Most people have either had horseradish in the past as a condiment or have at least heard of it, but what some people don’t know is that it’s actually a perennial plant. You may have even seen a horseradish plant before without knowing it, as it doesn’t have a strong smell until it’s cut, which then produces a strong odor that hits you hard. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but horseradish is a popular spice that people seem to love or hate.
Horseradish itself is most popular when used as part of a sauce and is close enough to wasabi to act as a substitute in some scenarios. No matter how you’re getting your horseradish, you might not realize that it’s actually quite beneficial for your health. To show you what horseradish can do, let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value of this spice and those great health benefits that you can get from adding more to your diet.
Nutrition of Horseradish
Knowing what you know about horseradish, there’s not much of a chance that you want to have more than one tablespoon at a time. Though it’s not large at all, that serving does have quite a bit of nutrition and only about seven calories. There’s not much protein in horseradish, but you will get a half gram of fiber to establish a nice base. When it comes to the vitamins found in horseradish, vitamin C is the most abundant with six percent of your daily recommendation.
The other vitamins that register on the scale are vitamin B6 and folate with about two percent daily value. Horseradish also contains small amounts of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, manganese and selenium. Obviously you can get more of these minerals if you eat more horseradish, but people tend to have a small limit. There’s no fat or cholesterol in each serving of horseradish, which is a nice bonus to top it all off.
If you’ve ever put your nose up to horseradish, you know how much it can clear your sinuses out. When you get a whiff of horseradish, your respiratory system produces more mucus and other helpful fluids that will allow you to breathe easier. If you have a stuffy nose, this is a good way to clear you out for a short amount of time so that you can get more oxygen into your lungs. It’s also important for those that get sinus infections regularly.
Sinus infections are usually caused by dryness and too much mucus in your sinuses, so a runny nose will actually help you in this situation. Sniffing horseradish and then blowing your nose can keep sinus infections at bay, which is a godsend for those of us that have problems with these types of infections in the winter time. Horseradish has even been shown to help you get through the flu and other types of congestion faster.
There aren’t a ton of vitamins or minerals within each serving of horseradish because of its small serving size, but you are getting plenty of important compounds that can keep you healthy. Horseradish contains glucosinolates that have been shown to be effective in fighting against cancer by ridding your body of carcinogens. Not only can this prevent tumors, but it can also stop existing ones from growing.
There are other antioxidants known as phytochemicals to further assist in preventing cancer, fighting off free radicals that can cause cancer. You might also be getting enough vitamin C in your diet, but there’s no such thing as too much, and horseradish provides a nice little vitamin C boost. When you get the recommended amount in your diet, vitamin C helps create more white blood cells that can eradicate viruses that cause illnesses like the cold.
Good For Digestion
The smell of horseradish alone might make you think that it’s going to make your stomach turn, but studies have shown that the benefits for your digestion are numerous. Many foods that help your digestive system are high in fiber, but that’s not really the case for horseradish. In this case, the phytochemicals found within horseradish stimulate your digestive system to produce more helpful juices that break down food and keep you regular.
Combined with the small amount of fiber, you’re much less likely to have problems that include constipation or diarrhea. Just a word of caution, however, those that suffer from ulcers are advised to stay away from horseradish as it can make these problems worse. If you can’t eat too much horseradish, mixing in the juice of this spice with water or a stronger drink might be able to help.
Because of its powerful compounds, horseradish is one of those foods that you should be eating if you’re trying to cleanse toxins out of your system. We already pointed out how it can get rid of carcinogens, but it also cleans out your kidneys and promotes a better urinary system so that you can avoid infections. For that reason, horseradish is considered to be a diuretic that reduces inflammation in the urinary tract and prevents kidney stones.
Even if you’re going on a detox diet to try and lose a few pounds, horseradish can help you out in that regard. Since it’s low in calories and boosts your metabolism, horseradish is a great staple to a weight loss plan. The taste and nutrients within horseradish will also help you feel more full throughout the day.
Heart and Mind
Many of the small amounts of minerals found in horseradish can help the two most important organs in your body; the heart and brain. Horseradish has a bit of potassium that can lower your blood pressure and increase circulation. Horseradish also contains helpful omega fatty acids that protect both of these organs that can reduce your chances of neurological diseases that include Alzheimer’s and dementia. The elimination of free radicals contributes by lowering your chances of heart disease down the road, as well.
Summing it Up
Not much is known about what the maximum amount of horseradish people can consume is, and a lot of that has to do with people not being able to eat enough to find out. Horseradish doesn’t have a known toxicity, so you don’t have to worry about that, but it’s suggested that you usually stick to the regular serving size of one tablespoon. Most people won’t experience any side effects (except the ones that are actually helpful).
Some, however, might be allergic to horseradish. Those that are might experience skin irritation or digestive problems. There are also certain medications that can interact negatively with horseradish, so always make sure you speak with a doctor while on any medication to find out what you can and can’t eat. With all of that in consideration, horseradish is safe for almost all people to eat with their foods, which is good news if you enjoy the taste. If not, there are plenty of other options, but just know you might be missing out on some great health benefits!