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Wasabi vs Horseradish - Differences & Similarities

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Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian by Christelle Tchakerian | Last updated on November 25, 2021
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Horseradish
vs
Wasabi

Summary

Horseradish is higher in folate, while wasabi is higher in many other vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, and vitamin B5. Wasabi contains around 25 times less sodium than horseradish.

Wasabi can protect against food poisoning. Horseradish is purgative.

Introduction

Both plants belong to the family of Brassicaceae, which is the family of cabbage and broccoli.

Wasabi is known as the Japanese horseradish (1). Once grated, wasabi should be consumed as soon as possible; otherwise, it will go rancid (1). On the other hand, grated horseradish can be preserved for a longer time.
Horseradish is an off-white root, while wasabi is a green rhizome (underground stem).

Fake wasabi is very common and often consists of a mixture of horseradish and other components.

Wasabi is more prized and valued (2). Both plants have phytotherapeutic benefits.

In this article, we will compare and contrast the nutritional differences and similarities between the two condiments.

Price

Non-authentic wasabi often accompanies sushi or sashimi dishes. Oftentimes, restaurants mix horseradish with green colorant and serve it as “wasabi.” This is because authentic wasabi is really expensive. Horseradish is much easier to grow than wasabi.

Wasabi requires very specific light and temperature conditions that need to be followed, making it harder to grow (3). On the other hand, horseradish is used as a cheap alternative to wasabi.

Taste

Both are pungent in taste (4). The pungency comes from a sulfur compound found in these plants. However, wasabi is somewhat sweeter.

The differences in the flavor between wasabi and horseradish are due to the fact that the plants contain different concentrations of the same group of compounds called isothiocyanate or ITCs (4).

Weight Loss and Diets

In one study, wasabi consumption led to decreased fat mass, reduced body weight, and improved lipid markers in obese rats (5).

Additionally, the fiber in horseradish may help you feel full and thus eat less frequently.

Nutrition

Refer to the infographics below to understand the nutrition differences between the two plants.

Wasabi has a higher mineral score compared to horseradish. Moreover, wasabi also has a higher vitamin score compared to horseradish.

Horseradish is around 25 times richer in sodium. Wasabi, on the other hand, contains more calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus.
Horseradish is much higher in folate (around 216% more).

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Calcium +128.6%
Contains more Iron +145.2%
Contains more Magnesium +155.6%
Contains more Phosphorus +158.1%
Contains more Potassium +130.9%
Contains less Sodium -96%
Contains more Zinc +95.2%
Contains more Copper +167.2%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 17% 16% 20% 14% 22% 55% 23% 20%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 39% 39% 50% 35% 51% 3% 45% 52%
Contains more Calcium +128.6%
Contains more Iron +145.2%
Contains more Magnesium +155.6%
Contains more Phosphorus +158.1%
Contains more Potassium +130.9%
Contains less Sodium -96%
Contains more Zinc +95.2%
Contains more Copper +167.2%

Wasabi contains more vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
7
Wasabi
Contains more Folate +216.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +1650%
Contains more Vitamin C +68.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +1537.5%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +375%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +92.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +118.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +275.3%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1% 1% 0% 83% 2% 6% 8% 6% 17% 43% 0% 4%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 3% 0% 0% 140% 33% 27% 14% 13% 64% 14% 0% 0%
Contains more Folate +216.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +1650%
Contains more Vitamin C +68.3%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +1537.5%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +375%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +92.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +118.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +275.3%

CALORIES

Horseradish is lower in calories by 2.3 times and more suitable for a low-calorie diet.

FATS

Both foods have an equal amount of fat. Wasabi is lower in saturated fats, the difference being 0.09 grams. Wasabi is more suitable for a low-fat diet.

Both foods contain 0 grams of cholesterol.

CARBOHYDRATES

Wasabi is two times higher in carbohydrates than horseradish. Wasabi also contains more fiber.

PROTEINS

Wasabi is four times higher in proteins.

GLYCEMIC INDEX

Wasabi is said to have a lower glycemic index. However, both of these foods have low glycemic index values and are, therefore, suitable for those who follow a low glycemic index diet.

Health Impact

Health Benefits

Cardiovascular System

Horseradish regulates blood pressure (6). Moreover, horseradish decreases the risk of getting a heart attack. This is because horseradish increases the elastic component of the heart’s blood vessels (6).

Horseradish leaf and seed have hypocholesterolemic activity (7). It has a cardiotonic activity.

Wasabi has cholesterol-lowering activity as well (8).

The Digestive System

Horseradish is purgative (having a laxative effect) (9). Meanwhile, in one study, wasabi improved the gut microbiome (5).

Wasabi has been shown to alleviate inflammatory bowel disease. This activity is mediated through the effect of the compound 6-MSITC (10).

