Mizuna (Brassica rapa var. nipposinica) is a leafy green vegetable that’s native to East Asia (1).
It’s also referred to as Japanese mustard greens, spider mustard, or konya (1).
Part of the Brassica genus, mizuna is related to other cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts.
It has dark green, serrated leaves with thin stems and a peppery, slightly bitter flavor. While commonly grown for commercial salad mixes, it can also be enjoyed cooked or pickled.
This article reviews the most common varieties of mizuna, as well as its benefits and uses.
It’s generally easy to cultivate because it has a long growing season and does well in colder temperatures.
Currently, 16 varieties of mizuna, which vary in color and texture, have been identified. These include the following (3):
- Kyona. This variety has pencil-thin, white stocks with deeply serrated leaves.
- Komatsuna. This type has dark green, rounded leaves and was developed to be more resistant to heat and disease.
- Red Komatsuna. It’s similar to Komatsuna but with maroon leaves.
- Happy Rich. Perhaps the most unique, this kind is dark green and produces florets that resemble miniature heads of broccoli.
- Vitamin Green. This variety has deep green leaves and is more resistant to both hot and cold temperatures.
Regardless of the type, mizuna is rich in nutrients and makes for a punchy topping on your salad or sandwich.
There are 16 varieties of mizuna that vary in color and texture. Some are also better suited to temperature extremes.
There’s currently limited research on the specific benefits of mizuna. Yet, its individual nutrients — and brassica vegetables in general — have been associated with numerous health benefits.
Like kale, mizuna is low in calories but high in several vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and K.
- Calories: 21
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Vitamin A: 222% of the DV
- Vitamin C: 12% of the DV
- Vitamin K: more than 100% of the DV
- Calcium: 12% of the DV
- Iron: 6% of the DV
Rich in antioxidants
Like many other cruciferous vegetables, mizuna is a rich source of antioxidants, which protect your cells from damage from unstable molecules called free radicals.
- Kaempferol. Test-tube studies reveal that this flavonoid compound has powerful anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects (
- Quercetin. A natural pigment in many fruits and vegetables, quercetin has been shown to exhibit strong anti-inflammatory properties (
- Beta carotene. This group of antioxidants may promote heart and eye health, as well as protect against certain cancers (
All the same, specific research is needed on mizuna itself.
Excellent source of vitamin K
Vitamin K is best known for its roles in blood clotting and bone health.
It helps generate proteins involved in clotting, which limits bleeding from cuts or bruises (
Additionally, vitamin K is involved in bone formation by helping manage calcium deposition in your body, reducing the death of osteoblasts (cells responsible for bone growth), and expressing more bone-health-related genes (
Some studies suggest that vitamin K deficiency may increase your risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens your bones and raises your risk of fractures (
Good source of vitamin C
Mizuna is a surprisingly good source of vitamin C, offering 13% of the DV in just 2 raw cups (85 grams) (
Keep in mind that studies in other brassicas show that a significant amount of vitamin C is lost during cooking. While research hasn’t examined mizuna specifically, using shorter cooking times and not boiling in water may help you retain more of this vitamin (
Contains powerful cancer-fighting compounds
Mizuna provides antioxidants shown to have anticancer effects.
While these results are promising, more human research is needed.
May protect eye health
Mizuna boasts lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants important for eye health (
Mizuna is a leafy green vegetable that’s low in calories but high in antioxidants and several important vitamins — especially A, C, and K. It may bolster eye, bone, and immune health, among other benefits.
Although research is limited, mizuna isn’t associated with any serious side effects.
Nonetheless, eating too much could pose health problems for those with brassica vegetable allergies (
Due to its high vitamin K content, mizuna may interfere with blood-thinning medications, such as Warfarin. Therefore, if you’re on blood thinners, you should talk to your healthcare provider before increasing your intake of foods rich in vitamin K (
Eating mizuna is safe for most people. However, large amounts may trigger side effects in those who take blood thinners or have a high risk of kidney stones.
Often described as a mix between arugula and mustard greens, mizuna has a mildly bitter, peppery taste that adds a subtle punch to raw and cooked dishes.
Mizuna can be used raw in salads. In fact, you may have even eaten it before, as it’s commonly added to packaged salad mixes.
It can also be enjoyed cooked by adding it to stir-fries, pasta dishes, pizzas, and soups. You can likewise pickle it for use as a condiment on sandwiches or grain bowls.
Whether you buy it at a farmer’s market or your local grocery store, fresh mizuna should be stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Putting a paper towel in the bag can help draw out any excess moisture that could cause it to spoil.
Be sure to rinse the leaves well to wash away any dirt or debris before eating it.
Mizuna’s pleasant, peppery taste makes it great for pastas, pizzas, soups, and stir-fries. It’s edible raw or cooked but should always be washed beforehand.
Mizuna is a leafy green that’s low in calories but high in several important vitamins and antioxidants.
It may provide several health benefits, such as improved bone, immune, and eye health — and even anticancer effects.
While your local farmer’s market may carry it, you can also find it at Asian grocery stores.
All in all, mizuna is a simple and nutritious way to add a pop of flavor to your next salad or stir-fry.