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Horseradish’s pungent smell, and snappy flavor, has more than earned it’s place in your vegan fridge. But, wait, there’s more to it!
Recently I Rediscovered Horseradish.
I had stopped by a friend’s house for a visit and she was putting away groceries. We were laughing about how many odds and ends of condiments, of various ages, lined our refrigerator doors, and we started talking about the ones we couldn’t live without. Horseradish was her third choice.
Did You Forgot About Horseradish, Too?
I realized, in that moment, that I had inadvertently given up horseradish when I gave up meat, years ago, for no good reason. No. good. reason. I just always associated it as something you ate with meat. But, I remembered how much I loved the pungent smell, and snappy flavor, and started imagining all the ways I could incorporate it into my vegan diet. While we were talking, I was creating sandwiches in my head with greens, and Follow Your Heart cheese, and sprouts. (She eats meat, and thinks it is strange that I do not, but we share a great love for my dog, and plants, and she has become somewhat of a second mother to me.)
Anyway, I decided to make up for lost time and picked some up on my way home. Greg and I quickly began including it in all kinds of sandwiches. We had that, “maybe we aren’t the only vegans who forgot about horseradish” moment and decided it would be a great topic for a blog post.
Horseradish is Good For You
The research I began to do on the health benefits of this humble plant blew my mind. One of my go-to resources is Dr Michael Greger’s book, How Not To Die. (I highly recommend you getting this, btw.) He does a ton of research and backs up his work with legit studies and research. You can look it up if you have the book, but I am going to give you the highlights that I got from him, and from the excellent Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford.
- Horseradish is a cruciferous vegetable. If you are not familiar with Dr Greger’s daily dozen, it is a list of foods to consume every day for optimum wellness. A serving of cruciferous vegetables (think broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, etc.) is recommended. Horseradish is the most concentrated of them all and a serving of 1 tablespoon is sufficient to meet the daily requirement.
- Horseradish contains phytochemicals including sinigrin and sulforaphane. Sinigrin has been identified as a special kind of antioxidant that has properties that inhibit cancer growth. It has 10 times the glucosinolates, powerful cancer fighting enzymes, as found in broccoli sprouts.
- Horseradish has powerful antibacterial and anti fungal as well as anti inflammatory impact. In addition to being antibacterial, it has a diuretic effect, stimulating kidney function. If you are prone to urinary tract infections, this is an excellent dietary addition for you!
- Prone to head colds or sinus congestion? Smelling horseradish can be a great way to stimulate the secretions of fluids and therefore reduces congestion in the sinuses and upper respiratory tract, helping to prevent worsening infection. This root is also a source of mustard oil, which is an antiviral and can also assist in fighting infection.
- Calcium, potassium , magnesium, and phosphorus are prominent minerals in horseradish. It is also a source of folate, essential to the healthy development of a fetus during pregnancy and reduces the risks of birth defects.
How to eat it?
It is a win in a sandwich. I mean, you can put it on the bread and then just look around for stuff to add like greens, beans spreads, vegan burgers, vegan cheese. It is a great player! If you are a salad eater, grate some from the root right onto the salad. One way that we like to eat it is mixing it with ketchup (think cocktail sauce) and using it to dip potato wedges or cauliflower “wings” or even Gardein crispy tenders in.
With all this information, how can you not consider incorporating this humble, yet powerful, root into your diet? It has more than earned a spot in the fridge! Let us know in the Comments below what YOU do with horseradish!