Horseradish An Unlikely Super Food

By Amy Smith

Sandwich lovers can appreciate the way horseradish sauce adds a little “kick” to their favorite sandwich, but many are unaware of the benefits it provides.  The most compelling being it’s anti-cancer properties.  When you take a nibble of a sandwich spread with horseradish sauce, you do more than just titillate your taste buds – you take a bite out of cancer too.

Health Benefits of Horseradish: It’s a Cancer Fighter
The horseradish plant is a member of the Brassicaceae family, a group of plants which includes nutritionally notable vegetables like cabbage, radishes, kale, broccoli and cauliflower.  These vegetables are not only healthy and low in calories; they’re rich in compounds called glucosinolates, which help rid the body of cancer-causing chemicals.  It does this by activating liver enzymes that break carcinogens down to a form that’s inactive.  Glucosinolates are one of the ingredients that give broccoli its anti-cancer benefits.

More Glucosinolates Than Broccoli?
If broccoli is good cancer prevention, then horseradish may be better.  Studies show that the health benefits of horseradish are greater because it contains more glucosinolates than broccoli – or any of the other cruciferous vegetables.  In fact, it contains up to ten times the amount found in a serving of broccoli.  This means you don’t need to eat as much horseradish to get the anti-cancer benefits.

The glucosinolates in horseradish may also be more bioavailable than the glucosinolates in other cruciferous vegetables.  The horseradish root contains a natural enzyme that helps break down these cancer fighting chemicals into a form the body can use.  This enzyme is released when horseradish root is processed to make horseradish sauce – one of the few cases where processing enhances the health benefits of a food.


Other Health Benefits of Horseradish
Horseradish is very low in calories, yet its spicy taste makes food more filling – so horseradish lovers end up eating less.  Horseradish is also great for a stuffy nose or sinus infection, because it helps to unblock the sinuses in much the same way hot and spicy foods that contain peppers do. 

* Don’t forget to add some horseradish to the grocery cart; it’s not only healthy, but a tasty substitute for mayonnaise.

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