The common root vegetable horseradish contains enzymes that may help fight cancer, a new study shows.
Horseradish, used most often a condiment, has been known to contain healthful properties, but this is the first time that researchers have demonstrated their cancer-fighting enzymes, University of Illinois researchers say.
The researchers had previously identified and quantified the compounds responsible for the cancer-fighting compounds, known as glucosinolates, in horseradish, noting that horseradish contains approximately 10 times more glucosinolates than its superfood cousin, broccoli.
In the new study, the team looked for the products of glucosinolate hydrolysis, which activate enzymes involved in detoxification of cancer-causing molecules. These are compounds that could help detoxify and eliminate cancer-causing free molecules in the body, says lead researcher Mosbah Kushad, who is a crop scientist.
They also found that the amount of these molecules differed according to strain, with the highest quality horseradish having the most. But even in the lower grades, the detection of the enzymes in horseradish is noteworthy, says Kushad of the study, which appears in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.
"No one is going to eat a pound of horseradish," Kushad points out, but adds that luckily, a teaspoon of the pungent condiment is sufficient to get the benefit.
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