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Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Radishes are a root vegetable, originally cultivated as a crop in Europe and China. A member of the Brassicaceae – kale, broccoli, cabbage – family, the radish is a common vegetable consumed around the world because the plant is extremely fast growing.

Red globe radishes-Elongated red skin radishes-Winter daikon
Radishes come in different forms varying in size, color and duration of required cultivation time. They can be broadly categorized into four main types-summers, fall, winter, and spring while growers classify them by shapes, colors, and sizes, such as black or white colored, with round or elongated roots. Their biting pungent flavor comes from "isothiocyanate" compound in them, which ranges from mild in case of white-icicles to be very hot in red globe and other pigmented radishes. The top greens are also eaten as leafy-vegetables in some parts of the world.

Daikon or Japanese radishes are native to Asia. They are generally grown during winter months and have elongated smooth, icy-white roots.
Black Spanish radishes are peppery and more flavorful than their white counterparts.
Green radish is native to Northern China region. Its outer peel near the top stem end features leafy-green color which, gradually changes to white color near the lower tip. Inside, its flesh has beautiful jade green color, sweet and less pungent flavor.
Watermelon radishes have watermelon like flesh inside. However, they taste sweet and less peppery, something similar to that of white varieties.

Radishes are one of the most ignored vegetables on your local produce aisle and they shouldn’t be! Radishes are extremely low in calories, naturally fat-free and carry a low glycemic load.

Nutrition in radishes
Radishes have low quantities of saturated fat and cholesterol: this is due to the high water content (around 90%). They also contain a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals. Radishes also have both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Some of the most important nutrients and minerals found in radishes include potassium, vitamin C, folate, fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, calcium, vitamin B6, riboflavin and sodium.

Health benefits

1. Weight Loss
Because radishes are incredibly filling, they are a great way to satisfy hunger and keep a low caloric intake. In addition due to their high quantities of roughage, water and low quantities of digestible carbs, they are a great dietary option. Because radishes have a good amount of fiber but a low glycemic index, they can increase the regularity of bowel movements, helping with the metabolism and weight loss.
2. Cancer
Researchers at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University found that radishes kill cancer cells. Compounds called isothiocyanates and anthocyanins are found in abundance in radishes and have been proven effective in the fight against cancer in several studies. The study was published in the medical journal Plant Foods for Human Nutrition in 2010. Their fiber content makes radishes particularly effective at preventing and fighting colorectal cancer.
3. Respiratory disorders
Because radishes are anti-congestive, they can decrease congestion in the respiratory system as well as irritation due to allergies, infections or colds. Because of their richness in vitamins as well as their disinfectant properties, they also help protect against infections.
4. Healthy heart
The fiber, vitamins and minerals in radishes make them a smart choice for cardiovascular health. They’ve been shown to lower cholesterol, manage diabetes and regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
5. Digestion and detoxification
Your liver and gallbladder depend on bile to keep them running smoothly, and radishes have been shown to stimulate bile production. The sulfuric properties of radishes also help regulate bilirubin production and flush the excess from your blood. Left unchecked, this compound results in jaundice. The fiber content regulates bowel movements to flush toxins more efficiently and to help prevent constipation. Research is currently being done on the black radish to verify that it increases oxygen in the blood and protects red blood cells from damage.
6. Kidney diseases and urinary disorders
Radishes’ abilities as a disinfectant, cleanser and most importantly a diuretic make it great for treating kidney disorders. They will wash away any toxins which have built up in the kidneys as well as decreasing their accumulation in the blood. They will also protect the kidneys from infection.
Because radishes are diuretic by nature, they will increase urine production. They are also an excellent way to help cure burning sensations during urination as well as inflammation. In addition, because they help clean out your kidneys as well as inhibit infections, they help treat various urinary conditions which may be made worse by excess toxins.
7. Fever
Radishes are effective at lowering the body temperature as well as relieving inflammation due to fevers.
8. Skin problems and insects bites
Many of the nutrients found in radishes such as some B vitamins, zinc, phosphorus and vitamin C benefit the skin. In addition the water content helps the skin stay hydrated and the disinfectant properties can clear up problems such as cracks, rashes and dry skin. When smashed, raw radish also serves as a good face pack and cleanser.
Because of their anti-pruritic properties, radishes can be effective in treating bee stings and insect bites. The juice will also sooth affected areas and reduce pain.
9. Leucoderma
Radishes can be used to treat leucoderma because of their anti-carcinogenic properties as well as detoxifying abilities. You can either use the powdered seeds soaked in cow’s urine, ginger juice or vinegar and apply them to the areas or simply eat the radish.
Radishes can also serve as a metabolism regulator, laxative, breath freshener and appetizer. Normal consumption can also improve blood circulation as well as treat dyspepsia, gall stones, gastric problems, whooping cough, sore throat, obesity, nausea, acidity and headaches.

Want a recipe to go along with your next bunch of radishes? Try this one...

Roasted brussels sprouts and red radishes

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1/2 pound red radishes, halved, quartered if large
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, reduced by at least half, until thick
  1. preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut sprouts from stem, cut large ones in half, peel stem and cut into similar sized chunks. Toss in large bowl with olive oil and radishes. Space on a large roasting pan and place in top rack of the oven. If you have a convection oven turn it on, watching they don't burn as this will cut your cooking time in half. Roast until leaves are brown and crisp and heads are tender and brown. Radishes will be brown but still slightly crunchy. Remove and plate, sprinkling with balsamic reduction.
Sources: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/radish.html , http://undergroundhealthreporter.com/, http://www.med-health.net/, http://www.fullcircle.com/goodfoodlife/