Horseradish is low in calories and fat. However, it contains good amounts of dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Certain active principles in it found to have been anti-inflammatory, diuretic (increase urine output), and nerve soothing effects.
The root contains many volatile phyto-chemical compounds, which give its much-famed biting character. Some of the major constituents in the root are allyl isothiocyanate, 3-butenyl isothiocyanate, 2-propenylglucosinlate (sinigrin), 2-pentyl isothiocyanate, and phenylethyl isothiocyanate. It has been found that these compounds have been known to carry anti-oxidant and detoxification functions.
Some of the volatile phyto-chemical compounds in the root stimulate secretion of salivary, gastric, and intestinal digestive enzymes, and thereby facilitate digestion. It thus, works as a potent gastric stimulant which increases appetite.
Horseradish has good amounts of vitamin-C, which is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant. 100 g fresh root holds 29 mg or 41% of daily-recommended values. Vitamin-C helps alleviate viral infections by boosting immunity. In addition, it helps remove harmful free-radicals from the body and may help protect it from cancers, inflammation, infections, etc.
This root-spice has some of vital minerals in moderation like sodium, potassium, manganese, iron, copper, zinc, and magnesium. Iron is an important co-factor for cytochrome-oxidase enzymes during cellular metabolism. It is also required for red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Being an important component of cell and body fluids, potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
In addition, the root has small amounts of essential vitamins such as folate, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid.