Mizuna (Brassica juncea var. japonica) is a highly nutritious leafy green that is also referred to as Japanese mustard greens, kyona, water greens, and spider mustard. It belongs to the same family of cruciferous vegetables as kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
Popular in Japanese cuisine, mizuna has a mild peppery flavor and is rich in nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Like other cruciferous vegetables, mizuna is high in fiber while being low in calories.
Learn about the different types of mizuna and the 7 health benefits it has to offer.
What are different types of mizuna?
Mizuna is categorized into different types based on the appearance of the leaves. Major types of mizuna include:
- Kyona: Has deeply fringed leaves and bears several rosettes with pencil-thin, white stalks.
- Komatsuna: Has fleshy stems and dark-green, rounded leaves that are resistant to heat and disease.
- Red komatsuna: Similar to komatsuna but has dark maroon leaves.
- Vitamin green: Has smooth, brilliant, deep-green leaves and is resistant to heat and cold.
- Happy rich: Dark green and has florets that resemble small broccoli heads.
- Purple mizuna: Has young leaves serrated edges that change to purple as they mature.
- Green spray: Delicate and slender and have a mildly sharp flavor.
- Kyoto: Has narrow, fringed, and deeply serrated leaves that form beautiful rosettes.
- Summer fest: Has dark green, rounded leaves that are commonly used in salads and braising mixes.
7 health benefits of mizuna
1. Rich source of antioxidants
Mizuna is an excellent source of antioxidants, including vitamin C, beta carotene, lutein, kaempferol, and quercetin. Antioxidants neutralize damaging free radicals in the body that can cause cell damage and inflammation. Chronic inflammation is associated with several diseases including metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer.
2. Protect heart health
Mizuna is rich in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and heart function. The high fiber and antioxidant content also protect blood vessels and lower the risk of factors that contribute to heart diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and atherosclerosis.
3. High in vitamin K
Vitamin K is an essential micronutrient that supports blood clotting and bone health. It helps produce proteins that are needed to control bleeding and bruising. It is also involved in building strong bones and managing calcium deposition in the body, which is important for maintaining bone density.
4. Good for gut health
Being rich in fiber, mizuna promotes regular bowel movements and prevents constipation. Fiber is essential for supporting gut health and encouraging the growth of healthy gut bacteria which can help improve digestion and nutrient absorption. Gut health also plays a significant role in immune system function.
5. Promotes eye health
Mizuna is rich in beta-carotene, which is good for the eyes. Powerful antioxidants such as lutein protect cells in the eyes against oxidative damage and can help prevent eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
6. Helps fight cancer
Cancer is often caused by chronic inflammation and increased oxidative stress caused by DNA damage. Although there is a lack of sufficient scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of mizuna in cancer treatment or prevention, studies suggest that it may lower the risk of cancer due to its antioxidant properties.
7. Good for skin and hair
Due to its high antioxidant and vitamin C content, mizuna is great for boosting skin and hair health, promoting collagen formation, and fighting free radicals that can damage the skin and scalp.
Are there any side effects of mizuna?
Mizuna is generally safe to consume regularly. Eating too much, however, can cause side effects especially if you are allergic to other cruciferous vegetables.
Because mizuna supports blood clotting due to its high vitamin K content, people on blood thinners such as warfarin may need to limit consumption. Large amounts of vitamin K can interact with such medications.
If you have any chronic health conditions, it is better to talk to your doctor before including mizuna in your diet. Mizuna is high in oxalates, which can trigger the formation of kidney stones, particularly in people at risk of kidney or ureter calculi.
How do you use mizuna?
Mizuna has a subtle peppery flavor that makes it an excellent addition to salads, stir-fries, soups, and dips.
You can also use mizuna as a topping for pasta, pizza, and curry.
Before use, make sure to wash well. You can keep unused mizuna in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
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Massa GD, Richards JT, Spencer LE, et al. Selection of Leafy Green Vegetable Varieties for a Pick-and-Eat Diet Supplement on ISS. 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems. 2015. https://ntrs.nasa.gov/citations/20150018899
Vegetable Varieties for Gardeners. Mizuna. http://vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu/main/showVarieties.php?searchCriteria=mizuna&searchIn=0&crop_id=0&sortBy=overallrating%E2%84%B4=DESC&sideSearch=Search
Health Benefits Of. 4 Benefits of mizuna and side effects. https://healthbenefitsof.org/4-shocking-health-benefits-of-mizuna/
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