Japanese horseradish or wasabi is not an ingredient to be trifled with. Many who have experienced the jarring sensations that ripple through our senses, especially in the nasal cavity is something most people won’t forget. Apart from its spicy kick, wasabi contains a wealth of benefits for the body ranging from cancer prevention to slowing down the ageing process. It has also been proven to remedy respiratory disorder, prevent stomach infections, combat inflammation, aid healthy digestion, stop arthritis and detoxify the body, and support cardiac health.
Benefits of Wasabi
It’s a bold claim. However, there is evidence that the properties present in wasabi can prevent cancer. The root vegetable contains sulfur-based compounds that are potent enough to reduce the risk of cancer. Its reputation as an ingredient that can prevent and inhibit cancer cell growth stems from the rich isothiocyanates found in wasabi. These organic compounds have been found to inhibit both the development and the progression of cancer in the body. Studies have shown that isothiocyanates are potent enough to bind to proteins after they have penetrated cancer cells. But that’s not all when the cancer cells are exposed to this compound they are able to cause cancer cells to “commit suicide”, thus stopping the progressive decline of cells. Although there are many other vegetables that carry isothiocyanates, wasabi has been found to contain relatively higher concentrations of the cancer-fighting compound.
Improves Respiratory Disorders
It’s no surprise why wasabi would be considered the perfect remedy to combat sinuses and blocked noses. The isothiocyanates in wasabi have the ability to clear the nasal cavity. The isothiocyanates rise up through the nasal cavity to relieve sinuses, prevents respiratory infections and diseases. Besides keeping the respiratory system functioning at its peak, wasabi is also extremely effective in curing sore throat while relieving congestion and sinuses. Interestingly enough, the positive effects of wasabi are so renowned that it is considered a cure for sinuses in Japanese culture.
There is a common misconception that wasabi is actually inflammatory because of its distinct spiciness. However, this is far from the truth. On the contrary, wasabi is comprised of inflammatory compounds that work well to alleviate sores and injuries. Essentially, the horseradish will reduce the inflammation and provide relief for the pain as well. The typical spiciness that can be felt when consuming wasabi actually calms and remedies sore throats and respiratory inflammations. Moreover, wasabi consists of antioxidants that improve inflamed areas of the body.
Wasabi contains antimicrobial properties that work to effectively combat infections and viral illnesses. Consuming or increasing your intake of wasabi is one of the best ways to prevent falling sick, especially in colder months when seasonal flu is at its peak. Wasabi’s antimicrobial properties have the potency to destroy bacteria in the gut as well. This, in turn, prevents stomach infections and even food poisoning. If you’re recovering from food poisoning or specific types of stomach ailments, consuming wasabi with your food might just improve the overall health of your digestive tract.
Packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, there’s no surprise why wasabi has been noted for its anti-ageing properties. Antioxidants are responsible for combating the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance of free radicals and the production of the body’s own antioxidants to counteract the effects of free radicals. Oxidative stress has been associated with causing a number of chronic conditions, including premature ageing, which causes wrinkles, fine lines, and saggy skin.
Promotes Weight Loss
Besides being extremely healthy for the body, wasabi is extremely low in calories. This basically means that you can add it into salads as dressings or in cooked food to enhance the flavour without having to worry about your caloric intake. If you’re craving for a snack, you can reach for some low-calorie wasabi coated green peas that will provide your body with nutrients without compromising your weight loss or health goals.
Contributes to Heart Health
Wasabi paste has the potential to prevent the accumulation of blood platelets in the body. More specifically, the isothiocyanate in wasabi contains anti-platelet aggregation, which is the clumping of blood platelets or the formation of blood clots. This inadvertently prevents cardiovascular diseases, artery blockages, stroke and heart attacks. Additionally, wasabi also combats high cholesterol in the blood.
The Bottom Line
It’s clear that wasabi plays a crucial role in keeping the body healthy and preventing diseases. From boosting cardiac health to preventing premature ageing, the antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties in wasabi go a long way in improving the overall health of the body. However, like with any food, it is important that you maintain a healthy diet and a lifestyle in addition to adding more wasabi into your diet. However, if you are suffering from a predisposed condition, it would be best to consult a medical professional before you make huge changes to your diet.