Horseradish is one humble root crop, as its simple appearance, which is not that memorable to look at, contradicts how grand and important the compounds it contains. Its nutritional power has been known through hundreds of generations all over the world, with it being widely used in both culinary and medicinal applications. Numerous studies have shown how it can help detoxify your system and actively hunt and remove the many disease-causing free radicals and foreign infections attacking the body. But this is just the tip of the iceberg since the list of advantages you can get in this vegetable is still long. Read on to know more about what are the health benefits of horseradish.
The tart horseradish is overflowing of essential compounds that promote the body’s total wellness.
While most people are familiar with horseradish only as a condiment, dressing, or a spicy ingredient for a steak or roast beef sauce, the root crop is worth more than that. It has low fat and calories while being rich in antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins that work separately or together to promote the body’s overall wellness. With its tart flavor, horseradish can be a unique and lovely addition to your daily diet then, later on, enjoy its healing properties, including the ability to ward off cancers, boost immunity, improve gut health, enhance bone strength, and support weight management.
What is Horseradish?
Horseradish, scientific name Armoracia rusticana, is a long and tapering root crop belonging to the cruciferous family of Brassicaceae or Mustard, along with other nutritious leafy vegetables like radish, broccoli, kale, cabbage, collards, and cauliflower. It is a perennial plant that is harvested annually in many parts of the world.
The root vegetable is said to originate from the Mediterranean and Eastern regions of Europe, where it has been cultivated since ancient times. It reached Egypt around 1500 B.C. and became an important medicinal ingredient in the Middle Age. Britain, Germany, and Scandinavia also valued the root as a staple condiment on their meat dishes. Horseradish finally arrived in North America during European colonization. Despite having the word horse on its name, the vegetable is poisonous to the said animal.
The impressive nutrient content of horseradish has been used to cure and prevent diseases since ancient period…
Generally, horseradish root is thick, cylindrical, and fleshy, with broad, crinkled, leafy greens connected at its base. Freshly-harvested taproots have rough and grayish-brown skin and a white or light beige flesh. Its strong flavor is usually described as spicy, peppery, and hot, inducing an intense sensation through the sinuses. Meanwhile, the leaves, which are also employed as cruciferous vegetables, taste sharp and bitter, similar to arugula and kale.
Aside from being a staple culinary spice, horseradish is also a vital plant in both traditional and modern medicine as a remedy for inflammation-related diseases like respiratory and urinary bladder issues and potent ingredients for cancer treatment. The impressive benefits of horseradish can be attributed to its abundant organic chemical content, fiber, minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc, and vitamins, including folate and vitamin C.
Nutritional Profile of Horseradish
What are the Health Benefits of Horseradish?
A laboratory study concluded that horseradish extracts containing flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol diminish oxidative damages in the DNA, displaying significant antioxidant properties against free radicals in the body. The root crop also possesses rich vitamin C and several volatile phytochemical constituents, including different forms of isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, all of which carry powerful antioxidant effects versus toxic molecules.
Along with its active scavenging ability, horseradish also showcases anti-inflammatory properties, which inhibit and reduce various types of cytokines or cell signaling proteins that cause systemic inflammation. All thanks to its sulfur-containing compounds, vitamin C, and some minerals, horseradish is often recommended as a relief for individuals suffering from inflammation-related conditions like joint pains, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infections, and festering wounds.
Recent scientific studies show that the sulfur-containing glucosinolate present in crucifers, including horseradish, can activate certain detoxifying agents that mop up various cancer-causing molecules. Another sulfur compound called allyl isothiocyanate offers strong antimicrobial properties against pathogen microbes, aiding the detoxification of the ear, kidney, liver, and other digestive organs thereby, treating existing infections.
Major Health Benefits of Horseradish
1. Horseradish boosts immunity and metabolism
This spicy root has excellent amounts of vitamin C, which is highly associated with better stimulation of white blood cells, significantly improving the immune system and metabolic functions. Vitamin C, along with other antioxidant phytochemicals, blocks and alleviates both bacterial and viral infections, as well as their symptoms.
2. Its antibacterial agents hasten wound healing
With the potent antimicrobial and detoxifying activities of horseradish, ingestion or topical application of its essential oil concentrated with allyl isothiocyanates can hasten the healing of small cuts or wounds.
