Protein Goes Green: The Everything Guide to Algae

by Gayle Reichler, MS, RDN

Algae are naturally occurring, water-based, simple photosynthetic organisms. Algae can also be referred to as “sea vegetables.” Like all plants, algae live by using photosynthesis to create their own nutrients, and they emit oxygen into the air and water around them. Unlike other aquatic plants, algae do not have any leaves, roots, or stems. 

Algae are rich in the natural pigments chlorophyll, phycobiliprotein, and carotenoids.1 Different types of algae have different pigments that give them unique colors. There are four basic types of algae: green (Chlorophyta), red (Rhodophyta), brown (Phaeophyta), and blue-green (Cyanobacteria).2,3 Green and blue-green algae are found in both freshwater and saltwater. Red and brown algae are found only in saltwater and are also called seaweed.4 While the algae pigments are often used for staining, they also have powerful physiological properties that can be used as antioxidants and to reduce inflammation, obesity, and lipids (fatty compounds in the body).3

Algae can range in size from extremely small microalgae that cannot be seen with the naked eye, to large colonies of seaweed.5 Microalgae like Chlorella are unicellular (made up of a single cell), while macroalgae such as red and green seaweed are multicellular. 

Uses and Literature Research Review
History of Use 
Algae have been part of the human diet for thousands of years, based on archaeological evidence from Chile and early written accounts from China and Ireland.6 The Aztec peoples, who lived in what is now Central Mexico, harvested blue-green algae from the surfaces of lakes using ropes. They ate dried algae with tortillas and toasted corn and sometimes made sauces with algae.7 Each type of algae comprises thousands of algae species, many of which have been used for thousands of years, originally by coastal people as food, folk remedies, dyes, and fertilizers.6

Use as a “Superfood”
Research is showing that algae could be a new kind of superfood, thanks to its high protein and nutritional content.7 According to Dr. Stephen Mayfield, a professor of biology at the University of California, San Diego, director of the California Center for Algae Biotechnology, and senior author of the study “Developing Algae as a Sustainable Food Source,” algae have a high content of vital nutrients including omega-3 fatty acids, iron, vitamin K, zinc, magnesium, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin E.5,8

Seaweed displays peculiar chemical properties compared to terrestrial plants by virtue of its mineral-rich marine habitat, which requires specific adaptive responses for its survival. Thus, seaweed is able to generate many compounds with antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.5 For instance, it has been reported that seaweed collected in zones with colder waters has a higher polyunsaturated fat content than that of the same species from warmer waters, demonstrating adaptive differences between the same algae species in different locations.9

Compared to terrestrial plants, seaweed presents a wider variety of metabolites with important biological properties, as well as higher abundances of highly unsaturated fatty acids, namely the essential fatty acids omega-3 (also called eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) and omega-6 fatty acids. The fatty acid profile is a characteristic signature of each type of seaweed, as it is dependent on external factors (such as location, temperature, salinity, acidity, wave exposure, light, nutrient availability, and growing environment) that can lead to different biochemical profiles in the same species.10 

According to the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, oils from algae are a good vegetarian source of DHA, and some also contain EPA. Plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids from algal oil usually provide around 100 to 300 milligrams of DHA. According to a small study, the bioavailability of DHA from algal oil is equivalent to that from cooked salmon.9 

Health Benefits 
Previous studies have shown that different types of algae have potential medicinal benefits. Some studies show that macroalgae consumption leads to decreased blood pressure, which might be linked to their dietary fiber and nitrate content.11 Another study found that red marine algae could help treat fatty liver disease. Additionally, macroalgal polysaccharides exhibited anti-inflammatory potency with no toxic effects on human health.11 

A myriad of microalgae contain high-quality protein for humans.12 Several of the most common microalgal pigments (chlorophyll, beta-carotene, and lutein) have cancer-preventing properties and function as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.13 Nutritious polyunsaturated fatty acids also proliferate in many algal species and are beneficial for heart, eye, and brain health.12 Despite this potential, few microalgal species are currently utilized in the human nutrition market.

