Horseradish is a plant in the Brassicaceae family, also called brassicas. Other plants in this family include cabbage, broccoli, radish and cress.
Horseradish contains isothiocyanates which cause the heat sensation you feel when you eat it - this is not to be mistaken with an allergic reaction. Isothiocyanate is also found in wasabi, garlic and mustard seeds.
Although fresh horseradish is low in sulphites
canned or processed horseradishes will usually contain sulphites as a preservative. These can be eaten in small amounts by people who are sensitive to them, but high sulphite foods are best avoided.
Horseradish is a low FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for F
olyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.
Horseradish is a food low in salicylates. Salicylates have the potential to cause gastrointestinal food intolerance symptoms in people who are sensitive to salicylates.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Horseradish is associated with contact allergic dermatitis from isothiocyanates if they come into contact with the skin.
Other plants in the Brassicaea
family are canola (rapeseed), broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, kohlrabi, wasabi, swede, turnip, cress, radish and mustard. If you are allergic to may of these foods then there is a possibility you will also be unable to eat horseradish.
Science Direct - Horseradish
FODMAPedia - Horseradish
ATP Science - Salicylate Foods
Government of Canada - Sulphites
Articles and Journals
Root Vegetables—Composition, Health Effects, and Contaminants, 2022
A case of hand urticaria, lip angioedema, and oropharyngeal pruritus induced by Japanese radish through IgE-mediated immediate allergic reaction, 2021
Isothiocyanates: An Overview of Their Antimicrobial Activity against Human Infections, 2018
Antimicrobial Activity of Isothiocyanates（ITCs）Extracted from Horseradish（Armoracia rusticana）Root against Oral Microorganisms, 2013
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