Horseradish is a fantastic plant for a few reasons. This root vegetable has a pungent taste and smell. It is often described as sharp, bitter, and spicy. This is not the type of vegetable you munch on at work. Because of its strong flavor, horseradish is usually eaten in small amounts. Typically as a condiment, to compliment meat, fish, or as an addition to a sandwich. But did you know that horseradish also has incredible and powerful health benefits? The use of horseradish for medicinal purposes goes back thousands of years. Horseradish is a cruciferous vegetable which contains compounds called glucosinolates which, studies show, help to fight cancer and inflammation. It is also full of many other important nutrients.
Horseradish has cancer-fighting abilities due to its high levels of glucosinolates. These are natural compounds found in pungent plants such as mustard, cabbage, and horseradish. Research shows that horseradish contains the highest amount of glucosinolates of all foods. Sinigrin, a type of glucosinolate found in horseradish, has been researched extensively for its powerful anti-tumor properties. This compound stops tumors from growing. And it prevents new tumors from forming. It protects the body against free radical damage by inhibiting the mutation of healthy cells into cancerous ones. According to a 2012 study from the Department of Epidemiology and the Institute of Pharmacological Research in Italy, regular intake of cruciferous vegetables — which contain glucosinolates — reduces the risk of colorectal, breast, kidney, esophageal, and mouth and throat cancers by 17 to 23 percent.
The health benefits of these incredible antioxidants don’t stop after cancer-prevention. Free radical damage can lead to cancer. But it can also lead to many chronic diseases. In fact, most chronic diseases are caused by inflammation due to free radical damage and excess oxidative stress in the body. For reference, the list of conditions caused by chronic inflammation include allergies, asthma, arthritis. This list continues with autoimmune, cardiovascular, and Crohn’s diseases. It can also cause mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and anger disorders.Antioxidants are our main line of defense against free radicals in the body. These powerful plant compounds — like the ones found in horseradish — protect healthy cells against free radicals, reducing inflammation throughout the body, and lowering the risk of developing a chronic disease.
Boosts Immune Function
When the body is less burdened with things like chronic inflammation, it can better take care of the antigens it is exposed to on a daily basis. The antioxidants found in horseradish can help to improve and strengthen the immune system, increase white blood cell production, and provide protection to healthy cells that are in danger of invasion. Also, horseradish possesses antimicrobial and antibacterial properties., So it can quickly get to work fighting off unwanted bacteria in the body. That means that your body can avoid or quickly recover from the common cold, flu, and other bacterial and viral infections that threaten to get you down.
Improves Lung Health
If you’ve ever eaten horseradish, you know that it can make your eyes water and your nose run. That’s an excellent thing if you think about what it can do to the mucus that may be sitting around in your respiratory system. Horseradish is an expectorant. It stimulates mucus secretions in the sinuses and the lungs, so it can help to treat bronchitis, cough, the common cold, and sinusitis. Studies show that compared to conventional antibiotics, horseradish does just as good a job in clearing up acute sinusitis and bronchitis.
Facilitates Healthy Digestion
Certain enzymes found in horseradish stimulate salivation, digestion, and bowel movements. This is good news for those who suffer from bloating, gas, cramping, and constipation. Horseradish also stimulates the production of bile which assists the body in the disposal of excess cholesterol and other wastes and toxins.
Acts as a Diuretic
This unique root vegetable acts as a diuretic in the body — meaning that it stimulates urination. For this reason, it has been used for many centuries to treat kidney stones, bladder infections, and for detoxification and weight loss. Simply mix one tablespoon of grated horseradish with apple cider vinegar and honey for a powerful treatment for urinary tract infection (UTI) or bladder infection.
According to some experts, when applied to the skin, horseradish can help to remove spots, discolorations, freckles, blackheads, and blemishes. Make lotion with freshly grated horseradish and buttermilk. Let the mixture sit overnight in the fridge, and strain it the next day. Use it as a face wash or body wash and leave it on the skin until it begins to tingle and feel warm. Wipe it off and let the magic work overnight as it lightens your skin while you sleep.
Aids in Weight Loss
Horseradish is low in calories, and it contains fiber and protein which help to fill you up. In addition, it stimulates digestive juices for healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. When the digestive system is not able flow freely, the body is unable to get rid of excess cholesterol and toxins properly. This causes a buildup of these harmful substances in the body, which can lead to weight gain.