Every single time you sit on a Japanese restaurant, you’ll always be faced with that green paste on your table. That green past is wasabi.
But, did you know that consuming wasabi could provide you with a lot of health benefits? Bet you didn’t know that!
Wasabi reduces the incidence of developing heart disease and certain types of cancer, and soothes muscle and joint pains. Moreover, it also decreases the manifestations of seasonal allergies and is rich in antioxidants that enhances the immune system and flush out deadly toxins in our body.
What is Wasabi?
Wasabi is known to have a very distinct and powerful taste. It is a plant related to both horseradish and cabbage. In fact, another name for this rhizome is Japanese horseradish. But, technically, this is a misnomer since this plant is not really of the horseradish species.
Wasabi contains capsaicin. This is the same chemical found in chili peppers. Interestingly, the powerful taste of this plant is quite similar to hot mustard and is used as a condiment in different cuisines.
Wasabi’s powerful and quite uncomfortable aroma comes from its specific chemical makeup. The high level of allyl isothiocyanate gives it a powerful smell. On the other hand, the tastes come from isothiocyanate compound.
The Japanese horseradish is commonplace in Japanese foods making it practically staple in many dishes.
In Japan, there are only a few localities where you can find a large cultivation of the plant. Commonly, the plant grow from mountainous river valley or stream beds. But, it is also successfully grown in some parts of North America like North Carolina and the British Columbia.
If you happen to be one of those who enjoys the culinary experience, then make sure to purchase the real thing. However, despite its popularity, this plant doesn’t come cheap. This is because the harvest of the plant is not a common export from Japan.
It is for this reason that the plant gets its own imitations but the genuine qualities of the original. For example, a knockoff wasabi may pose the same sensation of the original but it lacks the right nutrition which makes it healthful for the body.
Wasabi has a lot of protein, fiber, and energy content. It also contains different minerals such as iron, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
Furthermore, it is also rich in vitamins like thiamin, vitamin C, folate, Vitamin A, vitamin b6, riboflavin, and niacin.
As previously mentioned, it also contains isothiocyanate which is a good antioxidant.
Health Benefits of Wasabi
Some people may find the taste and aroma of this plant rather overwhelming. But for those who had the “stomach” for this plant, they find benefit in its consumption to good health.
Here are some of the health benefits of eating this plant as part of diet:
Having a regular dose of wasabi in your diet help you prevent and reduce the incidence of developing certain types of cancer. This is due to the antioxidant, isothiocyanate, found in the roots of the plant. Isothiocyanate is comes from glucosinolates after you cut or harvest the plant.
This certain type of anti-oxidant triggers apoptosis or programmed cells death within 24 hours of consumption. It also help reduce the incidence of growth of tumors, be it at pre-clinical or pre-treatment phase. The best thing about this treatment is that the isothiocyanate is very potent in killing the cancer cells without damaging the healthy cells around it.
You must bear in mind that only the real and genuine wasabi provide the diverse isothiocyanate that help prevent various types of certain cancers. Other plants under the Brassica family have isothiocyanate formation as well, but those plants’ isothiocyanate content is nothing compared to what wasabi can provide.
If you are very keen in naturally preventing cancer through diet, make sure to eat the real wasabi!
Maintains good heart health
Wasabi has a good anti-hypercholesterolemic property which aid in bringing the cholesterol down, thereby preventing the occurrence of heart attacks and stroke.
Remember the isothiocyanate that aids in preventing cancer? Well, these isothiocyanates also have anti-platelet property too. Platelet aggregation is the formation of blood platelets into a blood clot. These blood clots are the usual causes of strokes and cardiovascular crises like heart attacks.
By preventing blood clots, it decreases the incidence of developing stroke and heart disease!
Wasabi is good in warding off infections. A recent study suggest that wasabi is the most potent antibacterial food against Staphylococcus aureus (Staph infection) and E. Coli. Therefore, having wasabi as a sidedish potentially prevents food poisoning.
As a matter of fact, the isothiocyanate in it counterbalances the harmful and deadly bacteria in the body.
Treatment for respiratory conditions
As wasabi is a good anti-bacterial agent, it can also act as a good and strong defense against certain organisms in the respiratory tract that causes respiratory ailments.
Possessing a gaseous component, the scent of this plant cause a strong unpleasant reaction in the nasal passages and sinuses. This compound effectively inhibits the rapid increase of harmful organisms in your respiratory tract, responsible for conditions like pneumonia and influenza. The scent and powerful sensation in your nose might be unpleasant, but it can bring good
Wasabi helps manage seasonal allergies and common colds. The aroma of this plant clears up the sinuses which stimulates the opening of the passageway in the nose to increase airflow.
Anti-arthritic and anti-inflammatory agent
Wasabi is effective in reducing the incidence of swelling of the joint, inflammation, and other effects of arthritis. The anti-oxidant, isothiocyanate, decreases the inflammation of ligaments, muscles, and joints that cause arthritis and joint pains.
So, if you want to offset your chances of suffering from inflammation-related conditions such as the aforementioned, add some wasabi in your diet.
Certain studies also found out that the plant aid in keeping the bone’s integrity, thereby reducing the incidence of developing a condition like osteoporosis. For optimum benefits, however, try to eat a balanced diet with your regular intake of wasabi.