Health Benefits of Horseradish

Horseradish is a spicy root vegetable in the mustard family. The vegetable is planted in early spring or late fall and thrives in colder environments. Horseradish is commonly made into a pre-packaged sauce by the same name, which is used to season everything from fish to burgers. It is similar in flavor to wasabi, which is used as a common sushi garnish.

Horseradish stands out from other vegetables due to its strong, biting flavor. While you won’t get your full day’s vegetable intake from eating horseradish alone, it will add flair to any dish you make with it.

Health Benefits

Horseradish is more than just an aromatic root vegetable. It has been used medicinally all over the world for centuries. Here’s what the experts have to say about the health benefits of horseradish:

Help Reduce Inflammation

Horseradish, like other members of the mustard plant family, contains a chemical compound called sinigrin. Sinigrin has been shown to help reduce inflammation by blocking or changing the parts of the immune system that cause inflammation. These same studies suggest that sinigrin could help relieve symptoms of atherosclerosis, though more research needs to be done before drawing any definite conclusions. 

Fight Cell Damage

Horseradish root is naturally rich in antioxidants, which can help protect your body from cellular damage by attaching themselves to free radicals.

Early studies also suggest that horseradish may prevent the growth of colon, lung, and stomach cancer cells, though more research in humans needs to be done.

Improve Respiratory Health

If you’ve eaten horseradish before, you’re probably familiar with the unique burning sensation it can set off in your nose, throat, and sinuses. Beyond making your eyes water, horseradish may actually help your respiratory health. One study showed that a supplement containing dried horseradish and nasturtium effectively treated sinus infections and bronchitis. However, more research needs to be done on this subject.

Nutrition

Horseradish contains a number of important nutrients, including: 

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium
  • Folates
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc

Nutrients per Serving

One teaspoon of store-bought horseradish sauce contains: 

  • Calories: 2
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
  • Sodium: 16 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Continued

One cup of fresh ground horseradish contains: 

  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 25 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: 34 grams
  • Fiber: 14 grams
  • Sugars: 9 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams

Portion Sizes

Like other processed foods, store-bought horseradish sauce is relatively high in sodium. Too much sodium can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

It’s important to be mindful of portion sizes when eating any processed foods, including premade horseradish sauce. If nothing else, it will make your nose sting and your eyes water!

How to Prepare Horseradish

Horseradish has a unique, biting flavor that can change the whole feel of the dish it’s used in. Depending on your tolerance for spicy foods, it may be an acquired taste.

The most common way to enjoy horseradish is to buy premade horseradish sauce and use it as a condiment. The key to buying horseradish sauce, as with other processed foods, is to look at the ingredients list and decide how you want to use it in a dish.

Some common ways to enjoy store-bought horseradish sauce include: 

  • As a dip for fish sticks
  • Spread on a burger bun instead of mayonnaise
  • Mixed into mashed potatoes for a spicy kick
  • As a dressing for steak

If you choose to use fresh horseradish, you’ll want to first peel the vegetable, then slice it. Fresh horseradish can be boiled, sautéed, or grilled. It pairs well with other root vegetables, including beets and potatoes, as well as with broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Neha Pathak, MD on September 17, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Arzneimittel-Forschung: “Efficacy and safety profile of a herbal drug containing nasturtium herb and horseradish root in acute sinusitis, acute bronchitis and acute urinary tract infection in comparison with other treatments in the daily practice/results of a prospective cohort study.”

Economic Botany: “Historical Notes on Horseradish.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon.

Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: “Tumor cell proliferation and cyclooxygenase inhibitory constituents in horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) and Wasabi (Wasabia japonica).”

Mayo Clinic: “Mayo Clinic Minute: Spice Things Up to Lower Salt Intake.” 

Molecules: “Sinigrin and Its Therapeutic Benefits.” 

Penn State Extension: “Growing Horseradish.” 

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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