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Health Benefits of Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana)

When you think of horseradish, you might not connect it to many health benefits, if any at all. Horseradish has a very particular odor, and usually you either love it or you hate it. But if you have traditionally passed on the horseradish, there are quite a few reasons why you may want to give it another try.

Benefits of Horseradish

Below are some of the surprising benefits that horseradish can provide.

1. Immune System Support

Taking a whiff of horseradish, you might not be surprised to learn that it can quickly clear up your sinuses. Even more than that, however, horseradish also contains nutrients, including vitamin C, that help support your immune system and keep colds and flus at bay.

2. Assist with Weight Loss

Horseradish can actually be eaten by itself and is extremely low in calories yet rich in fiber. The fiber and protein content of this root helps you feel full and reduce cravings. Horseradish is also rich in omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, which help maintain a healthy metabolism, therefore making it easier to lose weight.

3. Cancer Prevention

Horseradish contains particular antioxidants that are adept at preventing the growth of cancer cells. Sinigrin, the main cancer-fighting component of horseradish, stops the metastasizing of cancer tumors which is crucial in stopping the growth of cancer cells.

4. Digestive Aid

There are phytochemicals in horseradish that increase the production of digestive enzymes. This helps regulate bowel movements and improve digestion. Horseradish can help with stomach cramps, indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation. Try eating a little bit of horseradish when suffering from stomach cramps, bloat, or any other digestive complaints.

5. Bone Health

Surprisingly, horseradish contains a decent amount of calcium, which of course supports the growth, maintenance, and repair of bones. Incorporate horseradish into your diet more often especially if you’re at risk for or suffer from osteoporosis.

6. Blood Pressure

Horseradish helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure thanks to the potassium content. Potassium helps to regulate the tension of blood vessels and maintain healthy blood pressure, thus reducing one’s chance of suffering from atherosclerosis, heart attack, stroke, and more.

7. Rich in Folate

Folate is an important nutrient that many don’t get enough of. It is especially important for pregnant women to make sure they get enough folate as this nutrient ensure the healthy formation of the fetus’ spinal cord and neural tube. Because of the nature of horseradish, however, pregnant women should not consume too much horseradish as it could cause heartburn or other discomfort.

8. Diuretic

Horseradish is also a potent diuretic, which means that it helps flush toxins out of the body and reduces the risk of urinary tract infections.

9. Respiratory Aid

The pungent aroma of horseradish can help clear the airways and improve your ability to breathe. Especially if you suffer from chest or sinus congestion, horseradish can help eliminate mucous and allow for easy breathing.

How to Use Horseradish

The roots of horseradish can be shaved finely or grated and added directly onto food. This method is the most used by many chefs. Fine shavings can be placed in a dish covered in lemon juice to be served at a table. When exposed to air or improperly stored, horseradish will lose the intensity of the smell quickly after it is ground up. Fresh horseradish will also lose its flavor as it is cooking, so be advised of this and add it to the dish toward the end of the cooking time.

Overall, horseradish is rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and minerals and provides a wide variety of health benefits. Try incorporating a small amount of horseradish into more dishes, particularly with steaks, to add a little dash of flavor and spice.

Caution

While horseradish does provide a wide variety of health benefits, it also contains high amounts of sodium and sugar, both of which can be detrimental to those with certain health issues or weight problems. Because it does have diuretic properties, horseradish should not be consumed by those with kidney problems or peptic ulcers.

The consumption of horseradish may also exacerbate the detrimental effects of hypothyroidism as well, so if you suffer from that condition, avoid excessive horseradish and talk with your physician before you consume it on a regular basis.

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