Spicy and aromatic, horseradish is a source of precious nutrients and substances that give it digestive, diuretic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Horseradish, also called horseradish or horseradish, is a perennial plant belonging to the Cruciferous family whose botanical name is Armoracia rusticana. Horseradish reaches a maximum height of about one meter and grows spontaneously in humid soils and with a temperate climate.
It is harvested in autumn, starting from the two years of the plant. The plant is characterized by dark green leaves, flowers with four petals and a fleshy and cylindrical root with a white or yellowish pulp, covered with a rough and dark skin.
The root has been known for its beneficial properties for centuries. It has a very particular taste, sweet but spicy and balsamic with an aroma reminiscent of that of mustard. Let’s now explore the properties of horseradish and its nutritional values.
Horseradish: calories and nutritional values
Horseradish root is mostly water and has a good amount of fiber. This food is low in calories, around 48 kcal per 100 grams. It has good amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. It also contains allyl sulphide and sinigrin, a compound also present in mustard with strong antibacterial properties and responsible, among other things, for the strong and spicy flavor of horseradish.
Nutritional values per 100g of horseradish:
- Waterfall: 95 g
- kcal: 48
- Proteins: 1.2 g
- Fat: 0.7 g
- Carbohydrates: 11 g
- Fibers: 3.3 g
- Iron: 0.4 mg
- Sodium: 420 mg
- Potassium: 246 mg
- Magnesium: 27 mg
- C vitamin: 24.9 mg
- Vitamin A: 2 IU
- Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
- Glycemic index: 24
- Cholesterol: 0 g
Horseradish: nutritional properties
As we anticipated above, horseradish root is particularly rich in potassium and fiber but also in other antioxidants such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. Let’s see in detail the characteristics of the most represented components.
- Vitamin C: given its high content of Vitamin C, in ancient times horseradish was used to combat scurvy, that is a pathology deriving from the deficiency of this vitamin. Vitamin C, in addition to being a powerful antioxidant, plays a fundamental role in strengthening the immune system, protecting against colds and flu. It is essential for the absorption of iron present in plant foods and for the synthesis of collagen;
- Potassium: this element is able to balance the blood flow, reducing blood pressure and also has a regulatory activity on the heartbeat;
- Fiber: horseradish has a good fiber content which, by stimulating intestinal transit, helps in case of constipation and favors the elimination of toxins. They also reduce blood glucose and cholesterol levels;
- Betacarotene: it is a vegetable pigment, in particular a carotenoid, precursor of vitamin A which is essential for cell growth and differentiation. It acts against free radicals, therefore it has an antioxidant action;
- Lutein and zeaxanthin: these are two other carotenoids contained in the central area of the retina, responsible for distinct vision, where they protect the sight from light radiation. Lutein is found mainly in broccoli, peas, cabbage, spinach and pumpkin while zeaxanthin is found in mango, egg yolk, corn. Horseradish contains a good amount of these two elements.
Horseradish: health benefits
The compounds present give horseradish various beneficial properties. In particular it is a good digestive, diuretic, antioxidant and antibacterial; it also helps speed up metabolism. Now let’s see in more detail all the benefits of this food.
✓ Has antibiotic properties
Allyl sulphide, contained in the essential oil of horseradish, has a remarkable antibacterial power. It is therefore useful for fighting flu and urinary tract infections.
✓ Promotes the digestive process
The intake of horseradish promotes digestion as the essential oil contained in it stimulates gastric juices and promotes the production of bile. It also stimulates the appetite.
✓ It is diuretic
Horseradish root stimulates diuresis, counteracting water retention (responsible for cellulite) and promoting the removal of toxins from the body.
✓ Has anti-inflammatory properties
The glycols present in the essential oil are beneficial for the respiratory and urinary tract as they have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Horseradish is a good natural remedy for bronchitis and colds.
✓ Has benefits for blood circulation
Thanks to the presence of potassium, horseradish also has beneficial properties for the circulatory system as it has a vasodilating action and balances blood pressure.
✓ Antioxidant and detoxifying action
Horseradish root is rich in sulfur compounds that counteract the action of free radicals and promote liver detoxification, and vitamin C, which has a strong antioxidant action.
✓ Speeds up metabolism
Like all spicy foods, horseradish root also helps burn excess fat and speed up metabolism.
✓ Acts against pain
Horseradish root has good pain relieving properties. In particular it gives relief in case of pain caused by muscle tears and arthritis. In this case it must be chopped and then macerated in the grappa, subsequently applying it to the painful area.
How Much Horseradish Can You Eat Per Day?
The organoleptic characteristics of horseradish are distinguished by their relative intensity, sometimes related to tearing and irritation of the nasal mucosa: for this reason it is preferable to use a few grams of horseradish, grated or as a component of sauces, to flavor dishes. Excessive amounts of horseradish can, among other things, be irritating and associated with gastrointestinal disorders.
Horseradish: some tips for use
Horseradish root can be eaten fresh or dried. The fresh root must be used immediately, otherwise it loses its organoleptic properties. In contact with the air, the root oxidizes so it is necessary to wet it with water and lemon.
It can be used to season any dish. The horseradish sauce is prepared with the grated root, which involves the addition of breadcrumbs, oil, vinegar, salt and sugar. This sauce can be combined with salads, spread on a slice of bread, eaten as it is (in small quantities) or used as a condiment on dishes (for example on fish or meat), taking into account that the taste is rather sour and sour, with spicy notes.
In case of a cold, the horseradish and ginger herbal tea is excellent, with an extremely spicy flavor: boil 2 slices of ginger and 2 slices of horseradish for 5 minutes and then let it rest for another 10 minutes before filtering.
White horseradish, black horseradish and wasabi: the differences
Known as horseradish or horseradish, white horseradish is known in botany as Armoracia rusticana or Raphanus magna and belongs to the Cruciferous family. It is a particularly luxuriant plant, which grows spontaneously in humid environments. Its whitish root and surrounded by a light brown casing, is used for making sauces, presenting a pungent and spicy flavor.
The black radish, or black radish, is instead classified as Raphanus sativus niger and also belongs to the Cruciferous family. The pulp of the root is white and is surrounded by a black casing. Its flavor is acrid and spicy, basically aromatic. It is a product not very present in large retailers.
Wasabi, or Japanese radish, is known in botany as Eutrema japonicum and belongs to the cruciferous family like other radishes. Its color is green, while its flavor is similar to horseradish, although it is spicier. Unlike horseradish, wasabi is difficult to grow, quite expensive, and not commercially available.
Horseradish: contraindications and potential negative effects
Horseradish is not without contraindications. In particular it is not recommended in case of stomach acid, ulcer and kidney problems. Its intake is not recommended during pregnancy. When the horseradish root is cut, an intense aroma spreads that can cause tearing, coughing and eye irritation.
Where to buy horseradish
Sometimes, finding fresh horseradish can be challenging. To increase the chances of success, it is preferable to go to very large outlets, or to vegetable shops that also deal with less usual products. As far as horseradish powder and sauces based on this vegetable are concerned, it is advisable to turn to “bio” shops, or to grocery stores that are particularly well supplied. Among other things, there are several online sales channels, which allow you to purchase these products remotely.