Wasabi
Real Wasabi. Photo Business Insider
  • A woman developed a heart condition after mistaking  wasabi for avocado and eating an "unusually large" amount of the paste, according to a report published in the BMJ.
  • The 60-year-old woman ate a teaspoon of wasabi while at a wedding and immediately developed pressure in her chest.
  • The next day, she went to hospital where she was diagnosed with takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome.
  • It's usually developed "after sudden intense emotional or physical stress," the researchers state. They believe this is the first time the condition has been brought on by wasabi consumption.
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One is a creamy fruit that has been known to go down well on top of toast. The other is a spicy paste often served with sushi. Both are a vibrant shade of green.

Avocado and wasabi have very different tastes, but that didn't stop one woman from mistaking the latter for the former and eating so much of it that she developed a heart condition and had to go to hospital as a result, according to a new report published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

The unnamed 60-year-old woman was at a wedding in Israel when she ate a teaspoon of wasabi, thinking it was avocado.

She ended up developing takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome, as a result.

According to the report, takotsubo cardiomyopathy "is a left ventricular dysfunction that typically occurs in older women after sudden intense emotional or physical stress".

The woman has now made a full recovery.

Read more: Wasabi is so expensive that the paste you eat with your sushi probably has less than 5% of the real thing

The case was investigated by researchers, who believe this is the first time a person has encountered such an issue following wasabi consumption.

"Few minutes after she ate the wasabi, she felt a sudden pressure in her chest radiating to her arms, which lasted [a] few hours," the report explains.

"She decided not to leave the wedding and the pain started to subside. On the following day, she felt weakness and general discomfort, prompting her to seek medical evaluation."

The woman was treated and also referred to a cardiac rehabilitation centre, according to the report, and a month later she was back to normal.

The researchers point out that various studies have found health benefits linked to wasabi consumption, such as cancer-preventative properties.

They believe the problem in this case stemmed from the abnormally large amount of the paste that was consumed: "In our case report, the amount of wasabi our patient consumed was unusually large, about a size of a teaspoon. They believe this is what induced the stress response seen in the woman.

The researchers also say that exactly what causes takotsubo cardiomyopathy is "still a mystery," and that more research is needed.

Read more:

A farm in Florida is growing 'long-neck' avocados that are up to 3 feet long and cost as much as $47 each

A farmer in Hawaii is growing record-sized avocados that weigh as much as a newborn baby

A restaurant in Boston has a spicy game called wasabi roulette

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