The radish is the root of a plant closely related to mustard and has similar health properties. It is rich in vital nutrients like Vitamin C, provides protection against cancer, and has numerous benefits for digestive health, including improving digestion.
Radishes are from the Cruciferae family, like cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Like these vegetables, radishes also contain glucosilinates and other sulfurous compounds that give these brassica vegetables their flavor and offer valuable protection against cancer. A study in Italy found the Japanese daikon variety of radish to demonstrate anti-cancer activity toward three human colon carcinoma cell lines.
Radishes are also useful for gall-bladder and liver problems. Radish juice has a powerful effect on the gall-bladder, making it contract and pump more bile into the stomach. It's this increase in bile that improves the digestion of fats, and why radishes are useful when eaten before a meal.
Radishes are rich source of other nutrients too; they contain potassium, calcium, sulfur, Vitamin C, folic acid and selenium.
Radishes have a peppery flavor and a crisp, crunchy texture. There are many varieties of radish, including the popular small variety of radish which has a red skin and white flesh. Another variety is the large white mooli or diakon radish, which is shaped like a carrot, and has a milder flavor than the smaller, red varieties.
Tips for Using Radishes
- Eat radishes as fresh as possible, when they are still young and crisp.
- Fresh, raw radishes contain more Vitamin C and other nutrients than cooked radishes.
- The green leaves on the top of radishes are also delicious and equally nutritious. In fact, radish leaves contain almost six times the Vitamin C content of their roots and are also a good source of calcium.
- Radishes are very easy to grow yourself from seed. They can be grown indoors in a window box or outside in the garden, and are fast-growing, taking 3-4 weeks to mature.