5 Amazing Wasabi Health Benefits
If French fries is to ketchup, then a sashimi is to wasabi. Certainly, a Japanese-inspired meal is never complete without this spicy green paste. Its distinct taste leaves a zing on your palate and a sudden whiff off peppery surprise in your nose. But it is not just any ordinary condiment. You might be surprised to know of the wasabi health benefits that hide within its pasty mix of cabbage, horseradish and mustardy savors.
Japanese cuisine has been known for its undeniable healthiness. And the staple green dip is no different. Traditionally, wasabi paste is prepared by grating a wasabi rhizome using a metal oroshigane then formed and pressed into a bowl before serving it as a condiment.
A wasabi root contains a plethora of essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients. It contains fiber, protein, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and zinc. Aside from that, it is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate and certain antioxidants. If you take a look at it, it is virtually like a natural multivitamin supplement with nutrients from A-Z.
Wasabi Health Benefits
Wasabi is a rich source of an antioxidant known as isothiocyanates, which are also found in broccoli and cabbage. This has been known to activate enzymes in the liver and clears cancer-causing substances before any damage to the body ever happens. According to an article in the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, it prevents the activation of carcinogens, counteract the poisonous effects and speeds up its removal from the body. The said article also cited several studies that show its effects in fighting lung, esophageal, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract cancers.
In addition, isothiocyanates has also shown to have anti-inflammatory effects helping reduce cases of joint swelling and arthritis. This is because it prevents platelet aggregation, which causes pain and discomfort, and blocks prostaglandin, which is a neurotransmitter that is also responsible for pain and inflammation.
It also has an anti-microbial effect and has demonstrated an ability to prevent growth of certain bacterial strains that cause food poisoning. It is even known to kill bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Prevents Heart Problems
Wasabi has anti-hypercholesterolemic properties that prevent high cholesterol levels, strokes and heart attacks. This is because it prevents the clumping of blood platelet, which can result to blood clots that are the cause of cardiovascular problems.
Clears Respiratory Conditions
One of the things that make wasabi easily distinguishable is its reaction on the nose. This is caused by the natural release of allyl isothiocyanates that can inhibit respiratory tract pathogens. Also, this very characteristic of wasabi helps clear the sinus and opens up the nasal passageway.
However, while it is unlikely, consuming too much wasabi can also pose a negative health issue. This is because it contains a chemical called hepatotoxin, which can lead to liver damage, as the body cannot process the toxin when found in extreme doses.
But remember, its health benefits can only be found in authentic wasabi pastes that use the wasabi root. The synthetic or prepared ones may not yield you these benefits.
So the next time you see a wasabi, look past its green color and value the health benefits that it hides within.
Images by Steven Depolo