Health benefits of radishes
Radishes are one of the most healthy root vegetables that are not well known to some people. These undervalued root vegetables are packed with nutrients beneficial to human body. They are light colored variable skin color, crunchy flesh, and almost spicy peppery taste.
Raphanus sativa is the family name for all types of radishes. The radish is likely native to Southeast Asia or Central Asia. Ancient Greeks and Romans about 2,500 years ago used radishes for food and medicinal purposes.
Radishes contain high levels of vitamin C, B, K, iron, magnesium, and zinc. These nutrients are involved in a range of basic physiological processes from acting as an antioxidant to protecting the cell from damage and creating red blood cells to promote healthy digestion.
Radishes also contain glucosinolates also known as sulfur-containing compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
The red-colored skin of radishes contains anthocyanins or plant pigments that are responsible for the veggie’s ruby hue. Anthocyanins which are also found in plants such as berries and purple corn has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, further adding to the long list of impressive radish health.
According to the United States department of agriculture, one cup of raw radishes contains;
- 18 calories
- <1 gram of protein
- 2 grams of fiber
- <1 gram of fat
- 4 grams of carbohydrates
- 2 grams of sugar
Health benefits of radishes
- Boost immunity:
Radishes contain Vitamin C and B that helps to boost your immune system by promoting the production of white blood cells. More white blood cell production means disease destruction. Vitamin B also helps enzymes produce new organic molecules. This helps build new immune cells that carry out the functions of your immune system.
- Supports healthy digestion:
Radishes being a vegetable is one of the best sources of fiber which plays a pretty large part in keeping things moving along your digestive tract.
Radishes are rich in lignin, a type of insoluble fiber that remains intact as it moves through your digestive tract absorbing fluids, waste, and byproducts produced by the natural digestive process. This keeps waste moving in a steady pattern through the gastrointestinal tract helping to prevent constipation and other gastrointestinal issues.
Note: People with a sensitive stomach, IBS, or a similar gut condition should know that cruciferous veggies including radishes can cause gas, bloating, and abdominal discomfort due to their raffinose content.
- Decreases Risk associated with Diabetes:
The research discovered from a 2017 scientific review that radishes have “anti-diabetic effects” while more research is still needed, the fiber in radishes can also slow down glucose absorption thus preventing blood sugar levels from spiking. Another review on animal studies has also shown that radishes can reduce glucose absorption in the intestine which can help manage and potentially prevent diabetes as well.
- Have Anti-cancer properties:
Cruciferous vegetables like radishes may help prevent cancer. Cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that are broken down into isothiocyanates that help to purge the body of cancer-causing substances and prevent tumor development.
Incorporating radishes into your diet
Radishes are available fresh in the production section and you may find them sold as bunches with the leaves attached or de-stemmed and packed in plastic bags. Purchase radishes that are bright green and fresh. Avoid the ones with cracks or black spots or oversized radishes. Research says that raw radishes are about 1-inch wide taste best.
Pickled radishes are said to contain more sugar so check the ingredients or consider pickling them yourself to avoid this.
When getting ready to prepare fresh radishes, wash and scrub the orbs and then cut the root tip and stems to help the veggie last longer. (The stems spoil faster so they’ll make the radish rot quickly if left on)
If you are interested in getting the peppery flavor especially from red radishes, avoid taking off the peels, you can either serve your radishes as a whole or you can slice, grate or dice them.
The stems and leaves have also been suggested by research to have a lot of antioxidants, fiber, and a similar pepper flavor to the fruits. So do not disperse the leaves, instead store them separately from the radishes in the fridge. You can either roast, sautéed, or steam the leaves and serve.
- In a salad:
Adding thinly sliced raw radishes into your salad is a good way to spice it up. You can also make a radish Caesar salad for a fun twist on a classic dish.
- As a roasted side dish:
You can also roast new radishes if you are not so psyched about the spicy flavor. Roast them for about 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. “Roasting tones down the peppery flavor and brings out their natural sweetness making them more pleasant for different palates. For example, maple roasted radishes with dill feta.
- As a pickled condiment:
Pickled radishes make for a delicious meal topper. Try combining chopped radishes, vinegar, water, a little sugar, and your favorite species in a jar, let it sit for few minutes or more depending on how much time you have. This is to allow the radishes to absorb the flavor.