel full of food. Best yet, seaweed prevents flatulence. Cattle with seaweed mixed into their feed produce less methane.
  • As medicine, seaweed is both an old and a new cure. Ancient Romans used seaweed to treat wounds, burns and rashes. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent. Modern scientists believe certain seaweeds may possess leukemia-fighting properties.
  • Remember those petri-dishes in high school biology class? Agar, the gel on the bottom where bacteria cultures form is made from seaweed.
  • Seaweed hasn’t caught on as a cinematic theme in North America, but the movie The Billionaire was a box office biggie in Thailand grossing $1.2 million in 2011. The film tells the story of a 19-year-old college dropout who launches a fried seaweed business, turning him into one of Thailand’s youngest billionaires.
  • You don’t need to kayak in the ocean to be surrounded by seaweed. You can literally get wrapped up in seaweed with a popular spa treatment that involves creating a thick paste from seaweed, spreading it over your skin, and then covering you with warm towels to make you sweat and release impurities from your body.

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