Have you had your horseradish today?
I’m guessing not. Horseradish doesn’t often rank at the top of people’s favorite foods. But once you learn how this pungent spice could be a champion in the fight against cancer that might change.
Other members of the brassica family have been hogged the spotlight for years.
Everyone knows how great broccoli is for your health. Mustard seeds and collard greens have been outed as superfoods. Cabbage and turnips receive their fair share of praise too.
And American’s have even been having a renewed love affair with cauliflower and Brussels sprouts for the last couple of years.
It’s true, those—and the rest of brassica veggies—ARE terrific for your health. So don’t stop eating them.
But it turns out the humble horseradish plant may be the true unsung hero of the brassica vegetables. Because researchers say the unassuming root veggie, could help us fight cancer.
Horseradish rich in cancer-fighting glucosinolates
You may have heard of glucosinolates before. Broccoli is rich in these cancer-fighting compounds. But it turns out horseradish is swimming in them.
In fact, there are ten times the amount of glucosinolates in horseradish as there are in broccoli!
Now you’re probably thinking even if you’re fond of the bitter hot bite of horseradish, you’re never going to eat a plate of the stuff even if it does fight cancer. And you’re absolutely right.
But the good news is you don’t have to.
In fact, just a teaspoon of horseradish, the same amount that many folks would use to spice up their favorite dish, is enough to reap the veggie’s cancer-fighting benefits.
Fight free-radicals with horseradish root
But there’s a small catch. While fresh horseradish can help fight cancer, to get the most benefits you’ll need to make sure you’re getting the right kind.
The USDA divides fresh horseradish up into three different grades based on the length and diameter of the roots…
- U.S. Fancy: Minimum length of 8 inches, no less than 1 1/2 inches in diameter
- U.S. No 1: Minimum 6 inches long when the diameter is 1-1/4 inches or more
- U.S. No 2: no less than 4 inches in length and not less than 1/2 inch in diameter.
When researchers compared eleven different samples, the highest grade—U.S. Fancy—came out the clear winner, according to the study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
The U.S. Fancy had significantly more cancer-fighting glucosinolates overall. As well as being richer in a specific type of glucosinolate that experts say is highly absorbable and a stronger cancer-fighter.
Now I don’t expect you to drag a measuring tape to the grocery store with you. But when you pick out your horseradish keep in mind that the longer and thicker the root is the more cancer fighting potential it’s probably packing.
Make your own homemade horseradish
If you’re thinking about taking a shortcut and buying a commercial product, you may be disappointed. Finding one which doesn’t have a bunch of unwanted additives can be a challenge.
Next time you’re in the grocery store flip over a few bottles of “horseradish sauce” and you’ll see what I mean. You’ll find most contain artificial flavors and even corn syrup.
But the good news it’s easy to make your own. Besides the root, all you really need is a dash of salt and some vinegar to help keep your horseradish from turning into a bitter mushy mess.
Just keep in mind fresh horseradish is hot. So when preparing and using it treat it like you would hot peppers.
|This delicious hot and pleasantly bitter homemade horseradish is so much better than store bought. Try it and you’ll never go back.
• Put all ingredients — horseradish root, vinegar and salt — into an electric food processor or blender.
• Process/blend until all ingredients are blended together. (You can add a teaspoon of water if needed)
• Cover and store the horseradish in your refrigerator. (Careful to not get any into your eyes!)Variation: Grate in a small beet to add a touch of natural sweetness and a pop of extra flavor.
And then get creative. Try stirring a teaspoon into burgers or a batch of tuna fish salad. Spread some onto sandwiches or stir into your mashed potatoes.
If you like horseradish that bites back, use it right away. If you prefer things a bit milder, let it mellow in the fridge for a day or two.
You can also simply grate some fresh to add to dishes. Some folks prefer to grate into a plastic bag or under a stove hood because, like onions, the fumes can be pretty strong.