Is Wasabi Good for You?
Wasabi has many health benefits including cancer prevention, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and lowers the risks of heart diseases.
When it comes to Japanese food, the first thing that comes to mind is sushi. In the past few decades, this combination of vinegared rice, vegetables, seaweed, and raw fish has become a popular mainstream ethnic cuisine in North America.
Wasabi, a root vegetable that’s often grounded into a paste, is usually served along with sushi and sashimi at Japanese restaurants. Although these distinctive flavour ingredient is often misunderstood as a method to cleanse your sinuses and opens up your nasal passages, it actually has a lot of health benefits.
Make Sure It’s Real Wasabi and Not Horseradish
Wasabi is expensive and difficult to grow. Most Japanese restaurants in North America offers substitutes that are not real wasabi. Because it is rare to find real wasabi plants outside of Japan, restaurants and companies will replace wasabi with a mixture of horseradish, mustard, starch and green food colouring. Although the taste is very similar between wasabi and horseradish, one can still easily taste the difference.
When buying off the shelf wasabi, make sure the label says 100% Pure Wasabia Japonicathen.
Wasabi contains high sources of isothiocyanates – these are the same anti-cancer chemicals you can find in the cabbage family vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, watercress, turnips, horseradish, radish, collards, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, chinese cabbage, bok choy, and rutabaga. It has anti-bacterial properties, anti-inflammatory effects, and preventing arteries clot formation – reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Health Benefits of Wasabi
Protect Against Cancer
Wasabi contains the natural anti-cancer chemical of isothiocyanates. This chemical seems to activate enzymes in the liver, which detoxifies cancer cells prior to the body can absorb them. The best thing about these isothiocyanates is that it will only interferes with cancer cells and does not harm your body’s normal cells. Cancer prevention from wasabi still require further research and studies, since current results are based on high consumption of wasabi, more testing has to be done on a normal consumption level.
The same isothiocyanates in wasabi also has anti-inflammatory effects by preventing platelet application. This raises the potential of using wasabi to help with inflammatory conditions such as asthma.
Lowers the Risk of Heart Diseases
Wasabi’s antiplatelet agent can also help block the formation of blood clots by preventing the clumping of platelets. It is thought that because of these prevention of blood clots, wasabi may help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Stop the Growth of Bacteria
Wasabi has also demonstrated to be anti-bacterial. Studies have shown wasabi’s effectiveness in stopping the growth of certain strains of bacteria that may cause food poisoning. Companies are already starting to market wasabi into their product lines such as wasabi anti-bacterial hand soaps.