Red or white colored root vegetables that look like turnips, radishes are obtained from the plant Raphanus sativus belonging to the family Brassicaceae or Cruciferae. These vegetables first originated in China and spread from there to Greece and Egypt and subsequently to the rest of Europe and the United States.
Most people are aware of the health benefits of radishes that belong to the red and white varieties that are commonly found all over the world. However, there is also a black form of radish known as Spanish black radish that grows in European countries.
Why Radish is Beneficial?
The health benefits of radishes arise from its chemical constituents that include dietary fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, iron, potassium and calcium. Radishes also contain phytoconstituents belonging to the category of isothiocyanates. It is particularly recognized for the activity of its glucosinolates, mainly glucoraphenin.
Ayurveda on Radishes
The health benefits of radishes have been found useful in treating digestive problems such as indigestion, removal of excessive bile, stomach ache and acidity. Mixing radish or the juice extracted from radish leaves with a little sugar is useful in treating acidity.
Radish juice with lemon juice is recommended for flatulence. However, it is advised not to consume radish on an empty stomach and during winters because it has a tendency to stimulate bile and cause chest inflammation.
Health Benefits of Radishes
Research on the benefits of radish has focused on its properties specified in traditional medicine and laboratory experiments in animals have lent credence to the role of radish as a digestive and anticancer agent.
Digestive Benefits : The major health benefits of radishes are recognized to be on the digestive system. Radishes help to overcome disorders of the stomach and intestine and bile duct that may result in loss of appetite, improper digestion, stomach pain and flatulence. They are believed to act by stimulating the secretion of the digestive fluids.
Because of its digestive properties and fiber content it is helpful in case of piles. radish juice is considered to be useful in such situations.
Liver and Gall Bladder Protective Function : Radishes help to improve the functioning of the liver and gall bladder by inducing the production of certain enzymes that are involved in the process of detoxification. The glucosinolates present in the radishes are converted into nitriles and isothiocyanates on metabolism in the liver and these compounds act as enzyme inducers. The consumption of radish improves the flow of bile from the liver to the gall bladder and this has a protective effect on the gall bladder, too.
Anti Cancer Benefits : Health benefits of radishes against cancer have been investigated and researchers have found that the glucoraphenin content of the radishes has action against cancer cells in the laboratory. Part of the anticancer action is also attributed to the presence of vitamin C in radishes which is a strong antioxidant associated with preventing cancer.
Weight loss : Radishes are believed to be helpful in weight loss, primary reason being the fact that they are very filling in nature but with very low calorie content. Thus while eating radish you gain lot of digestive fibers you do not gain calories.
Radish helps in improving eyesight, this is because of presence of vitamin C in radish.
How to Select and Store
Always make it a point to select roots that are solid, hard and have a smooth texture without any stains, black mold or blemishes on its surface.
To store, remove the leaves on top of the radishes, insert the roots in plastic bags and store in the refrigerator for around 15 days. If you use perforated plastic bags, you can keep Spanish black radishes in the refrigerator for a few months.
Precautions while using raddish
Radishes contain a high concentration of potassium and therefore, people with kidney problems or on medication for high blood pressure should speak to their physician about how much radish they can consume.
As the health benefits of radishes become more obvious, the number of people consuming this amazing vegetable. Although you may cook it and include in other dishes, the best way is to consume radish in raw form, mostly as a salad.