Immune System

6-MSITC, a compound found in wasabi, has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial effects (11).
ITCs extracted from horseradish had anti-fungal effects against some dermal fungi (12). This means that ITCs may be potentially used to treat some fungal infections (12).

Respiratory System

Horseradish may be used as a potential alternative to pharmaceutical drugs in treating respiratory issues (6). On the other hand, wasabi can stimulate the sinuses. This is great for when you have a stuffy nose!

Food Poisoning

Wasabi, which is often eaten side by side with sushi or sashimi, is believed to provide protection against food poisoning that could result from eating raw fish (13). Wasabi has also been shown to have bactericidal (bacteria-killing) against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli which are bacteria often involved in food poisoning (14).

Cancer

In wasabi, 6-MSITC has anti-cancer effects (12). 6-MSITC may be a potential compound for controlling cancerous cells (15). Moreover, wasabi has an inhibitory effect against the genotoxicity of acrylamide (16). Acrylamide is usually found in foods that are cooked for a long time or at high temperatures, such as french fries.

Wasabi has also been shown to have an inhibitory effect on stomach carcinogenesis (17).

According to one study, a compound in horseradish called sinigrin causes the death of prostate cancer cells (18).

Downsides and Risks

Thyroid function

Horseradish may interfere with thyroid function. Plants belonging to the Brassicaceae family often have this reputation of disrupting thyroid function when eaten raw or in huge quantities.

Other Risks

Horseradish is organoleptic and may irritate your senses if it is overly consumed.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4419-0618-2_9
  2. Bioactive constituents in wasabi and horseradish
  3. Initial research on the production of water-grown wasabi in the Waikato
  4. http://www.purewasabi.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/comparison2.pdf
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S175646462030092X
  6. Study on herbal actions of horseradish
  7. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2213434418301294
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892354/
  9. https://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search.do?recordID=YU1997000790
  10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0223523421000994
  11. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/230750119
  12. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10068-017-0104-4
  13. https://valleyinternational.net/index.php/ijmsci/article/view/1373
  14. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2016.01403/full
  15. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0361090X04001345
  16. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jsfa.8055
  17. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01635589109514140
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7663242/
Article author photo Christelle  Tchakerian
Education: Institute for Integrative Nutrition New York
Last updated: November 25, 2021

Infographic

Horseradish vs Wasabi infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Horseradish Wasabi
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Horseradish Wasabi Opinion
Net carbs 7.99g 15.74g Wasabi
Protein 1.18g 4.8g Wasabi
Fats 0.69g 0.63g Horseradish
Carbs 11.29g 23.54g Wasabi
Calories 48kcal 109kcal Wasabi
Starch 0g g Horseradish
Fructose g g
Sugar 7.99g g Wasabi
Fiber 3.3g 7.8g Wasabi
Calcium 56mg 128mg Wasabi
Iron 0.42mg 1.03mg Wasabi
Magnesium 27mg 69mg Wasabi
Phosphorus 31mg 80mg Wasabi
Potassium 246mg 568mg Wasabi
Sodium 420mg 17mg Wasabi
Zinc 0.83mg 1.62mg Wasabi
Copper 0.058mg 0.155mg Wasabi
Vitamin A 2IU 35IU Wasabi
Vitamin E 0.01mg mg Horseradish
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 24.9mg 41.9mg Wasabi
Vitamin B1 0.008mg 0.131mg Wasabi
Vitamin B2 0.024mg 0.114mg Wasabi
Vitamin B3 0.386mg 0.743mg Wasabi
Vitamin B5 0.093mg 0.203mg Wasabi
Vitamin B6 0.073mg 0.274mg Wasabi
Folate 57µg 18µg Horseradish
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 1.3µg µg Horseradish
Tryptophan mg mg
Threonine mg mg
Isoleucine mg mg
Leucine mg mg
Lysine mg mg
Methionine mg mg
Phenylalanine mg mg
Valine mg mg
Histidine mg mg
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.09g g Wasabi
Monounsaturated Fat 0.13g g Horseradish
Polyunsaturated fat 0.339g g Horseradish

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Horseradish Wasabi
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
14
Horseradish
25
Wasabi
Mineral Summary Score
23
Horseradish
39
Wasabi

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
7%
Horseradish
29%
Wasabi
Carbohydrates
11%
Horseradish
24%
Wasabi
Fats
3%
Horseradish
3%
Wasabi

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Wasabi
Wasabi is lower in Sugar (difference - 7.99g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Wasabi
Wasabi contains less Sodium (difference - 403mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Wasabi
Wasabi is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.09g)
Which food is cheaper?
Wasabi
Wasabi is cheaper (difference - $1.4)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Wasabi
Wasabi is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Wasabi
Wasabi is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Horseradish
Horseradish is lower in glycemic index (difference - 6)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Horseradish - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173472/nutrients
  2. Wasabi - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/168583/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.