Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) is a Japanese spice, variety of horseradish. Probably know as a green pepper sauce to flavor sushi, although it is often found in the form of powder or paste. Usually fans of wasabi not only like it, but they are obsessed with it. Whether because of its enticing spicy taste or for challenging light green color, wasabi does not leave anyone indifferent. Either you love it or simply you can’t stand it.
Wasabia japonica or Eutrema japonica is a perennial herbaceous plant of the family Brassicaceae which also includes mustard, cabbages and horseradish.
In the Japanese cuisine, beside the root, the stems and flowers of the plant are also used, from which tempura can be prepared (Japanese seasoning for frying which is often used for nuts). The upper part of the root has a pungent and spicy taste. They call it “Japanese horseradish”.
It is known since 1396, when residents of the area Shizuoka brought it as a gift to the future shogun. Meanwhile, it started to spread throughout Japan and began to be cultivated in home environment. But the wasabi grown in home environment is inferior in quality to that grown in the foothills of the mountains and besides mountains’ rivers. Nowadays it is grown in North America and Europe, but does not have the required quality and does not have the health benefits as the wasabi grown in Japan.
Japanese chefs, grate only the amount that is necessary at the moment, and the rest of the root is kept in a refrigerator. It can last for about a month without losing its taste qualities and aroma. Besides as popular sauce that is used to flavor sushi it is also consumed like spiced paste or in form of a powder. Interestingly, the effect of the hot wasabi is short (can be easily removed with water) and you can feel it in the nasal channels, but not on the tongue.
The true wasabi (honuasabi) is grown only in the 5 regions of Japan under special conditions with clean mountain water at a temperature of 10-17 degrees. Therefore, the root is quite expensive (around 150-300 dollars per kg).
Nutritional value, 100g of this root contains: 108 calories, 0.64 g fat, 24 g carbohydrates, 7.7 g fibers, 4.8 g protein.
Health Benefits and Uses of Wasabi
Aids in Weight Loss – Trying to lose weight this year? Try wasabi. It is a delicious low-calorie food that is often cooked with peas. Served as a snack most of the time, it is suitable for all those looking forward to losing weight. It is a better substitute compared to other high-calorie snacks and contains nutrients to nourish your body.
Promotes Heart Health – One of the most amazing health benefits of wasabi is its ability to improve your heart health. It reduces the chances of heart attacks by preventing the aggregation of platelets. Prevents the platelets from sticking together, which can be very harmful if turns out so.
Fights Inflammation – Diet rich in wasabi has anti-inflammatory properties which offer relief from aching joints. It helps inhibit inflammatory pathways which lead to inflammation. In particular is the action of isothiocynates in wasabi which also prevent inflammatory bowel disease as well as asthma.
Cancer Protection – Wasabi is associated with foods such as broccoli and cabbage, which have chemicals that improve liver health. The Isothiocynates or ITCs act to block enzymes that lead to pre-carcinogenic compounds to change into carcinogenic ones, known as Phase I enzymes. The chemicals enable the liver to better neutralize some highly toxic substances that travel throughout the body, leading to cancer. Wasabi reduces the risks of your developing cancer at a later stage in life.
Improves Digestion – Wasabi peas are perfect food for the intestinal tract as it gets rid of harmful toxins from the body. This has the effect of reducing the possibility of suffering from diverticulitis .it is also rich in fibers.
Other health benefits and uses:
- It has strong antibacterial properties that are particularly useful in the use of raw fish. Moreover prevents form caries.
- The true wasabi also has strong anti-asthma and anti-allergy properties.
- Wasabi prevents the formation of blood clots in the blood and destroys bacteria Helicobacter pylori, protects against abdominal cancer and it is used in cancer treatments.
- The true Japanese horseradish destroys cancer cells and reduces the risk of various cancers.
- Glucosanol (natural antioxidant) found in this root, contains the power to fight against cancer and for detoxification of the body from toxins. This potent antioxidant is also used in weight loss programs.
There are numerous artificial cultivation facilities, companies and small farmers for wasabi in North America, but if you want to take advantage of the health benefits of the original wasabi, you have to visit Japan and to spend little bit more money for the real wasabi root. Otherwise, do not stop to enjoy the wonderful taste of wasabi, but do not be mistaken that it will improve your health.
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