3. The root promotes healthier digestion
Horseradish is recognized as a cholagogue or a substance that promotes bile discharge out of your system, as its volatile phytochemicals stimulate secretion of various digestive enzymes like gastric, salivary, and intestinal enzymes and aid correct bowel movements, resulting to healthier digestion.
4. Horseradish treats urinary tract infections
Eating horseradish has been shown to help with the treatment of urinary tract infections due to its rich sinigrin that possesses antibiotic and diuretic properties. This certain glucosinolate prevents water retention and stimulates urination, both of which are crucial for the regular removal of toxins, as well as fats, from your body.
5. It also alleviates respiratory ailments
The anti-inflammatory and antibiotic activities of horseradish are mainly responsible for its remarkable ability to provide relief for multiple respiratory ailments, such as common cold, cough, acute sinusitis, and bronchitis. Taking a heavy sniff out of pure horseradish clears out nasal congestion due to an illness, allergy, or cold.
6. Dietary horseradish prevents cancer
A research organization published that horseradish is an excellent dietary supplementation to lower the risk of cancer cell growth and proliferation. Its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents like glucosinolates are shown to activate important enzymes that can eradicate cancer-causing molecules, including free radicals. Present studies reveal that horseradish compounds are potential ingredients for curing colon cancer.
7. This mineral-rich root strengthens bones
Mineral-rich horseradish can strengthen your bones and protect them from debilitating illnesses like osteoporosis. It contains calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and zinc, each of which contributes to the repair, healing, and maintenance of your bone structures, as well as the muscles attached to them.
8. Horseradish supports weight loss plans
As mentioned, horseradish acts as a diuretic that encourages the regular elimination of toxins and fats, cleaning your insides and staving weight off your body. Its low-calorie and fiber-rich qualities also support your weight loss plans, as it enhances satiety and reduces overeating tendency and unnecessary cravings.
9. It eases skin conditions
One benefit of horseradish is easing certain skin conditions due to its rich antioxidants and bleaching powers. The topical application of horseradish paste has been linked to mitigating melasma, a pigmentation disorder where your skin starts to discolor in uneven places, significantly lightening the affected area and making it look younger and glowing.
10. Its oil aids hair regeneration
The plentiful antioxidants in horseradish are believed to aid the regeneration of hair by improving blood circulation in the scalp, preventing excessive hair loss that can lead to balding.
How to Prepare
Wash the root in cold water, gently wiping the surface to eliminate dirt, then mop dry. Trim both ends and cut depending on how much your recipe requires. Like many spices, horseradish loses its flavor quickly. To preserve its aroma and taste, grate the peeled flesh and add to the dish towards the end of cooking.
Here are a few serving ideas you can follow to savor your horseradish:
- Freshly-grated roots are added to numerous cuisines all over the world, as they add not only a delectable jest but also healthy nutrition.
- Utilize your horseradish root in salads, dressings, dips, or sauces to enjoy along with your favorite chicken, meat, and seafood dish.
- Make an amazing horseradish sauce to accompany your venison, steak, and many fish preparations like tuna, mackerel, and trout recipes.
How to Select and Store
Selection: Horseradish is generally available whole year round but is in its freshest condition during the late fall season. Choose roots that look fresh, feel stony-hard, and devoid of molds, soft spots, discoloration, and mold formation. Avoid roots that are green-tinged, as they can be very bitter, as well as those overmature ones, as they are excessively fibrous and off-flavored.
Storage: As soon as you get home, put your horseradish inside a loose paper bag and place inside the refrigerator to keep fresh for about six to nine months. Meanwhile, commercially prepared products are sold in stores throughout the year.
Possible Risks and Complications
The many sulfur-containing compounds in horseradish can sometimes cause mucosa, skin, and eye irritation in some overly-sensitive individuals. Use safety goggles and gloves, just like how you prepare onions, to avoid the mentioned adverse reactions. Consuming horseradish is also thought to cause or aggravate digestive issues, hypothyroidism, and kidney problems.
Moderate and normal dietary consumption of the highly nutritious horseradish has been linked to a wide array of health benefits that are approved by traditional medicine and modern science. As it is easily prepared and readily available everywhere on the planet, there is no reason why you can’t incorporate the vegetable into your daily meals. Relish the roots’ overflowing amounts of important phytochemical compounds, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents, fiber, minerals, and vitamins and experience overall wellness.
What was your reaction when you first ate horseradish? Share your health journey with us in the comments below!