The term algae makes reference to aquatic plants in general, which vary widely in both their composition and in their appearance. Their natural habitat is water or very wet areas; they feed off sunlight and are far less complex in their makeup than earthbound plants.

Owing to the growing popularity of oriental cuisine, in recent times we have also seen increased interest and desire to know more about edible algae, which are widely used in Asian gastronomy and, increasingly, in modern cuisine.

Algae, as well as being very rich in fibre, particularly soluble fibre, vitamins and alkaline minerals (potassium, calcium and magnesium), are an interesting alternative to traditional vegetables. They are highly diuretic and have an extremely low fat content. They also provide a great deal of iron, although it should be pointed out that iron of vegetable origin is not absorbed in the same way as that of animal origin. Any healthy person can include algae in their diet. They only precaution applies to people with hyperthyroidism due to the high iodine content of algae.