The wasabi plant grows naturally alongside rivers in China, Japan, and Taiwan. It is considered to be one of the most difficult plants to cultivate because creating a natural environment for the plant can be daunting and frustratingly difficult.
Interesting fact: Wasabi actually isn’t spicy when grated from the root; however, once it turns into a paste it releases hot vapors that turn it into a spicy condiment. It should be served immediately once it is in its paste form as it loses its strong flavor in a mere 15 – 20 minutes.
Wasabi is difficult to grow and is actually rare, opposed to the fact that it can be found packaged easily at convenience stores. Most brands will sell a dyed pate created by mixing mustard and horseradish, which is quite a delicious imposter for the unsuspecting consumer.
One way to determine whether the wasabi is real is the texture; real wasabi has a far smoother texture than the horseradish-mustard concoction. Wasabi flavor has a real kick to it and the spiciness is felt more in the nasal cavity than on the tongue.
The leaves of the wasabi plant are also edible much like its relatives such as cabbage horseradish and mustard. The leaves from the plant can be fried or eaten raw as part of a salad. The spiciness that comes from wasabi is nowhere similar to that of chili peppers as they contain the chemical capsaicin, which is responsible for the kick of flavor present in chilies. Where spice from the chili can be felt on the palate, wasabi does a good job of teasing the olfactory sense and releases vapors to make its presence felt in the nasal passage. This feeling can easily be compacted into the sensation of taste you feel “after” you have finished your bite. Wasabi has amazing health benefits; here is a list of 11 reasons to add wasabi to your diet.
11 Amazing Health Benefits of Wasabi
1. Cancer Prevention
Cancer treatment is often thought to be more painful than the disease itself. It is a life-threatening condition that takes away a lot from the body. Learning about foods that contain sulfur-based compounds and adding them to your regular diet can be very beneficial in eliminating the possibility of being affected by cancer. Wasabi is a root vegetable rich in isothiocyanates, which forms glucosinolates, which are essentially sulfur-based compounds. Wasabi hosts an isothiocyanate called 6-MITC, which has proven to be helpful in eliminating the risk of leukemia and stomach cancer. It is very effective in causing cell death in cancer cells and inhibiting growths such as tumors, etc.
2. Heal Respiratory Disorders
It has a strong effect on the upper nasal passage; its strong flavor can be felt in the nasal cavity. However, this is not without a cause, these are all isothiocyanates, which rise as vapors in your nasal cavity to relieve sinuses and prohibit infections. This is also very effective in curing a sore throat whilst clearing nose congestion and sinuses. Wasabi is considered a cure for sinuses in the Japanese culture.
It is often confused with being inflammatory due to its distinguishable spiciness; however, this is not the case. It has strong anti-inflammatory compounds and is especially good for sores and injuries as it reduces the inflammation and calms the pain as well. The spiciness that is felt in the throat can actually calm respiratory inflammations and sore throat. Wasabi has antioxidants that help improve any inflamed condition in the body.
It’s paste is very antimicrobial in nature, giving it the ability to fight off infections and viral illnesses. This is a good choice to add to food during the colder months as seasonal infections are quite active at that point in time. This ability also makes it excellent for the stomach and intestinal tract, which is exposed to elements from without the body. Food that we consume can cause infections and wasabi is rich in antimicrobial chemicals, which makes it ideal for preventing stomach infections and food poisoning. This also helps wounds to heal quicker as it prevents them from getting affected.
5. Healthy Digestion
Food has a huge impact on how the health of our digestive system fares, eating foods rich in fiber and foods that have antimicrobial properties can be very useful in strengthening the digestive system. Wasabi keeps unwanted infections at bay and also contains fiber, which can be useful in the regulation of digestive excretion. Although wasabi is consumed in smaller amounts yet it destroys the harmfulness of toxins and other unsuitable elements that we might be eating with our food.
6. Prevent Arthritis
Arthritis and joint pain are becoming a crippling epidemic around the globe, eating right can calm the condition to a great extent. Wasabi and it’s leaves are seen to be beneficial in reducing the inflammation in joints and ligaments, which contribute to arthritis.
7. Heart Health
A healthy heart is necessary to keep all the other functions of the body in check and eating foods that promote heart health can prove beneficial in the long run. Wasabi paste is a delicious way to prevent the accumulation of blood platelets that are the cause of serious cardiovascular disease. The accumulation of blood platelets can be the cause of artery blockages and heart attacks.
8. Natures Condiment
Though packaged wasabi is processed, and some products aren’t even genuine wasabi. Wasabi is a deal condiment; usually eaten with sushi, it adds the right punch of flavor, which a lot better than ketchup and mustard. Freshly grated wasabi, when turned into a paste, is the ideal condiment and can be used to spice up anything.
Toxins can harm the body on a molecular level and sometimes the oxidative stress cause damage beyond repair. It is one of the detoxifying foods that will expel the toxins from the liver and the digestive system to promote a healthy body free of toxins.
It is an essential addition to the Asian diet along with sushi. The countries that consume these foods stay younger for longer. The skin does not experience premature aging and the appearance of wrinkles is quite muted. Why? Well, that is because wasabi is a powerhouse of antioxidants with vitamin C to show for its excellent properties.
11. Weight Loss
It is a very low-calorie food with the flavor and texture of foods that are often high in calories. It can be added to dressings and dips to make your food delicious without the added calories, which will promote weight loss.
In a Nutshell
Wasabi is one of our favorite additions to food. The flavor profiles heavenly for a spice lover, we mean, have you tried wasabi flavored hummus? This makes for a delicious healthy snack dip.