Spirulina (a blue-green algae) and Chlorella (a green algae) currently dominate the nutrition market, and are sold in more than 20 countries worldwide.14 Commonly sought nutraceuticals from these species include protein, vitamins, the pigments chlorophyll and beta-carotene, and minerals. Spirulina in particular is marketed for its protein, omega-6 fatty acids, and blue pigments. Chlorella, on the other hand, is advertised to provide the Chlorella Growth Factor (CGF), a water-soluble extract composed of a variety of substances including essential amino acids (building blocks of proteins), peptides (chains of amino acids), proteins, vitamins, sugars, and nucleic acids (chemical compounds that carry information in cells).14

Some epidemiological studies suggest the existence of a causal correlation between Japanese and Korean populations’ longer life expectancies and lower risk of heart disease and their regular consumption of algae.15 The Japanese diets represent an annual per capita consumption of algae containing foods ranging from 9.6 (2014) to 11.0 (2010) grams of macroalgae per day.6 In Korea, the average daily seaweed consumption per person was 3.5 grams (3.7 for men and 3.2 for women).16

Omega-3 Algae Supplements
Algae supplements offer vegans and vegetarians an alternative to fish-based omega-3 supplements. While consuming algae is a more direct way to get omega-3 DHA in your diet, it is difficult for some algae to get enough EPA, because consistent quantities of DHA and EPA from eating algae is dependent on the algae’s growing environment, which can vary. Therefore, it can be a good protective measure to supplement your diet with an algae-derived omega-3 supplement, because the algae for supplements is produced under controlled conditions to ensure the supplement contains both DHA and EPA. 

According to Nutrition Today, Ginny Messina, MPH, RD, a vegan nutrition expert and coauthor of Vegan for Life, Vegan for Her, and Never Too Late to Go Vegan, agrees that it is, at best, an upstream battle for vegans and vegetarians to try to get enough EPA and DHA through their diets. Messina recommends vegan and vegetarian clients consume 200 to 300 milligrams of combined DHA and EPA two or three times per week, and those aged 60 and older should take this same amount every day. Here is a link to a supplement chart posted in Nutrition Today

Please note: When choosing to take supplements, always consult a healthcare professional first. Also, check for supplement regulations in your country to make sure the supplement you intend to purchase meets the required regulations and has been tested by a third party testing agency that verifies that the supplement contains what is posted on the label. 

Types Of Algae
Seaweed (the common name for countless species of marine plants and algae) is a staple of East Asian and Pacific cuisines. Seaweed can be grouped into four distinct groups – red, green, brown, and blue-green. 

Red Algae (Rhodophyta): 
Rhodophyta contains a large number of the pigments phycoerythrin (red/pink color) and phycocyanin (blue color), with more phycoerythrins than phycocyanins, hence its red or purplish color.1 They are a rich source of nutrients, including protein, polysaccharides, pigments, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and phenolic compounds with protective, medical, and industrial importance.11 The protein content in red seaweed varies between 10 and 50 percent of its dry weight.11 Red seaweed has a comparable essential amino acid profile to ovalbumin, the major protein found in egg whites, representing a sustainable alternative to animal proteins.17 It contains nine out of 10 essential amino acids, like other protein sources and leguminous plants.18  Also, red algae is a good source of iodine – a daily 150-microgram dose of iodine can be obtained from a single gram of red algae.19

Polysaccharides are the main components in the cell wall of red algae and represent about 40 to 50 percent of its dry weight. They are extensively utilized in industry and pharmaceutical compounds for their thickening and gelling properties.11 Products like agar and carrageenan are extracted from red algae and used to make gels to thicken creamy foods such as pie fillings, cake frostings, sherbets, and custards.2 Galactans, carrageenans, and agars are the main red seaweed cell wall polysaccharides and have broad-spectrum therapeutic characters.11 

Popular Food Sources
Nori (Japanese) or Gim (Korean) (Scientific name: Porphyra yezoensis)
Red algae, especially nori, are dried and used as wraps for making sushi or added to soups, salads, sandwiches, and even baked goods.7 Generally, the chemical contents of seaweed are different according to the algal species, growth state, environment, and external conditions (e.g., the temperature of the water, light intensity, nutrient concentrations in the ecosystem).11 

Dulse (Scientific name: Palmaria palmata) 
Found along the rocky northern coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, dulse can be eaten fresh or dried. Dulse is hailed as a great bacon substitute because of its salty, savory flavor. In traditional Irish dishes, it is boiled with milk and rye flour or made into a relish and is commonly served with fish.20,21

Sea Moss (Irish Moss) (Scientific name: Chondrus crispus) 
Also known as Irish Moss, sea moss is slimy in texture and can act as a soothing agent in the gut and help with digestive issues.22 It is harvested for its carrageenan, an ingredient used to thicken milk products like ice cream, but it is also available raw and as a supplement in the form of pills, powders, gels, or gummies. 

