While many vegetables have been pushed upon us at the dinner table as kids, you don’t often hear “eat your radishes honey.” Broccoli, spinach, green beans and asparagus are the more common culprits, but it might be worth adding radishes to the repertoire. As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, radishes have a host of health benefits but are typically under-appreciated – pushed around on crudité platters until they’re all that’s left and then drowned in ranch dressing to wash them down.
However, for both their health benefits and amazing array of flavors radishes top our list of foods to start paying more attention to and eating on a daily basis. Especially in the spring and early summer when they grow locally and can be picked at their height of freshness and flavor, radishes should be a staple item in your kitchen.
Beyond the natural zing and satisfying crunch they provide, here are nine reasons to “eat your radishes!”
1. 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 that can build up during the warmer months.
2. Sooth sore throats
Their pungent flavor and natural spice can help eliminate excess mucus in the body and can be especially helpful when fighting a cold. Radishes can help clear the sinuses and soothe soar throats too.
3. Aids 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.
4. Prevents viral infections
Because of their high vitamin C content and natural cleansing effects, regular consumption of radishes can help prevent viral infections.
5. Eliminates toxins
In Eastern and Ayurvedic healing practices radishes are said to have effective toxin-purging effects, helping break down and eliminate toxins and cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
6. Protects against cancer
As a member of the cruciferous vegetable family (same family as broccoli and cabbage) radishes contain phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals that are cancer protecting.
7. Relieves indigestion
Radishes have a calming effect on the digestive system and can help relieve bloating and indigestion.
8. Low in calories, high in nutrients
With a very low calorie count, less than 20 calories in an entire cup, radishes are a great way to add nutrients, fiber and tons of flavor to your meals without compromising your health.
9. Keeps you hydrated
With a high water content and lots of vitamin C as well as phosphorus and zinc, radishes are a nourishing food for the tissues and can help keep your body hydrated and your skin looking fresh and healthy all summer long!
Want a recipe to go along with your next bunch of radishes? Try our Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Radishes recipe. What is your favorite way to eat these delicious vegetables?
Resources: Pitchford, Paul. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic, 2002. Print.
Margen, Sheldon. The Wellness Encyclopedia of Food and Nutrition: How to Buy, Store, and Prepare Every Variety of Fresh Food. New York: Rebus, 1992. Print.