We all know that adding foods rich in antioxidants to our diets is one way to give our bodies nutrients that may help fight off cancer. Berries, leafy greens and whole grains are some of the antioxidant-rich foods that should be regular parts of our diets.


Now researchers say they’ve another discovered possible anti-cancer substance, the allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) compound, a plant compound abundant in mustard, horseradish and wasabi. According to Environmental Health News, a study conducted on rats that were given mustard seed powder found the plant compound “stopped the growth of bladder cancer by one-third and completely prevented metastasis — the cancer invasion of surrounding muscle tissue.”


The study was not conclusive. It did not prove that the AITC compound could cure bladder cancer or prevent it from spreading, but the findings are encouraging enough for further study.


Think about the foods that contain the AITC compound — mustard, horseradish and wasabi. These foods add so much flavor to dishes while adding a minimal amount of fat, cholesterol or calories. Incorporating them into your diet is a good idea, even if you’re not counting on their possible anti-cancer properties.


Here are a few recipes you might want to try that feature mustard, horseradish or wasabi.


  • Carrot & Cauliflower Pickle – This Indian recipe uses mustard powder plus a bunch of other spices to pickle healthy vegetables. Be sure to use a heart-healthy oil like olive or canola when pickling.
  • British Beer Mustard – Whole brown mustard seeds and mustard powder go into this make-it-yourself mustard. Sounds delicious for sandwiches or for dipping fat pretzels.
  • Horseradish Cole Slaw – This recipe calls for horseradish and mustard. Add all the cabbage that goes into this dish, and you’ve got both AITC and antioxidants in this side dish.
  • Horseradish Mashed Potatoes – We make garlic mashed potatoes all the time; why not horseradish mashed potatoes?
  • Wasabi Pea Gnocchi – A few of the reviewers suggested adding more wasabi that indicated to this dish of potato gnocchi with an Asian flare.
  • Wasabi Popcorn – Prepared wasabi takes the flavor of regular popcorn up several notches. 

MNN homepage photo: SensorSpot/iStockphoto


Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

New cancer fighters? Mustard, wasabi, horseradish
New study shows that a plant compound abundant in mustard, horseradish and wasabi may be effective in fighting bladder cancer. Here are few ways to incorporate