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In addition to its flavor, wasabi has another benefit. Traditional Japanese cuisine includes raw fish, which is a potential source of parasites and bacteria. Wasabi's antiparasitic,
antimicrobial, and antibiotic abilities may be preventive against food poisoning. One source points specifically to wasabi's effectiveness against the Anisakis parasite. Another study, comparing the antibacterial activity of different foods against Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Staphylococcus bacteria, found that cruciferous plants possess antibacterial activity, with the highest activity found in wasabi (rhizome).
Other studies found that wasabi may be effective against the tooth-adhering ability of the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, thus inhibiting dental plaque and decay. Of special note are the numerous studies demonstrating wasabi's effectiveness against stomach cancer cells. One study found the induction of stomach cancer in rats was suppressed when they were given wasabi. The risk of hormone-related malignancies, such as breast and prostate cancer, may also be lowered. Some researchers believe that the cruciferous vegetables help the body eliminate excess endogenous (produced from within) and exogenous (produced from without but ingested or absorbed) hormones, such as estrogen. This action may be a result of wasabi's ability to stimulate the liver and gallbladder, aiding in the digestion of fatty foods and the processing of food nutrients.
Other medicinal benefits attributed to wasabi include its effectiveness against diarrhea, blood clots, inflammation, and asthma. Its pungent aroma may help relieve sinusitis and bronchitis. Although the amounts absorbed from culinary use may be negligible, wasabi reportedly also contains potassium, calcium, and vitamin C.