Health benefits of radish you never knew

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Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a vegetable that is often overlooked. Radish is a root vegetable which belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflowers. Radish comprises characteristic oil which is the sole source of its acidic flavour. Usually, people eat radishes raw as a crunchy vegetable, mainly in a salad. Radishes are often used in the culinary world and add a pungent, peppery element to dishes.

Radishes have excellent nutritional value compared to other vegetables like bitter gourd and leafy greens which are packed with nutrients. The vegetable contains nutrients such as potassium, vitamin C, folate, and many antioxidants that contribute positively to a healthy body. Radishes are not high-carb food. They are very low in both carbs and calories. The following nutrition facts are provided by the USDA for 1 cup (116g) sliced, raw radish; Calories – 19, Protein – 0.8 g, Carbohydrates – 4 g, Fiber – 1.9 g, Fat – 0.1g.

Radishes are eaten raw, cooked, and pickled, and have several beneficial effects on health. Radish comes with a host of health benefits – from protecting the heart to aiding in digestion.

While there is no cure for the common cold and the cough that comes with it during winters, radishes can help you fight these ailments. This root veggie has anti-congestive properties, which help clear the mucus from your throat and respiratory tract. 

Radish can also be helpful to increase immunity. Vitamin C is an outstanding source for boosting body immunity and, radish has a high content of Vitamin C which acts against the free radicals in the body and prevents any damage to body cartilage.  

Radishes contain lots of vitamins and can act as disinfectants that defend the respiratory system from infections. The anti-congestive properties in radishes prevent irritation of the nose, throat, windpipe, and lungs. 

Radish has been identified as having anti-diabetic effects, making it favourable for those with diabetic conditions. The main bioactive compounds of radish are glucosinolates and isothiocyanates. This vegetable contains anti-diabetic properties that can improve glucose uptake and lower blood sugar. A study showed that radishes directly improve insulin response and glucose metabolism. Adiponectin is a hormone that is involved in the reduction of glucose levels in the blood. Radishes contain compounds that regulate adiponectin and other hormones that play a role in regulating glucose homeostasis. The other anatomical parts of radish were found to be beneficial for diabetic conditions. Radish seeds were found to ameliorate insulin resistance and enhance glucose uptake, while radish leaves (‘mulashak’) were found to reduce intestinal glucose absorption. 

Potassium is a vasodilator that loosens blood vessels and enhances blood flow. Radishes are rich in potassium. They reduce blood pressure by monitoring blood flow. Anthocyanins are present in radishes, which give round radishes their red colour. Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid with antioxidant effects that can be particularly helpful in supporting heart health. These foods also have a reducing effect on cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and blood pressure. The presence of nitric oxide in radish is a key regulator of coronary blood vessel function. 

The presence of fiber in radish helps in preventing constipation and removes waste through the intestines. Radishes contain a good amount of fiber at 1.9 g per 116 g of vegetables. Consuming a serving of radishes each day will provide the fiber you need to ensure a fully functioning digestive system. 

Staying hydrated is important to keep your body functioning optimally. A lack of hydration can cause poor skin appearance, headaches, frequent illness, and sugar cravings. Radishes have a very high water content, 93.5 g per every 100 g! That’s almost on par with a cucumber which is 95.2 g per 100 g. Incorporating radishes into your everyday meals will ensure you’re getting the hydration you need. 

Radishes are high in water and fiber and low in fat and calories. Naturally, radish is the perfect weight-loss food. Radishes are extremely low in calories at 19 calories for every 1 cup. Incorporating a bowl of radish with your meals can reduce total calories and help in weight loss.  

Radishes are not exactly the most popular vegetables around, but they are one of the healthiest as it contains an array of nutrients. So add sliced radishes to your salad greens for some crunch, or saute, steam, or boil them for a tasty low-calorie, low-carb vegetable side dish. You can also make radishes curry, bhaji, roastedsautéed, Boil or steam halved or quartered radishes until they are tender.   

Use radishes as much as you can during this winter, this makes a healthy addition to your diet plan. 

The writer is Sr. Nutritionist, Labaid Cardiac Hospital.

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