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Wasabi: This spicy Japanese condiment can help you lose weight

Say 'wasabi' and sushi comes to mind. But did you know that this spicy and pungent Japanese condiment can boost your health too? Read on to know more.

Written By Paras Hemrajani | Published : September 7, 2019 7:54 PM IST

Popular in Japanese cuisine, the wasabi sauce imparts a strong spicy taste. It is prepared with the root vegetable wasabi that contains the compound isothiocyanates which has cancer-fighting properties. One tablespoon of wasabi sauce contains only 1.1 cal.

Wasabi - the Japanese horseradish is an exclusive vegetable that grows along the streambeds in mountain river valleys in Japan, China, Korea, New Zealand and North America. The wasabi grown in China, Korea, New Zealand and North America is in shady and humid land. But Japan grows the finest wasabi that is sharp with a strong flavour, bright colour and pungent smell. The Japanese use it as a salt that they add over noodles and sushi. It is not available or consumed in most parts of the world because of its spicy nature.

The receptors in wasabi are unstable by nature. It contains a chemical called allyl isothiocyanate, that doesn't let these receptors to calm down. When wasabi enters our body, allyl isothiocyanate reacts with our cells, causing cough and a choking and burning sensation. Wasabi is known all around the world as this spicy pepper used by the Japanese. But it is important to understand the health benefits it is associated with.

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It fights bad bacteria

When wasabi enters the body, it stops the growth of pathogens (viruses, bacteria and parasites) in the system. One of the pathogens that it fights with is H. pylori. H. Pylori is a bacterium that infects the stomach and small intestine, causing peptic ulcer, inflammation of the stomach lining and stomach cancer. According to the National Institutes of Health, USA, wasabi can help in eradicating, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Staphylococcus aureus, the two main causes of food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses.

It has anti-inflammatory properties Studies done by the National Institutes of Health has shown that isothiocyanates (a chemical bond) in wasabi can suppress cells, cytokines (interleukins and tumor necrosis factor) and enzymes (Cyclooxygenase-2) that cause inflammation in the human body.

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It aids in weight loss

According to the National Institutes of Health, USA, wasabi cannot help in losing weight, but can help in preventing weight gain. According to the study, wasabi can help suppress the growth and formation of fat cells in the body. 5-Hydroxyferulic acid methyl ester (5-HFA ester) is a chemical component in the wasabi leaves. This can turn off a gene that creates fat cells. This study is still in the animal testing phase. It is too soon to say anything about its effect on humans.

It improves bone health

According to the same study, the p-hydroxycinnamic acid (HCA) found in wasabi can increase the formation of bone and decrease the risk of a breakdown. If the study proved to be true for humans

too then wasabi can be a way of treating osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bone to become weak.