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Horseradish: A Root with Roots

Horseradish is a long, large root that has white flesh and light brown skin. It is a member of the cabbage family and is related to mustard, radish, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. While horseradish does have leaves that can be used in salads, the root is the primary part of the vegetable that is used. Horseradish has been used for centuries, and its use is dated as far back as 1500 B.C. when it was used by the Egyptians for its medicinal properties. And it’s still used today as one of the five bitter herbs—horseradish, coriander, horehound, lettuce, and nettle—that the Jews eat during the Passover.

More research is needed to support the many health claims of horseradish, but there are some known benefits of consuming it regularly. What science has shown to date is that horseradish helps to protect against foodborne illness like E. coli. It has a strong chemical that forms when it’s cut that acts as a powerful antibacterial, which is the reason scientists believe horseradish to be protective against foodborne illness. In addition, horseradish can help clear up the sinuses and increase circulation.

Horseradish also stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder which not only helps maintain a healthy gallbladder, but also aids the body in better digestion and assimilation of food because bile digests fats and oils and also secrets cholesterol and waste from the body. Horseradish is low in calories—14 calories for two tablespoons—but has a good amount of minerals, and is especially high in potassium. As was mentioned above, horseradish is a member of the cabbage family, and thus it has many of the same properties and benefits as broccoli and other vegetables of the cabbage family. One of the significant properties of horseradish is its ability to prevent and fight cancer. Horseradish in particular is very high in the compound allyl isothiocyanate that prevents tumors from forming and supresses the growth of existing tumors. In addition, horseradish has the ability to detoxify carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) from the body. Horseradish is one of the few foods that actually improve with processing; it releases an enzyme when it's cut that breaks down some large compounds, called glucosinolates, into smaller compounds, called isothiocyanates, which are the compounds responsible for the anti-cancer benefits of horseradish.How to Prepare Horseradish RecipeIngredients
  • 8-10-inch long piece of horseradish root
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • Pinch salt
Get the directions at

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