- Though most people only think of it as the green blob of paste they get with their sushi, wasabi is quite literally one of the hottest health foods on the market. Wasabia Japonica, also known as Japanese horseradish, boasts a wide range of benefits in regards to many common health concerns. Wasabi is definitely not just for sushi any more!
- The health benefits of wasabi are not surprising when you consider its family connections. Wasabi comes from an elite clique; the cruciferae family, which includes such health stars as broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts and cabbage. All members of the cruciferae family are well-known detoxifying and health-boosting plants, but wasabi appears to be the most amazing of them all.
- Cancer Protection: Wasabi is rich in the precursors (or building blocks) of phytochemicals called isothiocyanates. These chemicals not only give wasabi its fiery bite, but they also give your body protection against disease. The isothiocyanates that form when wasabi is made are the same chemicals found in broccoli and cabbage that fight cancer naturally. These chemicals activate enzymes in the liver which detoxify carcinogens before they can damage the body. They also appear to interfere with other steps in the formation and spreading of cancer cells.
- Natural Sanitizer: Wasabi is also a natural antibacterial agent and thus helps protect against food poisoning, which comes in handy when you’re eating raw fish. Wasabi can knock out some forms of e. coli and staphylococcus, and a 2004 South Korean study at Kangrung National University found that wasabi can kill ulcer-causing h. pylori bacteria as well. Wasabi can also help protect dental health by inhibiting the growth of cavity-causing bacteria.
- Inflammation and Cardiovascular Solutions: In addition to providing natural cancer prevention and antibacterial properties, wasabi is also a natural anti-inflammatory remedy. Inflammation is a core factor in most chronic, degenerative disease, so it is vital to consume a wide variety of anti-inflammatory foods each day. Because of wasabi’s anti-inflammatory effects, and its ability to inhibit blood platelet aggregation (which could lead to the formation of dangerous clots), wasabi offers significant protection against heart attack and stroke.
- Natural Detoxifier: To put the cherry on the cake (or the wasabi on the tuna, as it were), wasabi also has powerful detoxification properties, particularly for the liver. Wasabi helps remove toxic substances stored in the liver’s fatty tissues and wasabi phytochemicals act like spark plugs that jump start processes within the liver that remove toxins and carcinogens from the body.