FREE SHIPPING on $99 or more (within the contiguous United States)

Relish the radish and LOWER the risk of cardiovascular issues and cancer

Relish the radish and LOWER the risk of cardiovascular issues and cancer

For many, radishes may not be “top of mind” when it comes to examples of flavorful, healthy foods.  But these crunchy root vegetables have plenty to offer, including an appealing “snap” that makes them a refreshing alternative to more familiar vegetables.  (Some radish fans even confess to finding the peppery flavor slightly addictive). 

However, radishes are good for much more than merely spicing up mixed salads.  Botanically known as Raphanus sativa, radishes are members of the Brassica family of cruciferous vegetables, which includes Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and kale.  With many of the same health-giving properties as their cruciferous cousins, radishes have long been advised in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat fever, inflammation, infections, and sore throats.  Now, modern scientific research supports the ability of compounds in radishes to help prevent deadly chronic illnesses, including heart disease and cancer.

Radishes offer vitamins and minerals at a low-calorie cost

Low in carbs, sugar, and calories (a half-cup of sliced radishes offers up a negligible 12 calories), these little root vegetables still feature impressive amounts of essential micronutrients.  For example, a half-cup of radishes contains 14 percent of the recommended daily amount of antioxidant vitamin C, along with healthy amounts of riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, and folate.  These B vitamins are indispensable for proper brain function and cell metabolism.

Radishes are no slouches when it comes to supplying essential minerals, either.  That same half-cup of radishes contains healthy amounts of bone-building calcium, iron, manganese, and potassium.  The serving also features a gram of fiber, which can improve digestion, prevent constipation, and promote healthy weight.

Radish constituents prevent cancer cell growth

Like other members of the cruciferous vegetable family, radishes are rich in antioxidant compounds known as isothiocyanates – and consuming these appears to lower the odds of developing cancer.  Over the past decade, several studies have shown that isothiocyanates help prevent tumor growth by neutralizing cancer-causing toxins and flushing them from the body.  One isothiocyanate in particular (sulforaphane) is believed to be particularly powerful.

In an intriguing study, researchers reported that isothiocyanates from cruciferous vegetables caused apoptosis - a type of pre-programmed cell suicide - in various types of cancer cells.

And, in a 2018 review published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, the scientists reported that a ten-day course of an isothiocyanate-rich cruciferous vegetable caused increased DNA repair activity in smokers - suggesting that the compounds could alleviate the DNA damage that triggers lung cancer.

Additional studies indicate that women who consume higher amounts of Brassica vegetables, such as radishes, have a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer.

While more clinical research is needed, these early findings on isothiocyanates are promising.

Support your heart with nitrate-rich radishes

As if radishes’ anticancer properties weren’t encouraging enough, they may act against heart disease.

Radishes are rich in nitrates, which help widen the blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, and allow more oxygen-rich blood to reach the heart muscle.  They also contain catechins, a group of healthful compounds found in fruits, vegetables, green tea, and red wine.  In one review published in Polyphenols in Human Health and Disease, researchers concluded that catechins are linked with improved heart health because of their antioxidant, blood pressure-lowering, anti-inflammatory, and blood clot-fighting capabilities.

In addition, radishes are rich in coenzyme Q10.  This vitamin-like nutrient increases the efficiency of the mitochondria (otherwise known as the “power centers” of cells) and reduces the oxidative damage that can trigger heart disease.  Finally, eating radishes enhances the body’s production of adiponectin, a hormone that helps to metabolize fat and reduce cholesterol in arteries.

Use radishes to add pops of color and flavor to recipes

Red radishes, also called globe radishes, are the most common type in North America.  With their crimson skins and white interiors, red radishes make an eye-catching addition to foods.  Radishes are also available in black, scarlet, purple, pink, yellow, or white varieties.

While radishes are healthful foods, they should be enjoyed in moderation.  Eating large amounts of radishes can interfere with thyroid hormone production in people with iodine deficiencies. 

You can slice radishes and add them to green salads, chicken salad, or coleslaw—or perch them atop burgers, much as you would a sliced onion.  If you find the taste of radishes a little too nippy, you can roast them with olive oil and garlic to create a mellow flavor.

To make a tangy radish dip, simply blend a quarter cup of chopped radishes with half a cup of plain Greek yogurt, a minced clove of garlic, and a splash of red wine vinegar.

Radishes not only spark up recipes but also support overall health and well-being.  Maybe it’s time to recognize the underrated radish!

Sources for this article include: 

What are you looking for?

Join Our Mailing List