Many people hate wasabi because of the burning sensation that it leaves on the tongue. Add to that the sharp, stinging pain that makes you tear up when you eat more than what you should and it’s no wonder there are people who dislike this condiment. Inside a sushi bar, you can easily recognize a person who does not like wasabi when you hear them asking the sushi chef to make his sushi “sabi-nuki de” – meaning no wasabi.
For people with a very low tolerance for spicy food, adding wasabi to the soy sauce before dipping the tempura, sushi, sashimi, or soba into it is always a battle at the table. It is almost impossible to make these people appreciate wasabi. However, as the saying goes: no pain, no gain. Wasabi may leave a stinging sensation in the mouth but with it also comes five health benefits that are all worth the pain.
Wasabi is traditionally served with sushi not only because it adds a kick of spiciness to the mild, clean flavors of rice and raw fish, but it is also a potent agent against bacteria and bugs. According to studies, wasabi has allyl isothiocyanate which also neutralizes and kills molds present in food. Experts also suggest that a small pea-size amount of wasabi should be put inside the bento box to maintain the freshness of the food.
Research reveals that wasabi contains a compound called sulfinyl which is a potent agent that fights the signs of early aging. Sulfinyl, which is released when the fresh wasabi is grated is also a powerful anti-cancer agent. Aside from sulfinyl, it also contains 6-MSITC which has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
The compound 6-MSITC which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties is also believed to help improve blood circulation. According to scientific studies, this compound prevents blood clots in the blood vessels which is the main cause of heart attack and strokes. Aside from the cardiovascular benefits, the compound helps to maintain healthy and clear skin.
Wasabi contains a compound called allyl isothiocyanate which helps clear out sinuses, colds and upper respiratory tract inflammation from allergies. Isothiocyanate which is an antibacterial agent that also boosts the body’s immune system.
Wasabi contains many health benefits that further outweigh the stinging, burning sensation that it leaves in the mouth! So, how would you like to get a daily dose of wasabi?