Wasabi is not bad for you. The plant contains isothiocyanates which provide health benefits to nearly every system in your body.
Real wasabi made from the root of the Wasabi Japonica plant is very healthy, but the chances you're actually eating this outside of Japan is much less than you think. In the US, wasabi is typically made from horseradish mixed with mustard and food coloring. Horseradish is substituted often because it provides a larger yield for less money. It’s not impossible to get real wasabi, though. Areas in the US like parts of North Carolina, Tennessee and Oregon also now grow this plant to meet the growing US demand.
The root and leaves of this plant are edible and full of health benefits. As spicy as wasabi can taste, would you believe it has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects? Most of the beneficial health effects of wasabi are due to the isothiocyanates it contains.
The anti-inflammatory effects of isothiocyanates prevent the most damage. Inflammation in the body prevents necessary apoptosis of bad cells and over time can lead to cancer. But inflammation is also responsible for system underperforming which can lead to conditions from allergies to chronic illnesses like arthritis and respiratory concerns. Isothiocyanates detoxify the body in both the liver and the gut eliminating carcinogens. Isothiocyanates are also responsible for wasabi’s anti-microbial effects - specifically its ability to block H. pylori, and prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and yeasts. This can keep the gut bacteria in balance, prevent food poisoning from raw fish (i.e. sushi), and minimize cavities. Wasabi also has antioxidant properties thanks to this substance, which helps to detoxify the body and boost the immune system.
Furthermore, Wasabi greatly benefits cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol levels in the blood. Lower cholesterol levels lower the risk of stroke and heart attack by inhibiting platelet aggregation in the arteries. With the cholesterol content, preservatives and additives in American foods, a little wasabi will go a long way toward your health.
Wasabi also contains a great deal of vitamins and minerals. Vitamin B6 is of the highest amount containing nearly 27% of the RDA in 1 cup of wasabi root. B6 improves the skin, nervous system and mucous membranes while also helping the brain produce serotonin. It contains roughly 20% of the RDA of zinc, magnesium, copper and manganese, too!
Possible short-term side effects
- reduces inflammation
- prevents mold, bacteria, and yeast growth
- prevents cavities
- boosts immune system
- detoxifies the body (liver and gut)
- decreased risk of developing cancer
- improved brain, skin, and nervous system health
- helps prevent depression
- provides various vitamins and minerals
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Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS | 08-14-2016
Written by Kristin Brown, DC, MS
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