Nutrition Info for Nori Seaweed, Dried (Red Algae)23
Serving Size: 2 Tbsp. (about 2.5 sheets or 10 grams)
Calories: 4
Total Fat: 0 g
Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 g
Sodium: 5 mg 
Total Carbohydrate: 0.5 g
Protein: 0.6 g
Vitamin C: 3.9 mg
Calcium: 70 mg
Iron: 0.18 mg   
Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
Folate: 14.6 mcg  
Vitamin A: 520 IU 
Potassium: 35.6 mg
Magnesium: 0.2 mg

Brown Algae (Phaeophyta): 
The yellow-brown or dark brown algae are called Phaeophyta, which contain chlorophyll a, chlorophyll c, carotene, and several kinds of lutein, mainly fucoxanthin.24 Brown seaweed is the most consumed seaweed as food (66.5 percent compared to 33 percent of red and five percent of green), and Japan, China, and South Korea represent the three greatest consumers.25 Brown seaweed is an excellent source of nutrients, since it contains high amounts of diverse compounds claimed to exert multiple benefits on health. It has been reported that the content per unit of dry mass of these micronutrients in seaweed is 10 to 100 times higher than that of terrestrial plants or animal-derived foods25 and includes both water- and fat-soluble vitamins (C, B1, B2, B9, B12, A, D, E, K) and essential minerals (calcium, iron, iodine, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium).15 

Bioactive compounds of interest found in brown seaweed include polysaccharides (e.g., alginate, fucoidan), proteins (e.g., phycobiliproteins), polyphenols (e.g., phlorotannins), carotenoids (e.g., fucoxanthin), phytosterols (e.g. fucosterol) and omega-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g., eicosapentaenoic acid). Brown seaweed often contains the recommended healthy ratio of omega-3/omega-6 of 2.5/1 to 4/1, which promotes health and prevents chronic disease.15  They have been reported to have beneficial effects in various diseases, including metabolic diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.26 Owing to their great potential for health benefits, brown seaweed is successfully used in some nutraceuticals and functional foods for treating metabolic syndrome comorbidities, which can include high blood pressure and high blood sugar.26 Although brown seaweed has demonstrated a great potential as a food supplements for metabolic syndrome management, it is still being researched to identify the best way to create a supplement that can be easily absorbed and metabolized by the human body. It would be beneficial to find validated indexes of algal absorption and obtain reliable information on their efficacy and long-term safety.15

Studies conducted at Hokkaido University have found that fucoxanthin, a compound in brown algae, can help burn fatty tissue.27 Studies in mice have shown that fucoxanthin induces expression of a fat-burning protein (UCP1) that accumulates in fat tissue around the internal organs.27

Many studies on products with added brown seaweed demonstrated that the seaweed significantly improved the products’ nutritional value by increasing the content of dietary fibers, omega-3 fats, and minerals (e.g., calcium, magnesium, and potassium), while reducing the sodium needed. Since heart disease and obesity are sustained by a high consumption of sodium, saturated fats, and artificial additives, adding brown seaweed to meat- and grain-based products may be a useful strategy to prevent these conditions.28

Brown algae are an important source of algin, a colloidal gel used as a stabilizer in the baking and ice-cream industries.29 It is used in many traditional dishes of East Asian countries such as Korea, China, and Japan. The following seaweeds are often used in cooking: wakame (Undaria), kombu (Laminaria), nori/gim, and hijiki (Hizikia).15

Popular Food Sources
Kelp (Scientific name: Laminariales; Japanese name: Kombu) 
Kelp is one of the most widely consumed seaweeds.30 Kelp is a type of large and leafy brown algae that forms dense forests close to shore. It is used as a base for broths of ramen soups. 

Wakame (Scientific name: Undaria pinnatifida)
Wakame is minimally processed and can be dried in squares. It is often added to soups, but it is also a main ingredient in seaweed salads. When it is reconstituted in water, it has a satiny texture. 

Hijiki (Scientific name: Sargassum fusiform)
Hijiki is green or brown in color when found in the wild. Dried, processed hijiki turns black. To prepare dried hijiki for cooking, it is first soaked in water then cooked with ingredients like soy sauce and sugar to make a dish. In Japan, hijiki is normally eaten with other foods such as vegetables or fish. It may be added to foods that have been steamed, boiled, marinated in soy sauce or fish sauce, cooked in oil, or added to soups, stir-fries, or quiches. Hijiki seaweed may be mixed with rice for sushi but is not used as a wrap to prepare sushi.

