Native to Europe, horseradish has been part of the human diet for over 3,000 years, reports the University of Minnesota Extension. Its root has a pungent flavor that, when grated and combined with vinegar to make a sauce, pairs well with beef and pork. Horseradish doesn't provide a significant amount of minerals, but it does contain beneficial carbohydrates, vitamins and phytonutrients that support your health.
Using horseradish to season your meals won't expand your waistline, as a quarter-cup serving contains just 29 calories, which is less than 2 percent of your allowance in a 2,000-calorie diet. Each serving contains 7 grams of total carbohydrates, made up of 5 grams of natural sugars -- nutrients that your body can convert into energy -- as well as 2 grams of fiber, which promotes digestive health. Horseradish contains very little protein, at 0.7 gram per serving, and has less than half a gram of fat.
Horseradish offers nutritional value because it contains essential vitamins. Each serving offers 14.9 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 20 percent of the daily intake recommended for women, and 17 percent of the intake recommended for men. It also has small amounts of B-complex vitamins, which support your metabolism, maintain healthy eyesight and promote the function of red blood cells. Vitamin C helps you heal after an injury, maintains blood vessel strength and nourishes your bones.
Horseradish also contains glucosinolates, a family of phytonutrients. When exposed to air, glucosinolates break down into chemicals called isothiocyanates, which benefit your health. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that consuming isothiocyanates might combat cancer growth, because they control gene activity, and activate genes that prevent tumor growth. Isothiocyanates also help detoxify your body, clearing harmful chemicals, including cancer-causing toxins, from your system before they can harm your health.
Monitor your portion size when consuming horseradish, because eating too much can significantly boost your sodium intake. A single quarter-cup serving contains 252 milligrams of sodium, which is 11 percent of your maximum daily intake limit of 2,300 milligrams. Ideally, you should cap your sodium intake at 1,500 milligrams daily; a serving of horseradish contains 17 percent of this limit. Consuming horseradish as part of a diet high in sodium can increase your blood pressure, which puts a strain on your blood vessels and boosts the workload on your kidneys. As a result, sodium can have a profound impact on your health and contribute to cardiovascular disease.
- University of Minnesota Extension: Horseradish
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Horseradish, Prepared
- McKinley Health Center: Macronutrients: the Importance of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Fat
- Colorado State University Extension: Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C
- Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: Glucosinolates (Goitrogenic Glycosides)
- Linus Pauling Institute: Isothiocyanates
- Linus Pauling Institute: Sodium (Chloride)