Horseradish is believed to have originated in Eastern Europe. It’s a cruciferous vegetable, alongside mustard, wasabi, cabbage, broccoli, and kale
It has a long, white root and green leaves. When the root is cut, an enzyme breaks down a compound called sinigrin into a mustard oil
This oil, known as allyl isothiocyanate, gives horseradish its tell tale odor and taste and may irritate your eyes, nose, and throat.
The root is typically grated and preserved in vinegar, salt, and sugar for use as a condiment. This is known as prepared horseradish.
Horseradish sauce, which adds mayonaise or sour cream to the mix, is also popular.
Horseradish is often confused with wasabi, another pungent condiment that’s common in Japanese cooking. This is because the “wasabi” you get at most Japanese restaurants is really horseradish paste mixed with green food colouring.
True wasabi (Wasabia japonica) comes from an entirely different plant and is said to have an earthy taste. Additionally, it’s green in colour instead of white.
Since horseradish is usually eaten in small amounts, a typical serving is very low in calouries but contains several minerals and plant compounds.
One tablespoon (15 grams) of prepared horseradish provides ):
- Calories: 7
- Protein: less than 1 gram
- Fat: less than 1 gram
- Carbs: 2 grams
- Fiber: 0.5 gram
It also boasts small amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, folate, and other micronutrients
What’s more, this spicy vegetable is rich in a variety of healthy plant compounds, including glucosinolates, which break down into isothiocyanates and may protect against cancer, infections, and brain diseases
Horseradish is low in calories and boasts several minerals and glucosinolate plant compounds, which may have a number of health benefits.
Even in small amounts, horseradish provides several potential health benefits.
May have anticancer effects
Glucosinolates and isothiocyanates in this root vegetable may protect against cancer by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, as well as promoting their death
Some horseradish compounds, such as sinigrin, may also act as antioxidants and fight cell damage caused by free radicals. These reactive molecules may increase your risk of diseases, including cancer, when levels become too high in your body
Test-tube studies suggest that horseradish compounds may prevent the growth of colon, lung, and stomach cancer .
What’s more, peroxidase, an enzyme found in this root, helps activate and boost a powerful anticancer compound that targets human pancreatic cancer cells
While these results sound promising, more research is needed.
Has antibacterial properties
Allyl isothiocyanate, the oil released when horseradish root is cut, may have powerful antibacterial properties.
Studies suggest that it may fight a range of dangerous bacteria, including E. coli, H. pylori, and Salmonella .
One test-tube study noted that isothiocyanates extracted from horseradish root killed six types of oral bacteria .
Another test-tube study found that these isothiocyanates prevented the growth of four types of fungi that may lead to chronic nail infections .
Isothiocyanates may bind to certain enzymes to prevent bacterial cell growth, though the exact mechanism is not well understood .
May improve respiratory health
Consuming horseradish is known to cause a burning sensation in your sinuses, nose, and throat.
For that reason, it’s often used to relieve colds and breathing issues a small slice placed under the tongue for 20-30 secs will usually relieve a blocked nose.
One study in over 1,500 people found that a supplement containing 80 mg of dried horseradish root and 200 mg of nasturtium was as effective as a traditional antibiotic at treating acute sinus infections and bronchitis.
These results suggest that horseradish may improve respiratory health, but more research is needed.
Horseradish contains glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which may protect against cancer, fight bacterial and fungal infections, and improve breathing issues.
Horseradish is mostly used as a condiment.
It’s typically consumed as prepared horseradish, which is made from the grated root, plus vinegar, sugar, and salt. Horseradish sauce, another popular garnish, adds sour cream or mayo to the mix.
These condiments are usually served in small amounts with meat or fish.
Horseradish is also sold in supplement and tea form.
As there is no established safe limit in these forms, consult your healthcare practitioner to ensure proper dosage.SUMMARY
Horseradish is typically preserved in vinegar or a creamy sauce and used as a condiment for meat and fish. It’s also sold as supplements and teas, but the safety of these products is unknown.
There’s limited information about the possible side effects of consuming too much horseradish in your diet or as a supplement.
However, since horseradish is very pungent, it’s likely best to use it sparingly.
Too much of this spicy root may irritate your mouth, nose, or stomach.
It may be especially bothersome to people with stomach ulcers, digestive issues, or inflammatory bowel disease.
Finally, it’s unknown if horseradish is safe in high amounts for children and pregnant or breastfeeding women.SUMMARY
Horseradish may irritate your mouth, sinuses, or stomach if consumed in high amounts.