Ascophyllum Nodosum belongs to the Fucaceae family. It grows in the northern Atlantic Ocean, covering shores which extend from America to Europe. They are peculiar looking seaweeds which have bladders filled with air in the fronds. It is widely used for making human and animal food apart from medicinal supplements. It is also used for making agricultural products.
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It is known by many common names like Norwegian kelp, egg wrack, rockweed, knotted wrack and knotted kelp.
The weeds have been described below.
Fronds : Ascophyllum Nodosum has elongated fronds without midrib. They have air bladders looking like eggs, situated at a certain space from each other. They stick to the rocks with the help of hold-fasts which are root-like structures.
Color : Fronds display a mix of olive and brown colors.
Size : The fronds measure approximately 2 meters in length.
Taste : These sea weeds have a salty taste.
Ascophyllum Nodosum is primarily found in the North Atlantic Ocean. They are common in the shoreline of Ireland, Norway, Faroe Islands and Britain. Towards the north it is found in Baffin Island. Newfoundland, Hudson Strait and Labrador are other places in North America, populated by it. In the south, they are distributed across New Jersey and north Portugal.
Ascophyllum Nodosum grows in rocky coastlines, in sheltered habitats. In some of the regions, it also grows in partially sheltered shores, populating the littoral zone which gets exposed during the low tides and remains submerged during high tide.
They for only 0.5 % in a day. Commercial harvesting of these seaweeds has sparked a controversy as it might affect the intertidal zone.
Like many seaweeds, Ascophyllum Nodosum is the storehouse of plenty of nutrients which help in maintaining good health. It has high concentrations of iodine, calcium, potassium, iron and magnesium and many more. More than 11 vitamins, 20 amino acid and 60 minerals are packed in these oceanic vegetables.
Take a look at the health benefits of Ascophyllum Nodosum:
- It can be used for weight-loss diet.
- It can be beneficial to body increase immunity.
- Ascophyllum Nodosum has been noted to be a protective shield against toxins and radioactive elements.
- Presence of iodine might enhance the functioning of thyroid glands.
- It helps the body to maintain metabolism in a natural way.
- If you are deprived of essential minerals being on a low-salt diet, this can be a great replacement.
- Studies show that this sea-crop might have anti-cancer properties.
- It strengthens bones as it has high calcium content.
Several usages of Ascophyllum Nodosum can be noted.
- It was traditionally used as an important food, especially during food scarcities.
- This sea vegetable can be boiled into soup stock, from which the seaweed can be extracted and eaten with other dishes and salads.
- Alginic acid used in food preparations are made with extracts from Ascophyllum Nodosum.
- They are dried and pressed into powder which is used for cooking purposes.
Extracts of Ascophyllum Nodosum is used for making capsules and tablets as a supplement.
- It is used as an effective packing material in the shipping industry for transporting lobsters from New England to various locations worldwide.
- For manufacturing fertilizers and alginates, these seaweeds are commonly preferred.
- Seaweed food, suitable for human or livestock consumption is also prepared using these algae.
- It is rich in macro and micronutrients which is why it can be incorporated in organic fertilizers for agricultural sector.
- Norwegian kelp is made into powder and used in spas for skin care.
- They are used in examining metal concentration in the sea.
How To Cook Ascophyllum Nodosum?
Wash Ascophyllum Nodosum thoroughly to get rid of the excess salt and dirt. You can soak them for 15 minutes before cooking them.
These sea vegetables might have negative properties too.
- High concentration of iodine might pose a threat.
- Supplements made with its extracts can cause interactions with blood thinners.
No such known toxicity of the vegetable seems to exist but there is a possibility of absorbing arsenic and other heavy metals from the water.
Nothing much is known about Ascophyllum Nodosum’s efficacy in pregnancy, so it is better to avoid it during this phase and while nursing the infant.
Where to Buy?
Ascophyllum Nodosum is available as supplements and dried form. They are sold as water soluble fertilizers as well.
Take a look at some of its interesting facts:
- It was considered to be invasive in California and San Francisco, hence it was completely eliminated.
- Ascophyllum Nodosum lives for almost for 15 years.
- Commercial produce of these in Europe and North America has triggered a controversy concerning its after effects.
- Japan has a long tradition of consuming kelp beside other sea vegetables.
- Several sea organisms use these seaweeds as a cover against predation while migrating.
Here are some images of Ascophyllum Nodosum for you to check out.
- by Jaysmita Sarkar
- February 4th 2013