Mizuna is a cruciferous vegetable – a dark, leafy green packed full of vitamins and minerals. Part of the mustard green family, Mizuna is one of the milder-flavored of these frilly greens, making it a popular addition to salads and wraps. It’s delicate in texture, with a slightly spicy flavor similar to arugula. Mizuna grows in both purple and green varieties. It also goes by the names Japanese mustard greens, California peppergrass, and spider mustard. It is popular in many Asian cuisines and is often in stir-frys and sautees. Packed with health benefits, Mizuna may be one of the next generations of tasty superfoods.
Boost Your Immune System
Mizuna, along with other leafy greens, has a generous serving of Vitamin C, responsible for helping your immune system ward off viral and bacterial infections. Although Vitamin C is often cited to help deter winter colds, it can also help improve your body’s immune response to other illnesses and help with resilience for those with autoimmune disorders. Mizuna is also rich in Vitamins A and K, vital to the support of your body’s health. It’s especially noted for the presence of Vitamin K – difficult to get in normal diets. Mizuna contains 2.32 mg per 100 grams- exceptionally high. It is nearly triple the amount found in Swiss chard and an even higher multiple over many other common lettuces and green leaves we use as food.
Good Source of Plant Protein
For those who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, getting enough protein from plant sources can be a challenge. Protein contains the essential building blocks for muscle growth and repair and comes from animal sources. However, different plants contain substantial amounts of protein, too. Green vegetables have long been thought to provide enough plant protein to help meet your daily needs. At 2 grams of protein per one cup serving, adding Mizuna to your diet can help you get enough healthy protein while still meeting your dietary preferences.
May Help with Asthma Symptoms
For asthma and allergy sufferers, adding Mizuna, rich in Vitamin C, to their diet may help naturally ease the symptoms of seasonal allergies and hay fever. This vitamin neutralizes the free radicals that cause unsmooth muscle contraction and airway obstruction in asthma. A proper amount of Vitamin C in your diet also assists in the breakdown of the inflammatory chemical called histamine, which is overproduced in asthma and allergy conditions. Those with tight airways may find relief from adding extra Vitamin C-rich foods to their meals, reducing the tight feeling and overall stuffiness in their airways.
Maintain Cardiovascular Health
Mizuna is a good source of the mineral magnesium, responsible for helping maintain healthy arterial blood flow and improving overall heart health. It assists in maintaining normal blood pressure and keeping your blood vessel walls supple and flexible. This allows your heart to pump more efficiently, reducing strain, and moving oxygen-rich blood to your body. Foods like Mizuna that contain Vitamin K and magnesium are helpful in lowering high blood pressure levels and subsequently, the risk of heart diseases. Vitamin K allows your body to form blood clots normally, assisting in healthy healing and avoiding overly-hard clots that can lead to arterial blockages.
High in Antioxidants
Mizuna is high in antioxidant compounds, essential to promote healthy cell regeneration and replenishment. As the cells in your body age, they experience oxidative stress, which breaks them down and leads to worn out organs, dull and lifeless skin, and fatigue, among other things. This occurs from a high presence of free radical compounds – molecules that attack healthy cells and inhibit new cell growth. This may lead to cancerous growths and tumors. Antioxidants are critical to keeping the population of free radicals low.
Supports Bone Health
Vitamin K isn’t just an essential vitamin for blood clotting – it’s also an essential nutrient for strong bones and healthy teeth. Mizuna, rich in dietary Vitamin K, can contribute to bone density. This is especially important for pregnant and post-menopausal women. Studies indicate that high consumption of Vitamin K also helps reduce bone fractures. Mizuna is high in vitamin K, providing 348 percent of the daily recommended value in just one cup.
Promotes Eye Health
Your eyes need plenty of Vitamin A to function well and work properly. One single cup serving of Mizuna provides over 100 percent of your recommended daily value of Mizuna, making it an important part of your visual health. Deficiency of vitamin A leads to night blindness, hazy vision, dry eyes, and even blindness. Mizuna is also a good source of lutein, a chemical compound that improves your eye’s ability to respond to visual light and motion. This helps in protecting vision and promoting eye health.
May Reduce Cancer Risk
Mizuna contains antioxidant compounds, which help renew and restore the health of your body at the cellular level. Antioxidants help improve the health of your organs, and inhibit the damage that free radical molecules do, thereby reducing the likelihood of cancerous growths and tumors. Several studies have indicated that increasing your daily intake of green vegetables may be linked to a lower risk of many cancers, including breast and colon. A complimenting study also noted that higher consumption of vegetables in Brassica family (leafy greens) helps to lower the risk of cancer.
Encourages Blood Clotting
Vitamin K is essential in allowing your blood to clot healthily. This reduces the occurrence of large bruising and improving your healing time after injuries. A deficiency in Vitamin K can result in increased blood loss and easy bruising. Coagulation is the formation of liquid blood into healing clots. It is essential, and helps your body from experiencing excessive bleeding when the skin is injured. Vitamin K encourages healthy blood clotting, without damaging subdermal clots that can be dangerous.
Adding Mizuna Greens to Your Diet
Mizuna is very versatile and is in the produce section of your local grocer or specialty whole foods store. Add it to a garden salad for a punch of slightly bitter flavor and eye-catching color. Mizuna is also hearty enough to stand up well to high-heat coming, such as in Asian inspired stir-frys. It is also delicious with a hint of olive oil and chopped garlic or shallots for a side dish.