Hijiki contains dietary fiber and minerals such as iron, calcium, and magnesium. Dietary fiber is good for the intestines, and iron helps to prevent anemia. The ratio of calcium to magnesium in hijiki is 2 to 1, which makes it easier to absorb both the calcium and the magnesium.

Nutrition Info for Kelp Seaweed, Raw (Brown Algae)23
Serving Size: 2 Tbsp. (10 grams)
Calories: 4.3
Total Fat: 0 g
Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 g
Sodium: 23 mg 
Potassium: 8.9 mg 
Total Carbohydrate: 1 g
Protein: 0.2 g
Fiber: 0.13 g
Vitamin C: 0.3 mg  
Calcium: 17 mg   
Iron: 0.2 mg  
Vitamin A: 11 IU
Folate: 18 mcg
Choline: 1.28 mg  
Phosphorus: 6 mg
Magnesium: 12 mg

Green Algae (Chlorophyta): 
Green algae appear green because they contain a large amount of chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, and some carotene and lutein.24 They have the same type of pigments and produce the same kind of carbohydrates during photosynthesis as do land plants.31 Most green algae are found in freshwater, usually attached to submerged rocks and wood or as scum on stagnant water, although there are also animal and sea species. Free-floating microscopic green algae serve as food and oxygen sources for aquatic organisms.32 They are nutritious natural products rich in essential amino acids, fiber, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, iron, pigments such as beta-carotene, xanthophylls, and chlorophyll, and other bioactive compounds.33 They contain healthy fats, as well as certain important vitamins and minerals. For vegans and vegetarians, green algae can be an important source of vitamin B12. 

Popular Food Sources:
Chlorella (Scientific name: Chlorella)
Chlorella is a single-celled freshwater green algae. Proteins in Chlorella products are of high quality, containing all essential amino acids. Humans cannot digest Chlorella cells in their natural state because their cell walls are made of cellulose. Therefore, Chlorella cell walls are mechanically broken down in most dietary supplements, which leads to a high content of fiber – more than 65 percent in most supplements.34  

Chlorella products contain all the vitamins required by humans, i.e., B1, B2, niacin, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, C, D2, and K, as well as alpha- and beta-carotenes.34 Chlorella contains larger amounts of folate and iron than other plant-derived foods. Plus, it also contains a substantial amount of vitamins D2 and B12, both of which are well known to be absent in plants.34 

In recent studies in both humans and animals, Chlorella has shown to have pharmacological effects. A beneficial effect was shown in people who have high cholesterol and high blood pressure.15

Gutweed (Scientific name: Ulva intestinalis) 
Gutweed is a mass of bright green, inflated tubes, often with pinched-in ‘waists’ along its length. Gutweed is a common seaweed found on all shores of the United Kingdom and in many different habitats, including rock pools, sand, mud and even shells and other seaweed. It is often seen with bubbles of air trapped inside its long fronds which have the look of intestines, hence its name.35 

Sea Grapes (Scientific name: Caulerpa lentillifera)
The tiny green bubbles of this edible seaweed have a texture and pop similar to fish roe, which is why it is also referred to as green caviar. Fresh sea grapes are not widely available outside of Asia. Instead of leaves, the algae have bubbles that burst in the mouth, releasing an umami taste.36 The unique shape of these bubbly algae gives it the name “umi-budo” or “sea grapes”. Umi-budo is a staple crop in Okinawa, Japan, and is cultivated for market by the fishery industry. 

Sea Lettuce (Scientific name: Ulva)
Sea lettuce is the common name for a group of closely related multicellular marine species in the genus Ulva and class Ulvophyceae. True to its name, sea lettuce resembles leaves of green lettuce. The color is often bright green but can range from dark green to almost yellow. Sea lettuce is not a particularly large seaweed, being no more than 40 centimeters (16 inches) in size, but its bright green color and abundance make it especially noticeable in the marine environment. Sea lettuce can be eaten in its fresh, raw form in a salad alone, mixed with other fresh seaweeds, or tossed with land greens. Fresh sea lettuce has a soft texture but strong flavor variously described as vibrant, slightly salty, and similar to sorrel.

