The health benefits of radishes were known by the Romans for centuries, and while they spread radishes throughout Europe, they are far more appreciated in the far east. While the Germans eat an average of 250 grams of radishes per person per year, the Japanese eat up to 13 kilos, and in Korea, it may be as much as thirty.
Radish Scientific Facts
- Scientific name – Raphanus sativus L.
- Related species – Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana).
- Other names – Clover radish.
- French – Radius cultivé
- Spanish – Rábano, rabanete, nabón
- German – Rettich.
- Description – This is the root of the radish plant, a herbaceous plant of the botanical family Cruciferae that may reach one meter in height. The root can be spherical, conical, or cylindrical. They are usually bright red but there are also black and white radishes.
- Environment – Originally from the near east, they spread throughout Europe during Roman times. Today they are grown in all temperate regions, mainly in China, Japan, and Korea.
Health Benefits of Radishes
The radish is almost 95 percent water. It contains very little protein (0.6 percent) and fat (0.54 percent), and its percentage of carbohydrates is also low (1.99 percent). It is also poor in provitamin A and B group vitamins, except folates (27 mg/100 grams). It does not provide vitamin E. Vitamin C is the most abundant (22.8 mg/100 grams). Minerals are present in small amounts, except potassium. From a nutritional point of view, they are of little value: they provide only 17 kcal/100 grams).
All varieties of radish contain sulfurated essence that gives them a sharp, piquant taste and also is attributed to choleretic (increases bile production), cholagogic (facilitates gallbladder drainage), digestive, antibiotic, and mucolytic (softening mucus) properties. Their applications are as follows:
FUNCTIONAL DIGESTIVE DISORDERS (slow or difficult digestion) because of their aperitif and tonic effects.
CANCER PREVENTION – The Chinese radish, and possibly the common radish, impedes cellular mutations that lead to cancer.
How to use and Prepare Radishes
- RAW – This is typically how radishes are eaten. Red radishes add a vivid note to salads. Their piquant flavor is an aperitif and digestive.
- CANNED – In some far eastern countries, radishes are preserved in vinegar or fermented in various other substances. These methods significantly reduce their vitamin content and medicinal properties.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 181. Print.[health benefits of radishes]