The health benefits of radishes have been known for millennia. Radishes have been used as both a food product and a medicine since before the Roman Empire.
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. When seeds are planted, sprouts appear in as little as three days.
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.
The Good Stuff in Radishes
- Vitamin C
- B vitamins
You simply can’t go wrong with adding this tart veggie to your total nutrition plan! Thin-sliced, radishes make a good snack option that preserves well. A cup of radishes contains only 19 calories! They are also delicious tossed over salad or added to soups or stews. Mix shredded radishes into potato or macaroni salads.
Radishes: Big Health Benefits in a Little Package
Researchers at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University found that radishes induce apoptosis – meaning they 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.
If you have chronic bronchial flare-ups, sinus infections or asthma, radishes can act as a natural decongestant.
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.
Digestion & 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.
The water and fiber content make radishes surprisingly filling, and the lack of calories puts them at the top of the “best diet” foods. The surprising number of nutrients found in these small vegetables means you aren’t skimping on nutrition while cutting back on fats, sugars and carbs. They hold up well and can be eaten raw or cooked. They add a unique flavor to many foods.
There are few foods that work as well as the radish at preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). Drinking juice that includes radish eases the burning most experience during a UTI and shortens the length of time you’ll have to deal with the infection.
If you haven’t given these little root vegetables a chance, why not try adding them to your meal plan? The health benefits of radishes have been proven in countless studies and more research is being done all the time to find more medicinal uses.
Radishes may be small…but they certainly pack a punch!