If you live in the Southeastern part of the United States, you probably encounter invasive Kudzu on a regular basis. You may have some in your yard or see it alongside the road. It’s a bright green vine that looks like a topiary. When left uncontrolled, Kudzu will grow over any stationary object in its path. Although this hardy plant may be found anywhere, the ideal growing conditions of the American South have caused the growth of the plant to explode. Kudzu is native to Japan and China and was introduced to the U.S. in the 1880s. The Kudzu root is used in traditional Chinese dishes for both flavor and medicinal purposes. With a generous amount of phytochemicals, Kudzu has many unique health benefits.
1. Phytochemicals with anti-oxidant properties
Phytochemicals occur naturally in plants, as a result of photosynthesis. These chemicals, especially the isoflavone compounds daidzein, daidzin, tectorigenin, and puerarin, contain properties that are used to prevent and treat disease. Balancing the presence of “free radicals” that break down cells with antioxidants in the body helps ensure proper health and regenerative growth of cells. The nutrients Vitamin C and Vitamin E seem to work especially well in blocking free radical chains. As your gut bacteria break down substances containing phytochemicals, you may lose some of the nutrients due to lack of absorption. The resulting breakdown that occurs in digestion creates new chemical compounds that can be absorbed by the body and aid in blocking free radicals. These substances may cause cancer cells to self-destruct or prevent cells from becoming cancerous in the first place.