When thinking about horseradish the first thing that normally comes to mind is horseradish sauce as the classic accompaniment to roast beef. It is probably not be at the top of your list of juice ingredients, but it juices really well (similar consistency to ginger or turmeric) and has some amazing health benefits.
Horseradish or Armoracia rusticana to give it its scientific name is a perennial plant belonging to the Brassicaceae family that also includes broccoli, cabbage and mustard. The plant is a native of Southeastern Europe and West Asia though nowadays it is cultivated elsewhere in the world mainly for its large white, edible root.
When intact, the root is nearly devoid of any aroma but when it is juiced or grated, the enzymes from the plant’s cells and produce allyl isothiocyanate or mustard oil which can irritate the eyes and the mucus membranes - hence the goggles in the picture below!
The reason that horseradish is believed to be so good for your health can be attributed to the high levels of various nutrients and minerals. It is very high in dietary fibre (although much of this is lost in juicing) as well as folate, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, magnesium and manganese. It also contains other useful organic chemicals, oils and enzymes such as glucosinolates which are known to help protect against cancer.
8 Health Benefits of Horseradish
1. Boosts the immune system
As mentioned above horseradish is packed full of beneficial nutrients including essential minerals and phytochemicals which are responsible for the root’s well-known, pungent aroma. Some of the compounds found in horseradish are excellent natural antioxidants which can help stimulate improve the body’s white blood cell supply and protect us from illness.
Horseradish also contains a high level of Vitamin C which is also known to boost the body’s immune function. Antioxidants also help protect the body’s cells from free radical damage and protect against disease while they also have a significant anti-aging effect.
2. Protection against cancer
According to recent research, horseradish contains several compounds that can help detoxify the body and eliminate cancer causing toxins from the body. A compound found in horseradish known as glucosinolate goes through certain chemical reactions which activate enzymes responsible for detoxifying the body of harmful free radicals linked to cancer.
The research conducted by the University of Illinois was able to document the anti-cancer abilities of the enzymes found in horseradish for the very first time. The research team noted that horseradish contained around ten times higher levels of glucosinolates than its cousin – broccoli meaning that you don’t need to eat plates full of the stuff to stay healthy.
3. Blood pressure
Horseradish is a good source of the potassium which is essential to improving blood flow and widening the arteries. A deficiency in potassium is linked to high blood pressure and high blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke and other heart diseases like atherosclerosis.
4. Healthy bones
Although it is not the richest source of calcium, horseradish does contain modest amounts of the mineral associated with bone health and repair. Getting plenty of calcium into your diet is essential to help your bones grow and regenerate and to protect them from debilitating bone conditions such as osteoporosis.
5. Metabolic function
Horseradish is packed so full of essential minerals, important vitamins and proteins, is lacking in fat, so can help the way protein is metabolized by the body. It ensures that proteins are utilized efficiently to repair the body and bolsters the immune defenses against illness. Eating horseradish can help increase your energy levels helping you to stay more clear-headed, focused and physically able.
If you have ever sliced or grated a horseradish root, you will be familiar with the pungent, eye-watering aroma that it gives off. This odor is actually part of what makes horseradish so good for you. It can help to clear up any excess mucus in the respiratory system and sinuses. Inhaling fresh horseradish can really help to clear the respiratory system helping you to breathe more comfortably. This is one of the main benefits of our horseradish shot.
7. Diuretic properties
Horseradish has some mild diuretic abilities that help stimulate both the frequency and volume of urination. This can be beneficial in detoxing the system, helping to shed excess water weight and treating conditions like gout. If you are already taking diuretic medications, you should get advice from your doctor before eating too much horseradish.
8. Antimicrobial action
The Allyl isothiocyanate found in horseradish has powerful and natural antimicrobial effects that can help defend the body from numerous bacterial infections including Staphylococcus aureus and E.Coli. Studies have also demonstrated that horseradish can help treat other types of infection including yeast infections like Candida albicans.