Who knew that this humble little root vegetable, the radish, has actually been around for centuries? It originated in China, where it was prized for its medicinal properties and was also grown in ancient Egypt, where it was used as a condiment and believed to have digestive and diuretic properties.
Fast forward to today, and radishes are still a popular choice for adding a little something extra to salads, sandwiches, and other dishes. Thanks to this little helper, you can diversify your diet and bring a bunch of health benefits!
Radish – Nutrition facts
Radish has a low energy value and a small amount of protein. It has almost no fat, low carbs and almost no sugar, a small amount of fibre and a low glycemic index which is good for blood glucose levels.
Radish – Good news
Radishes have lots of health benefits, from protecting the heart to treating jaundice.
1Keeps your heart sound
Thanks to antioxidants called anthocyanins, radishes can protect you from heart disease. According to the Journal of Translational Medicine, anthocyanins protect your heart by inhibiting inflammation caused by oxidative stress. Anthocyanins can also reduce high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Plus, anthocyanins diminish inflammation in the arteries, inhibiting the development of atherosclerosis.
2Protects your stomach
Radish juice can help prevent stomach ulcers by keeping stomach tissue from harm and strengthening the mucus barrier. The mucus barrier protects the stomach and intestines from unfriendly microorganisms and detrimental toxins that can cause ulcers and inflammation.
3Maintains a healthy immune system
Vitamin C in radishes supports the immune function by increasing the activity of phagocytes, or cells that ‘eat’ harmful microorganisms. This key vitamin is also an antioxidant, as mentioned above, meaning it can protect cells from free radical damage.
Radish also contains selenium, another immune-boosting nutrient. Selenium supports your health by activating T and B cells, aka white blood cells, involved in the body’s immune response.
4Helps your body fight cancer
Including radishes in your diet can help fight various cancer types, such as colon, stomach, intestinal, oral and kidney cancer. This is due to the presence of vitamin C, folic acid and anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants. In addition, radish contains isothiocyanates, which alter the genetic pathways of cancer cells and cause their death. This prevents cancer cells from multiplying.
5Has good properties for cartilage
The vitamin C in radishes resists free radicals in our body and prevents any damage to the cartilage. Vitamin C also promotes the formation of collagen, the substance that makes up the cartilage of our body. Thus, eating radishes helps to prevent or delay the development of diseases such as arthritis.
6Won’t make you gain extra kilos, so eat as much as you wish
Radishes won’t interfere with your diet and won’t cause you to gain weight. 100 grams of radish has about 16 calories and virtually no fat. So it won’t sabotage your healthy diet. It’s the perfect crunchy snack when you feel like nibbling something.
Radishes are widely considered a natural remedy for jaundice, and radish leaves are the most useful for this purpose. Radish juice is beneficial when recovering from jaundice as it has a powerful detoxifying effect and helps to eliminate toxins from the blood and thus helps to purify it. Radishes help to prevent the breakdown of red blood cells in people suffering from jaundice by increasing the oxygen supply.
Radishes – Not very good news
In general, radishes are safe to eat but don’t overdo them if you have thyroid problems or are prone to allergies.
The main issue between radishes and our thyroid health lies in goitrogen – the natural substance in radishes. When foods rich in goitrogens are eaten raw, the goitrogen chemicals are released. When we eat radishes plain, e.g. sliced into a salad or dipped in hummus, we also consume these goitrogens.
Goitrogens are known for blocking iodine from reaching the thyroid gland. And iodine is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. Goitrogen can disrupt thyroid function. So if you have a thyroid problem you should be careful about the amount of radish you consume. Plus, it is better to cook radishes if you cannot help eating them.
Radish allergies are rare, but they do happen. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include hives, itching and swelling around the mouth, and even difficulty breathing. If you suspect a food allergy, consult a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Some people may find the taste of radishes too spicy. If you don’t like the taste of raw radishes cook them. For example, roasting brings out the sweetness that is otherwise masked by the pepperish taste radishes are known for.
Radish. Experiment by our expert
Fun & curious facts about radish
Vegetarians love radishes. It’s one of their most popular vegetables.
Nothing goes to waste with radishes – the leaves and shoots can also be eaten and crumbled into a salad.
Radish is a fast-growing crop. It takes only 25 days for a radish to go from seed to full ripeness.
In Mexico, the Christmas celebration starts with the opening of Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes) – a festival dedicated to radishes. Mexicans call it Radish Christmas. The ‘sculptures’ made of radish are stunning and funny at the same time. ‘Sculptors’ use radish to create interesting real or imaginary creatures.
Radish in the Blue Zones
Long-livers in the Blue Zones eat large quantities of fresh vegetables, and radishes take a prominent place in this vegetable mixture. One of the favourite dishes of centenarians in Sardinia is french lentils with roasted radishes.
Let’s sum radish up
Radishes are excellent vegetables that can always be found in markets or on the shelves in the grocery store. They have health-promoting properties to make your body sound and strong. Plus, they will always add some great vitamins to your plate, protect your body and boost the immune system.
Not enough? Here are some more from our colleagues!
The popular YouTube Doctor, Dr Eric Berg, shares some interesting info about the main benefits of radishes. Dr Berg is a chiropractor who specializes in Healthy Ketosis & Intermittent Fasting. He is the author of the best-selling book ‘The Healthy Keto Plan’ and is the director of Dr Berg Nutritionals.
Check out his video below!
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