The world is going towards healthier foods and ingredients, and in 2023 this trend is going upward. One such wholesome and nutrition-dense pick is leafy green vegetables. Health aficionados are growing an inclination towards komatsuna. For the unversed, this exotic-sounding name is a leafy vegetable that has a fascinating history and modern use too
Across the world, there is an enhanced demand for green leafy vegetables. This recent development took place in the past couple of years, and health enthusiasts are exploring leafy greens beyond regular spinach, kale, lettuce, and mustard greens. The new green on the block is komatsuna. Its Japanese name translates to "Komatsu greens." these leafy vegetables are loaded with incredible flavour. It is news to many that they were given the name of a passing shogun in the eighteenth century who had lunch in the village of Komatsugawa in Tokyo.
What is Komatsuna?
It is indigenous to Japan and shares a close resemblance in nutrition and appearance with spinach. It is a staple cooking ingredient in Japan, especially in the Kanto area of Tokyo. This versatile leafy green is perfect for soups and stir-fried Japanese foods. One can't use komatsuna with spinach interchangeably, as the latter tastes harsher. But why is it growing so popular? The answer lies in its health perks.
For those who want to get the best out of these greens, the following are some of the komatsuna's positive health effects.
A rich source of Vitamins and minerals
Vitamins and minerals abound in komatsuna, which is why it is very healthy. Green leafy vegetables like komatsuna are nutritious for the same reasons as other greens. Vitamins A, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, and K are all present in foods that are consumed uncooked. Calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and zinc are just some of the minerals you'll receive. Along with these vitamins and minerals, it's also a good source of protein and fibre.
Potentially assists in diabetes prevention
Magnesium is one of the nutrients that can be found in komatsuna. There is evidence that this vitamin can help keep blood sugar levels stable and lower diabetes risk.
Chopping fresh komatsuna greens, Image Source: Cookingwithdog.com
Vitamin K, of which komatsuna has a high concentration, has anti-inflammatory effects. There is evidence that vitamin K can help lower IL-6 levels. Pro-inflammatory effects are ascribed to interleukin-6. Serious health issues like cardiovascular disease have been linked to chronic inflammation.
Helps in preventing excessive bleeding
The vitamin K content of komatsuna is exceptionally high. Clotting blood properly is impossible without vitamin K. Furthermore, it helps your body absorb iron better. The body needs iron to make more RBCs or red blood cells.
Reduces the risk of anaemia
One more of komatsuna's many virtues is that it is an excellent source of iron. When it comes to making new RBCs, iron is a must. An iron deficit, or anaemia, is avoided by taking iron supplements.
Improves the eye health
Vitamin A, also known as beta-carotene, is found in komatsuna and is an antioxidant that can help prevent free radical damage to the eyes. Macular degeneration and other age-related vision loss can be avoided thanks to lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which are present in this supplement.
Contributes to healthy bones
It is well known that calcium is necessary to form more robust bones. Komatsuna is an excellent source of calcium, magnesium, vitamins C and K, and even vitamin K. These vitamins and minerals help your body use calcium more effectively. It guarantees that your bones get the nutrients they need to grow and stay healthy, particularly calcium. Calcium has additional benefits for your teeth and gums. As a result, consuming komatsuna can aid in maintaining strong and healthy bones.
Benefits the immune system
Komatsuna is an excellent vegetable to eat to boost your immune system because of the calcium and beta-carotene it contains. In addition, vitamin C helps your body make more white blood cells that fight off infections. It lessens the likelihood that you'll become ill.
Aids in cardiovascular health
Eating foods high in vitamin K, including komatsuna, benefits heart health. Because of its high vitamin K content, komatsuna is a healthy addition to any diet. Atherosclerosis can be avoided by taking vitamin K because it helps prevent calcium deposits in the arterial walls.
A word of caution: Even if you regularly use komatsuna, you should still ask your doctor or a qualified healthcare provider before consuming it.