Seaweed is a sea plant belonging to the algae family that is an important source of food in many Asian cultures. Japanese cuisine uses different varieties in numerous ways from soups to tea and as a seasoning. The Irish use carrageenan, the gelatinous substance of carrageen seaweed, as a thickening agent, and agar, dried seaweed, is used throughout Asia. Both carrageenan and agar are considered seawood gums; they add viscosity or thickening to food with their gelling properties. They are widely used for thickening foods. They are also used in frozen desserts as stabilizers. This means they keep the ice crystals from growing larger as a product is kept frozen; thus they keep the frozen product, such as ice cream from getting a coarse texture if frozen over time. Seafood gums are considered soluble fiber.