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This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Horseradish Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 85.1 g
Calories: 48 kcal
Protein: 1.2 g
Carbohydrate: 11.3 g
Dietary fiber: 3.3 g
Sugars: 8 g
Fat: 0.7 g
Saturated fat: 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.3 g
Vitamin C: 24.9 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.4 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 57 μg
Vitamin K: 1.3 μg
Calcium: 56 mg
Iron: 0.4 mg
Magnesium: 27 mg
Phosphorus: 31 mg
Potassium: 246 mg
Sodium: 420 mg
Zinc: 0.8 mg

Horseradish is a member of the brassica family, native to southeast Europe and Western Asia, mostly used in sauces and condiments. The plant is now popular worldwide, even being used as a wasabi replacement in Japan and elsewhere due to the scarcity of wasabi (and the relative cheapness of horseradish). With a healthy amount of vitamin C and a whole lot of cancer-fighting compounds, horseradish is a great way to spice up any healthy meal.

The pure nutritional benefits of horseradish are not its strong point due to the relatively small amounts commonly eaten. With that said, horseradish does have a surprising amount of vitamin C, 41% of your daily value (DV) per 100g, according to the USDA database. Vitamin C is an essential mineral, severe deficiency of which can cause serious problems, and is necessary for everything from gum to cardiovascular health, so it’s hard to get too much of it!

The real benefits of the plant, however, lie more with the ‘phytonutrients’ than micronutrients. The first set of phytonutrients we have met before: the glucosinalates that break down into sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, and have a well-studied list of beneficial effects (see bok choy).

The more interesting and unique phytonutrient with which we are concerned, however, is the compound ‘Allylisothyocyanate’. Originally a defence mechanism for the plant, it is now thought to have some benefit to those who eat it: specifically, anti-cancer and anti-microbial effects.

The anti-microbial effects of allylisothyocyanate are less surprising, and perhaps less useful, as I could find no evidence that the compound targets microbes harmful to humans, so perhaps its health benefits may be limited to food preservation.

The anti-cancer effects of the compound are more interesting, however. The study just referenced found that not only does allylisothyocyanate have positive effects on cultured cancer cells and in animal tests, but that the compound is extremely available for oral consumption. While further research is clearly needed, it seems as if the compound may have a strong protective potential against cancer cells.