Shichimi Togarashi: The Japanese Spice Blend that Packs a Nutritional Punch

If you are a fan of Japanese cuisine, shichimi togarashi is definitely worth adding to your spice cabinet. Translating to ‘seven flavor chile pepper,’ and sometimes called ‘seven spice powder,’ this blend dates back to the 1600s, and along with adding a spicy, delectable kick to savory dishes, also offers some potent health benefits.

While the exact ingredients and amounts vary depending on region and chef, the spices and herbs that shichimi togarashi is built on offer much in the way of antioxidant content, and more.

Some common ingredients in this blend include:

Dried chiles: Chile peppers contain capsaicin, a compound that has been found to have notable anti-inflammatory properties. Capsaicin is linked to alleviating pain, immune system support, clearing congestion and supporting cardiovascular health. Chiles also contain vitamin E, an antioxidant vital to healthy skin.

Grated citrus peel: The citrus peels, or zest, most commonly used in shichimi togarashi are orange and tangerine. The peels of citrus fruits contain more antioxidant content, as well as volatile essential oils, than the fruits themselves. Orange peel, for example, is significantly higher in immune-boosting vitamin C than orange flesh. It also provides a great source of dietary fiber.

Sesame seeds: Besides offering an ample source of fiber, sesame seeds are rich in minerals including copper, calcium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and zinc. Due to these minerals, eating sesame seeds helps to support bone health, and may lower LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.

Seaweed (nori): Seaweed provides the body with vitamins A and C, and is also a good source of calcium. Additionally, this superfood is a natural source of iodine, which is crucial to thyroid health, and has been linked to helping to balance the endocrine system, reducing breast cancer risk, and combating inflammation.

spiceSichuan peppercorns: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, Sichuan pepper has a warming effect on the body, and is associated with stomach and spleen protection. These peppercorns also have anti-inflammatory properties, can aid in digestion and contain an abundance of minerals and vitamin A.

Ginger: Ginger is best known for soothing digestive disturbances, and is a tried-and-true folk remedy for nausea and motion sickness. Additionally, it may also help to reduce inflammation and pain (especially osteoarthritis pain), supports optimal immune system health, and may aid in the prevention of colorectal cancer.

When searching for a shichimi togarashi blend, check the ingredients list to make sure there are no additives or preservatives. As always, organic is best. Or, you can make your own blend at home, experimenting with varying concentrations of the above-listed ingredients and adding your own personal touches.

Try this blend on your favorite grilled meats, veggies or gluten-free noodles, to take your dishes to a whole new level.

-The Alternative Daily


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