Drying concentrates these flavors but also brings out a rather pungent bitterness, especially when dried sea lettuce is cooked. For this reason, it is best used as a seasoning in soups or salads rather than as a main ingredient. In Japan and Scotland, Ulva and other green seaweeds are often used as an edible and nutritious garnish in soup and salads.37

Blue-Green Algae (Scientific name: Cyanobacteria
Blue-green algae (BGA) are traditionally grouped in with other algae, but are technically not considered part of the same family since they are prokaryotes, organisms whose cells lack a nucleus. BGA are nutritious natural products rich in essential amino acids, fibers, B vitamins, calcium, phosphorous, iron, pigments such as beta-carotene, xanthophylls, and chlorophyll, and other bioactive compounds.25 Studies in cells, animals, and humans, have demonstrated that edible BGA can be effective natural products for improving blood lipid profiles and for preventing inflammation and oxidative stress. Other studies have indicated additional benefits including antiviral, antitumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic, antidiabetic, and antibacterial properties, as well as lipid-lowering effects.33 BGA inhibit intestinal cholesterol absorption and decrease fats in the liver, lowering blood levels cholesterol and triglycerides. 

Popular Food Source: 
Spirulina (Scientific name: Arthrospira platensis)
Spirulina’s main use is as a food supplement.28 Spirulina was suggested as a functional food decades ago due to the fact that it is not only a protein-dense food source, but because its amino acid profile is considered of high biological value, and it has a pleasant taste.38,39 Spirulina is one of the plants with the highest chlorophyll content, even up to 2 to 3 times the content of other plants, and it is considered a good source of chlorophyll a. 

Chlorophyll a acts with phycocyanin to reduce fat production and prevent obesity. Some research also found that taking Spirulina may help lower blood pressure.1

Spirulina powders and supplements contain valuable amounts of omega-6 fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins (potassium, calcium, selenium, vitamin E, carotenoids, and folate).6 Plus, they have an exceptionally high content of vitamin B12.38 All of these values strongly depend on environmental settings, cultivation conditions, and the processing methods applied, which makes it difficult to generalize the nutrient content of Spirulina. So far, knowledge regarding the contamination with cyanotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is scarce, although some studies reported high contaminant levels in Spirulina products. The regular intake of Spirulina, and very likely other algae products as well as dietary supplements demands a closer monitoring of potentially harmful constituents.40

Additionally, Spirulina’s lovely color is used to make candy, ice cream, and blue gum.41 

Nutrition Info for Spirulina, Dried (Blue-Green Algae)23
Serving Size: 2 Tbsp. (14 grams)
Calories: 40
Total Fat: 1 g
Sat. Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 g
Sodium:  146 mg 
Potassium: 190 mg 
Total Carbohydrate: 3.4 g
Protein: 8 g
Fiber: 0.5 g
Vitamin C: 1.4 mg  
Calcium: 16.8 mg   
Iron: 4 mg  
Vitamin A: 80 IU
Folate: 13 mcg
Choline: 9 mg  
Phosphorus: 16 mg
Magnesium: 27 mg

Safety of Algae Products
How do you know if an algae product is safe to eat? 
At this time, algae products are not regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the United States Department of Agriculture. While most edible algae can be found in dietary supplement form, certain seaweeds can be found in their raw form. It is not recommended to harvest your own algae for consumption, since many types can be toxic.11 

Read the Labels 
Do not take any supplement blindly, and look for algae products that are from clean waters without any metals, contaminants, or other environmental pollutants. 

Check for Testing Certifications
Two things to look for are National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certification and third-party testing. A company can get a third party to test their product, but it does not always mean they pass. NSF certification confirms they are tested and they pass.18 Most importantly, always consult your health care provider before taking supplements. 

Sustainable Algae and Climate Change
Food insecurity is one of the largest threats of the 21st century and is primed to worsen as climate change and population growth continue to push the limits of our already strained food production system.40 The ability of algae to sequester carbon dioxide lends to its sustainability by helping to reduce the carbon footprint of its production. Additionally, algae can be produced on non-arable land using non-potable water (including brackish or seawater), which allows them to complement rather than compete with traditional agriculture. Increased consumption of microalgae will replace meat consumption in some regions and hence reduce emission of greenhouse gasses that emanate from the meat.2

“Algae has a number of interesting traits that make it stand out as a future food crop, including high quality protein and overall nutritional content, promising scalability and cost, and consumer familiarity,” says Priera Panescu, senior scientist-plant-based specialist at the The Good Food Institute. “Moreover, cultivating algae requires little to no habitable land or agrochemicals, so algae’s use as a crop would contribute significantly to a more sustainable food system.”33 According to Susie Arnold, a marine scientist at the Island Institute in Rockland, Maine, “Kelp is a superhero. It de-acidifies the ocean by removing nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon dioxide, which we have too much of.”19 

