One of the unique features of the Japanese diet is wasabi. This plant, commonly known as Japanese horseradish gives a meal an entirely different flavor. It is a staple addition to meals in many Japanese households. It is famous as a condiment for sashimi and sushi. But it also forms part of many other traditional Japanese recipes. Eaten in moderation, wasabi has many health benefits which can make you look and feel younger. Unlike chili peppers which contain capsaicin and make your tongue feel like it’s on fire, wasabi works differently. It has an olfactory effect. The chemicals released when you eat it form vapors that affect your nasal passages. The isothiocyanate antioxidants make wasabi a powerful contributor to a healthy immune system.
Wasabi is low in calories and saturated fats but rich in fiber and protein. It contains the minerals zinc, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and sodium. The range of B vitamins present in wasabi is impressive, not to mention its Vitamin A and C content as well. Wasabi can prevent certain types of cancer. It also slows down the rate at which cancerous cells grow. These include stomach cancer and leukemia cells. It seems that wasabi can promote the death of cancer cells. This cell death is called apoptosis. Wasabi has anti-hypercholesterolemic properties. They can help to lower cholesterol levels which reduce the risk of heart disease. Wasabi is also a natural inhibitor of clot formation. Clots that form and pass through the brain can cause a stroke. This wonder food is also an anti-inflammatory effect, keeping your joints feeling younger. The high fiber content of wasabi makes it essential for proper digestion and gut health. This is vital for maintaining a healthy weight.
The Japanese have an important concept that forms one of the cornerstones of their culture. It is called ikigai. The term is divided into two words. They are iki which means life and gai which means worth. It’s about a feeling of self-fulfillment and happiness that comes from within. Ikigai is about what brings joy into your life. It could be your job. But it could just as well be your family, a hobby, or an interest. Add to this the concept of yarigai. This speaks to the value of doing something. Hatarakigai is the value of working. Combined, these concepts create a ‘formula’ for happiness for the Japanese. Ikigai has to do with your future and what you plan to do to fulfill yourself and your dreams. It creates a sense of hope and something to look forward to. A sense of purpose allows you to face adversity and conquer it. This is an essential aspect of the concept of happiness in Japanese culture. In Western culture, happiness emphasizes feeling good and having positive thoughts. Japanese culture, however, also takes into account the ability to be hopeful in the face of obstacles as being part of a state of happiness.
Being conscious of what makes you happy and satisfied is based on emotion, not logic. This is difficult to assign to the Japanese culture with its reputation for clinical efficiency and scientific genius. But the Japanese are taught from the time they are young to be in touch with their feelings. They are encouraged to identify their ikigai and make the most of it. Feeling self-fulfilled and happy keeps you looking and feeling younger. The positive feelings it gives you and a sense of purpose make you feel invigorated and alive. Happiness prevents comfort eating, which is the cause of a lot of people’s obesity. Finding ikigai and acting on it seem to benefit Japanese women and keep them looking and feeling more youthful.