Amazing health benefits of Wasabi

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Wasabi can add several health benefits to your daily dietary intake. This superfood, in the form of wasabi rhizomes, can prevent food poisoning and can behave as a natural antiparasitic. It is also good for your circulation system and can help with hypertension, including alleviating respiratory disorders. Other studies have shown that Wasabia japonica may help with arthritis, contain anticancer properties, help lower the risk of catching a common cold, and detoxify the body.

Medical uses of Wasabia japonica

Wasabi is correctly known as Wasabia japonica and has been central to Japanese cuisine and traditional medicine for over a thousand years.  Today, wasabi is becoming more accessible outside Japan owing to a small number of wasabi farms throughout Europe and North America.

An important fact is that Wasabia japonica is not horseradish but a member of the Brassica family, including cabbage and mustards. Wasabia is very rare outside Japan, and most people have not tried it. The wasabi products sold in supermarkets are either fake or contain a minuscule amount of Wasabia japonica.

The main ingredients of these products are horseradish, mustard and bright green dye.  This fake wasabi is bitter and has a burning sensation compared to the real wasabi, which is zingy and delicate.

Real wasabi is a superfood

Today, people are thinking more about their health needs and, as a consequence, enriching their diet and lifestyle requirements. Consequently, a typical portion of about 28 grams of grated wasabi will contain about 30 calories and 0.2 grams of fat. Freshly grated wasabi contains 1.3 grams of protein per 28 g portion, including dietary fibre, to maintain a healthy gut and heart function.

A cup of 130 g of raw wasabi paste contains a broad range of essential minerals such as calcium (166 mg), iron 1.3 mg), magnesium (89.7 mg), manganese (0.5 mg), phosphorus (104 mg), potassium (738 mg) and zinc (2.1 mg).  All these minerals are necessary for a healthy, balanced diet.

However, wasabi is also loaded with several important vitamins, including A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C, and folate. In addition, it has a high level of allyl isothiocyanate, an antioxidant with associated health benefits.

Allow Wasabia japonica to be part of your regular diet and benefit from its nutritional properties.

The active ingredient associated with wasabi is allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), which is enjoyed with sushi and sashimi.  This ingredient does not exist on its own in wasabi but is produced in the fine grating process of the rhizome, otherwise known as wasabi root.  During the mechanical action of grating the rhizome, the glucosinolates (sinigrin) present react with the enzyme myrosinase to produce AITC via a chemical rearrangement.

The medical database PubMed contains over 100 research articles on the application of wasabia japonica, including its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiplatelet, anticancer and antioxidant properties.

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