Radishes are a great addition to your diet

Published 12:01 pm Tuesday, May 24, 2022

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This week, I’d like to share information on an underappreciated vegetable that most folks really should value. Radishes, like their more voguish cousins, kale and cauliflower, are an edible vegetable of a member of the “Brassicaceae” (pronounced “brass-y-kacy) family, also known as the cabbage or mustard family. Other members of this group are also known as cruciferous vegetables. There are more than 3000 cruciferous species, including arugula, Bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, collard greens, and horseradish. 


The name radish comes from the Latin “radix”, which means “root.” Radishes are root vegetables with light-colored crunchy flesh, variable skin color, and a spicy, peppery taste.

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Radishes can be eaten raw, pickled, roasted, grilled, or sauteed. Their color makes them an excellent garnish for salads, soups, tacos, and sandwiches. 


Radishes aren’t just beautiful root vegetables. They also provide many health benefits, including a reduced risk for diabetes. Radishes contain the chemical compounds glucosinolate and isothiocyanate which can help regulate blood glucose levels. Consuming radishes also enhances the body’s natural adiponectin production. This hormone helps protect against insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may lead to elevated blood sugar levels, which, over time can cause type 2 diabetes. 


Radishes can aid in enhanced liver function, as they contain compounds that are known to stimulate enzymes that help detoxify, protect, and heal the liver. These chemicals also help flush the kidneys of toxins. 


These root vegetables are also great for cardiovascular health. They are a rich source of antioxidants and minerals like calcium and potassium. As these nutrients work together, they can lower blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Radishes also provide nitrates, which can improve blood flow and contain the antioxidants catechin, pyrogallol, and vanillic aci”, among other phenolic compounds, which help protect our body’s cells from damage.


Radishes are great for those watching their weight too, because they are very low in carbohydrates (sugars), yet provide an array of nutrients including vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, thiamine, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese. 


Americans eat 400 million pounds of radishes each year. Most radishes found in supermarkets were grown in Florida or California. The world’s heaviest radish was grown by Manabu Oono (Japan) and weighed 68 pounds. It was recorded on February 9,  2003, at the Sakurajima Radish Contest, in Kagoshima, Japan. 


Radishes are actually easy to grow, and are typically harvested before the plant blooms. Like other root vegetables, they absorb their nutrients from the soil. Most of its bitter flavor comes from its peel. 


David Crocker is a nutritionist and master personal trainer. Questions? Email David at dwcrocker77@gmail.com. Or text to 864-494-6215.