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HORSERADISH. THE CANCER SUPER HERO

HORSERADISH. THE CANCER SUPER HERO

It is a spicy addition to a Sunday roast, or a tasty vegetable dish in its own right. If you’ve tried any classic Slavic cuisine you will know about the kick of horseradish. It now seems that it may provide a boost to more than our taste-buds. New research is hinting that horseradish may have cancer-fighting properties.

WHAT IS HORSERADISH? I’VE ONLY SEEN IT IN SAUCE!

If you saw the plant you might well dismiss it as a weed. Horseradish belongs to the group known as cruciferous vegetables, which includes staples such as cauliflower, broccoli and brussels sprouts. The difference is that with horseradish, we eat the root rather than the leaves.

The name is thought to come from a misunderstanding of the German name ‘meerretich’ (sea radish). This was translated as ‘mare radish’ and then eventually moved to ‘horseradish’.

It is not known who discovered what to do with the root, but when grated it has a spicy, mustardy, slightly bitter flavour. It can be the basis for many different sauces and dishes.

Horseradish provides fibre, vitamin C and various minerals.

WHAT IS THE RESEARCH SAYING?

The ingredient that may fight cancer is glucosinolate. This is found in much larger quantities in horseradish than in broccoli. Glucosinolate is converted to isothiocyanates by grating, cooking and digestion. Isothiocyanates have been shown to inhibit the growth and reproduction of cancer cells.

At the moment the mechanism of this is not fully understood. This means that the scientifically-reviewed papers cannot yet say for certain that horseradish prevents cancer. Research has been going on for more than thirty years, but it does all point to promising results for these chemicals.

HOW CAN I EAT MORE HORSERADISH?

The grated root appears in many cuisines, especially those of central and eastern Europe. In these countries it is known by a variant of the name ‘chrein’, and is served as a small-portion vegetable or an accompaniment.

Horseradish is a perfect partner for beetroot, just grate it into the pureed vegetable. It also adds flavour to soups or salads at any time of year.

Give a bit of spice to your meal with horseradish. It adds taste and nutrition, and who knows what else it might do?

 

the author

Jessica Ambrose

Jessica is a fitness writer who loves long distance running, yoga, strength training and healthy eating.

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