Wasabi vs Horseradish - Differences & Similarities
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.
Table of contents
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.
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.
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.
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).
Wasabi contains more vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, and vitamin B6.
Horseradish is lower in calories by 2.3 times and more suitable for a low-calorie diet.
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.
Wasabi is two times higher in carbohydrates than horseradish. Wasabi also contains more fiber.
Wasabi is four times higher in proteins.
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.
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).
Horseradish may beneficially affect the digestive system; its laxative effects may reduce symptoms of chronic constipation (9).
According to animal studies, wasabi may improve the gut microbiome and alleviate inflammatory bowel disease symptoms, mediated through the effect of the compound 6-MSITC (5, 10).
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).
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!
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).
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
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.
Horseradish and wasabi may cause or worsen heartburn symptoms in people with GERD and peptic ulcer disease; therefore, limiting their consumption in symptomatic people is recommended.
Horseradish is organoleptic and may irritate your senses if it is overly consumed.
- Bioactive constituents in wasabi and horseradish
- Initial research on the production of water-grown wasabi in the Waikato
- Study on herbal actions of horseradish
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in minerals|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Glycemic Index|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
|Vitamin A RAE||0µg||2µg|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Glycemic Index diet|