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The radish (Raphanus sativus) is an edible root vegetable of the Brassicaceae family, which was domesticated in Europe, in pre-Roman times. They are grown and consumed throughout the world. Radishes have numerous varieties, varying in size, color and duration of required cultivation time. Radish can sprout from seed to small plant in as little as 3 days, hence the descriptive Greek name of the genus Raphanus which means “quickly appearing”. Both the root and leaves are commonly eaten as a vegetable in salads, stir fry, curry, soups and stew.

White radish.

White radish.

Nutritional Content of Radish

Radishes are low in calories and fat and are packed with all sorts of essential nutrients and vitamins. Radishes are rich in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), folic acid and potassium. They are a good source of vitamin B6, riboflavin, magnesium, copper and calcium.

Health Benefits of Radish

1. Weight loss: Radishes are low in digestible carbohydrates, high in roughage and contain a lot of water which make them a filling food and a very good option for those determined to lose weight.

2. Cardiovascular health: Radishes are a great source of anthocyanins, which are a type of flavonoid, which give the color to radishes and have been positively linked to reducing the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

3. Fight cancer: Researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in India found that radishes induce apoptosis which means that they kill cancer cells. Furthermore, isothiocyanate antioxidant compound called sulforaphane found in radishes has a proven role in preventing prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers by virtue of its cancer cell growth inhibition and cyto-toxic effects on cancer cells.

4. Eases respiration: Radishes act as a natural decongestant and is particularly useful for chronic bronchial flare-ups, sinus infections and asthma.

5. Naturally cooling: Radishes are a naturally cooling food and their pungent flavor is highly regarded in eastern medicine for the ability to decrease excess heat in the body.

6. Promotes digestion: Radishes are a natural cleansing agent for the digestive system, helping to break down and eliminate stagnant food and toxins built up over time. Radishes have a calming effect on the digestive system and can relieve bloating and indigestion. Also, the detoxifying nature of radishes helps relieve the symptoms of piles quickly.

7. Against jaundice: Radishes are extremely useful in treating jaundice because it removes bilirubin and also keeps its production at a stable level. It also reduces the destruction of red blood cells of those suffering from jaundice by increasing the supply of fresh oxygen to the blood.

8. Treatment of urinary disorders: Radishes are diuretic in nature which means that they increase the production of urine and also cure inflammation and burning sensation during urination. Regular radish consumption cleans out the kidneys and inhibits infections in the kidney and urinary tract, thus helping in the treatment of various urinary conditions that are exacerbated by excess toxins in the system.

9. Reduces blood pressure: Radishes are a very good source of potassium, which contributes to a large list of health benefits. Potassium is associated with reducing blood pressure because it dilates blood vessels and increases blood flow by widening the blood vessels.

10. Immunity booster: Fresh radish is rich in vitamin C and carotenoids which are powerful antioxidants required by the body for protection, energy, vitality and disease prevention.

11. Bone health: When it comes to rich plant sources of calcium, radishes come close to the highest. Calcium is necessary for good bone growth and mineralization of bone and teeth.

12. Skin disorders: Vitamin C, phosphorus, zinc and B-vitamins that are present in radishes are very good for the skin. Furthermore, the high water content of radish helps to maintain healthy moisture levels in the skin. Due to its disinfectant properties, radishes also help clear up skin disorders like dry skin, rashes and cracks.

Radishes are a great filler crop around the empty spaces around other plants because they are so fast growing that they will finish growing before the other plants fill in! Find various Heirloom Radish Seeds at our online store. For help on growing radishes, read our How to Plant Radishes article. Good luck and happy gardening!