Red Marine Algae Health Benefits

Red marine algae
Red algae may inhibit the virus that causes cold sores. (Image: Chad Zuber/iStock/Getty Images)

Marine algae is classified by its pigment, or color. There are four divisions, and the red marine algae is part of the Rhodophyta class. The sea vegetable has been part of the diet of Eastern civilizations for hundreds of years and is rich in protein, fiber and vitamins. Red marine algae has several health benefits.

Counters Free Radicals and Viruses

One benefit of red marine algae is its antioxidant effect, which counters damage free radicals do to cells. Red marine algae is also an anti-viral compound. The carrageenans -- a type of sugar molecule -- found in red marine algae are believed to boost interferon production in the immune system and might be an effective preventative against diseases like HIV, shingles and cold sores. According to the Disabled World website, your body can become resistant to certain prescription anti-viral medications, but red marine algae doesn't appear to have this flaw.

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