Radishes aren’t talked about all that often when superfoods are mentioned, but whether they’re red, white, purple or black, cooked, raw or pickled, they offer a ton when it comes to nutrition, along with a wide range of health benefits. A root crop, they’re juicy and have either a sweet or pungent taste that makes them ideal tossed into a salad, as part of a side dish or even as a main course.
You may be surprised to find that consuming radishes more regularly can help bring multiple benefits to your health, including these:
1. Weight management
Radishes can help you keep your weight under control, or even lose stubborn pounds. They’re quite filling, thanks to their high level of fiber. That means they’ll satisfy your hunger pangs while not contributing too much to your total calorie count for the day. They’re also low in digestible carbs and contain a lot of water to help keep you hydrated. When you’re hydrated, you’re less likely to mistake being dehydrated for hunger. As a high-fiber food, radishes can also help keep bowel movements regular and resolve problems like constipation too, which prevents uncomfortable and unsightly bloating.
2. Supporting heart health
Radishes are a great way to support better heart health, as they’re an excellent source of anthocyanins, a flavonoid also found in blueberries that gives them their color along with their many health benefits. Numerous studies have focused on this compound and have been positively associated with lowering the occurrence of cardiovascular disease, including reducing the risk of heart failure and peripheral artery disease. They also offer lots in the way of anti-inflammatory properties helping to lower inflammation and reduce oxidative stress, and have even been found in studies to play a role in cancer prevention.
3. Cancer protection
Studies, including one from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, have found that consuming radishes may help protect your from cancer, thanks to their anti-inflammatory compounds and powerful anthocyanins which serve to protect the body’s cells from cancer-causing mutations.
4. Relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis
Collagen contains high amounts of the amino acids glycine, proline and lysine, all of which are crucial for the formation and repair of connective tissues, repair of bone matrix and joint surfaces. As vitamin C is necessary for making collagen, eating vitamin C-rich radishes can help if you have osteoarthritis as they contain nearly a third of your daily requirement. If you get the vitamin C your body needs, it can help limit damage to cartilage that’s often caused by free radicals, helping anyone with osteoarthritis and other joint and bone diseases, as well as helping to prevent it from developing in the first place.
5. Aiding digestion
As we mentioned, radishes are high in fiber, which not only helps with weight control but it aids digestive processes. Fiber adds bulk to bowel movements which in turn promotes more regular movements while relieving problems like constipation and bloating. If you’re suffering from diarrhea, it can have the opposite effect, helping to resolve that too. Radishes can also help trigger the production of bile, which is an essential element in good digestion.
6. Treating respiratory conditions
Radishes contain anti-congestive properties which simply means that they can ease congestion throughout the respiratory system. That includes throat, lung and nose congestion related to a cold, infection or allergies. They can also help reduce the risk of a respiratory infection due to their rich nutrients that not only include lots of vitamin C, but B vitamins, phosphorus and zinc.
7. Reducing hypertension
Radishes are also very rich in potassium, which brings all sorts of health benefits on its own. One of the most well-known benefits is for reducing hypertension, or high blood pressure. That’s because it interacts with the arterial supply of vascular beds to relax blood vessels which improves blood flow. It further helps by widening the flow of blood rather than trying to force it through constricted, narrow channels.
8. Controlling diabetes
While everyone should eat radishes, for diabetics they really are a must as they’ve long been known for their low glycemic index, meaning that consuming radishes won’t impact your blood sugar level but it will help regulate how much sugar is absorbed in the bloodstream. If you’re diabetic, munching on this juicy food will help prevent sudden drops or spikes in blood sugar when you haven’t eaten for a while, or while you’re eating other foods.
9. Stronger immune system
Add just a half-cup of radishes to your salad, and you’ll be getting about 15 percent of your recommended daily vitamin C intake right there. Vitamin C is incredibly important to your immune system, and your immune system is one of the most important factors in your good health. By ensuring that you have a strong immune system by consistently meeting your body’s vitamin C needs, it will be able to do its job better, including replacing white blood cells and antioxidants that are a must for battling any type of illness and disease, from colds to cancer.
10. Better sleep
People have eaten radishes since ancient times to help promote a better night’s sleep thanks to their properties. You may want to consider juicing some along with fresh ginger and carrots as it will help your whole body relax so that you can fall asleep easier and stay asleep.
11. Treat an insect bite
While it may sound a bit crazy, radishes can even help take the pain out of a bee sting or an insect bite. That’s because they offer antipruritic properties as well as anti-inflammatory properties that work together to reduce swelling and soothe the affected area.
12. Healthier, more beautiful skin
As you’ve seen, radishes are loaded with nutrients like vitamin C, B vitamins, phosphorus and zinc, which can all aid skin healing. As they have a high water content, they also provide important hydration to the skin to help it stay clear and more supple looking.
If you’re suffering from a skin condition, including rashes, eczema and the like, you can even use radish juice directly on dry, cracked skin to help it heal and prevent infection. Using mashed raw radishes combined with a bit of water or coconut oil makes an excellent skin cleanser too. Whatever you do, be sure and include them in your diet as well, as their nutrients will also help to promote healthier, more beautiful skin.
— Susan Patterson