Ashitaba is a plant native to Japan that is lovingly referred to as “tomorrow’s leaf” due to its ability to sprout new leaves 24 hours after harvest. The western world is just learning the many health benefits of this Japanese folk medicine. So far, it is reported to support healthy cell regeneration, digestion, skin, blood and mood.
Ashitaba contains substantial levels of two B vitamins, B6 and dB12, usually only found in meat. B6 helps regulate sleep patterns and mood. B12 provides the body with energy by producing red blood cells, supporting the production of DNA and nourishing nerve cells. This is great news for vegans and carnivores alike.
Ashitaba also stimulates nerve growth and health. It contains unique phenols called chalcones that are being researched for their strong antioxidant properties and ability to increase nerve growth factor. That means ingesting ashitaba can increase nerve health and development. Reduction in nerve degeneration can prevent the diseases like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Ashitaba is most effective when taken consistently in small doses over a lifetime. A great way to start the day is to replace your morning cup of coffee with a steaming mug of ashitaba tea. You can also add ½ a teaspoon to a breakfast smoothie. For lunch, add a handful of leaves to a salad. Don’t be afraid to replace lettuce on a sandwich with raw ashitaba leaves, or make ashitaba omelet. This superfood is easily added to any soup. It is also wonderful sautéed and served as a side dish.
Whenever adding a superfood like ashitaba to your diet, it may take a while for your palate to adjust. If you don’t like the taste to start, try simple ashitaba-inspired dishes that hide the flavour. As your palate adjusts, you may even come to enjoy its flavour.
Grow Your Own
With a fair amount of sunshine and good soil, ashitaba seedlings grow quickly. If you want to start from seeds, begin by soaking them overnight. Drain the seeds and place them in moist sand, peat or potting soil and put them in the refrigerator for 30 days. After the 30 days, plant the seeds close to the surface, barely covered with soil.
Don’t oversoak the seeds, but keep them moist. It takes 15 days for germination, and the seedlings can be transplanted after 60 days. Put them in 4-inch pots with drainage holes until they grow to the size of your fist, at which point they can be moved to your garden. They prefer full sun to part shade. They should be watered every other day.
If you don’t possess a green thumb, consider purchasing a tea or powder online. By purchasing from a reputable source, you also forgo the drying process. There are many benefits to powdered ashitaba, especially when it comes to baking.
Ashitaba is a wonderful plant full of antioxidants and immune system boosters. Find ways to add a small dose to your diet every day and you will be amazed at the benefits. Everyone wants to live longer, age slower and be filled with boundless energy. Ashitaba, when taken regularly over time, can provide all of these amazing benefits.