Search Engine & Terms
Search Engines: Google,Google News, PubMed, NIH 

  • Algae
  • Algae and Nutrition
  • Algae and Vegetarian Omega-3 Supplements
  • Algae and Cooking
  • Green Algae + Food
  • Red Algae + Food
  • Brown Algae + Food
  • Blue-Green Algae + Food
  • Algae + Sustainability
  • Green Algae + Nutrition 
  • Red Algae + Nutrition 
  • Brown Algae + Nutrition 
  • Blue Green Algae + Nutrition 
  • Algae + Metabolic Syndrome
  • Algae + Obesity
  • Algae + Weight Management
  • Algae + Diabetes
  • Algae + Cancer 
  • Algae + Cardiovascular Disease

Resource Websites

Cooking Resource Websites 

Research on Algae and Cardiovascular Disease and Hypertension

Research on Algae Intake and Diabetes 

Research on Algae and Metabolic Syndrom

Research on Algae and Cancer 

Research on Algae, Obesity, and Weight Gain

Glossary Of Terms
Α-glucosidase: facilitate digestion of complex starches, oligosaccharides, and disaccharides into monosaccharides, allowing them to be absorbed in the small intestine.
Agar: A gelatinous substance obtained from various kinds of red seaweed and used in biological culture media and as a thickener in foods. 
Algae (singular: Alga): Photosynthetic organisms that possess photosynthetic pigments such as chlorophyll, and lack true roots, stems and leaves. 
Carrageenan: A substance extracted from red and purple seaweed, consisting of a mixture of polysaccharides. It is used as a thickening or emulsifying agent in food products. 
Carotenoids: Yellow, orange, and red organic pigments that are produced by plants and algae.
Chlorophyll: Green pigments found in the chloroplasts of plants. These pigments harvest light for photosynthesis. 
Chlorophyta: Is a group of phylum consisting of green algae that live in marine habitats. The predominant pigment is chlorophyll. 
Cyanobacteria: A group of photosynthetic bacteria capable of producing oxygen. 
Fucoxanthin: Is a major carotenoid found in the chloroplasts of brown seaweeds and diatoms. It makes a complex with chlorophyll protein and plays an important role in light harvesting and photoprotection for effective light utilization and upregulation of photosynthesis.
Metabolic Syndrome: A cluster of conditions including elevated blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. 
Mitosis: A type of cell division that results in two daughter cells each having the same number and kind of chromosomes as the parent nucleus. 
Phenolic: Plant substances which possess in common an aromatic ring bearing one or more hydroxyl groups. Polyphenols – is a group of phenolic compounds. They are beneficial to human health due to their potential antioxidants, and avert the damage of cells resulted from free-radical oxidation.  
Photolithotrophs: organisms that manufacture their own food from inorganic raw materials, water and oxygen with the help of radiation energy (sun). Includes plants, algae, and bacteria. 
Prokaryote (plural: Prokaryotes): An organism lacking a distinct membrane-bound nucleus. 
Phaeophyta: a large group of multicellular algae that are rich in brown colored pigments such as fucoxanthin,along with green pigments(chlorophyll).
Photosynthesis: the conversion of light energy into chemical energy by photolithotrophs.
Phycocyanin: Blue colored light harvesting, pigment binding protein isolated from algae.
Phycoerythrin: a red protein-pigment complex from the light harvesting phycobiliprotein family. 
Phytosterols: Natural compounds found in plants that can help you lower your cholesterol levels. 
Phylum: a scientific term grouping together related organisms on the basis of their fundamental characteristics. 
Pigment: A colored substance naturally produced by an organism. 
Porphyrins: Help form many important substances in the body. One of these is hemoglobin. This is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen in the blood. 
Rhodophyta: red algae characterized by their reddish color due to the presence of additional pigments such as phycoerythrobilin( red in color), phycocyanobilin(blue in color),  phycourobilin(orange in color), in addition to the green pigment (chlorophyll).
Seaweed: Refers to any macroscopic marine algae. 
Sea Vegetable: The name given to plant and algae foods that grow in or near the ocean.
Telophase: The final phase of cell division.
Xenobiotic: relating to or denoting a substance, typically synthetic chemicals, that are foreign to the body or to an ecological system. 
Xanthophylls: Are yellow pigments that are one of the important divisions of the carotenoid group. 

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