Radishes: health benefits and harms
Radish: chemical composition, nutritional value
Radish (from the Latin word radix – ‘root’) is a vegetable of the cruciferous family, a variety of the species “sowing radish” – Raphanus sativus.
Not only are the vegetable roots edible and useful, but also the tops themselves (young leaves). Their color, size, and shape may vary depending on the variety of radishes.
Spicy. The young vegetable has a sweetish aftertaste and a spicy aroma. Depending on the variety, a barely noticeable sharpness is possible. More mature root crops already have a pronounced spicy taste. Mustard oils give a sharp taste to the root crop; this happens when it is bitten off or crushed (mustard oil glycosides contained in the vegetable react with the myrosinase enzyme).
Fruit size – up to 2 cm in diameter, weight – up to 30 g. Radish is round, elongated, oval, and cylindrical. The commercially available and best-known variety is round. The diameter of the radish of this variety reaches 4 cm; inside, the root crop is white, and the outside is red. In addition to the red tint, there are pink, purple, and white.
Fresh radishes can be bought at any time of the year, as they are successfully grown in greenhouses. But the nutritional composition of such a vegetable is significantly reduced compared to that grown outdoors during the season – from the beginning of spring to the end of summer.
Radish tops and roots are fiber-rich, and macro- and microelements contain essential mustard oils and organic acids. The nutrient content of both parts of the vegetable can be different.
100 g of radish root contains:
- 16–20 kcal;
- mono- and disaccharides (sugar) – 3.1 g;
- low glycemic index – 32.
100 g of tops (young leaves) of radish contains:
- 28 kcal;
- mono- and disaccharides (sugar) – 5 g;
- low glycemic index – 32.
Radish Seeds Contain Radish seeds contain the natural antibiotic rifampin (the main component of sulfur found in radish seeds). The substance can inhibit the growth of staphylococci and Escherichia coli. In 1 kg of radish seeds – 3 g of raphanin.
Note: Rafanin is little studied and is not used in pharmacology, as it is considered a toxic substance. Further research is needed.
- Radishes are mainly used in cooking. Recipes are at the end of this article.
- It is used in folk medicine. We will consider recipes in the topic “Useful properties,” paragraph “Natural antibiotic.”
- In cosmetology.
In professional cosmetics, fermented radish root filtrate is a natural preservative with antifungal and antibacterial effects. It prevents the reproduction of bacteria while, unlike other derivatives of the root crop, it does not cause any irritating reaction and is well tolerated by the skin. Due to the abundance of pigments, it is also used in decorative cosmetics.
The chemical composition of radishes (root and tops) has different effects:
- antioxidant, rejuvenating;
The root crop is used in cosmetics to treat skin inflammation, rashes, eczema, and dermatitis. Radish extract contains components that act as astringents that can effectively tighten pores.
For a tonic effect, cosmetic preparations with radish extract are used during procedures – massages, spas, etc…
Radish face mask recipe
- Radish – 1 pc.;
- sour cream (or cream) – 1 tbsp. l.;
- lemon juice – 1/3 tsp
Grate the radish on a fine grater and combine it with sour cream and lemon.
First, apply the mask to a small area of the skin of the hand and wait if an undesirable reaction appears. Within 20-30 minutes, apply the mask on the previously cleansed face for 15 minutes. After that, wash it off with warm water. You can use this mask twice times a week.
Norms of use
In the absence of contraindications (discussed below), the daily rate is not more than 100 g.
- Do not use on an empty stomach (essential oils and organic acids in the vegetable irritate the gastric mucosa and other organs of the gastrointestinal tract).
- It is recommended to consume radishes along with other meals.
Useful properties: top 9
1. Antioxidant properties.
The antioxidants contained in the vegetable help in different cases:
- Fight free radicals (which provoke the oxidation of fatty acids in cell membranes), thereby protecting cells from damage, premature aging, and chronic diseases;
- Strengthen the protective functions of the immune system from potentially harmful organisms – prevention of colds and infectious diseases;
- Maintain a favorable state of the nervous system – normalize the psycho-emotional state, eliminate mood swings, and relieve general fatigue.
2. Antifungal properties.
The radish contains the RsAFP2 protein substance, which has fungicidal activity (suppression of fungal activity). Regular (moderate) radishes consumption helps suppress Candida’s growth.
3. Natural antibiotic (for bronchitis, tonsillitis, bad breath).
Benefits in traditional medicine:
- Radish contains phytoncides (a complex of antimicrobial volatile organic compounds) – a natural antibiotic. When it enters the oral cavity, it has a disinfecting effect, eliminates bad breath, and fights caries;
- Radish juice and infusion contain anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and bactericidal compounds that help clear the airways of accumulated phlegm and relieve cough and sore throat symptoms.
Recipe for an infusion of radish tops (for coughs, bronchitis)
- Chopped radish tops (only young) – 1.5 tbsp. l.;
- hot water – 300 ml.
- Let the water heat up (not boiling).
- Chop the tops of the radish.
- Dip the crushed tops into hot water. Wrap the pan in a towel and put it in a dark place for 1 hour.
- Strain the infusion through cheesecloth.
2 tbsp. Spoons 3 times a day after meals.
Radish juice for sore throat, cough, sore throat (for gargling)
- tops (only young);
- warm water.
- Conveniently prepare radish juice.
- Before gargling, dilute the juice with water in a ratio of 1:1.
Gargle 5-7 times a day until complete recovery.
4. Prevention of cardiovascular disease and varicose veins, pressure regulation.
Anthocyanins (plant pigments, a class of flavonoids, have antioxidant properties), polyunsaturated fatty acids, and other compounds found in vegetables are important for several tasks:
- maintaining the antioxidant defense of the body;
- Protection of the heart muscle from ischemia – inhibit the production of proteins that activate apoptosis of cardiomyocytes (death of muscle cells of the heart);
- suppression of inflammatory processes;
- decrease in capillary permeability;
- to make capillaries and blood vessels more elastic;
- Blood thinning (preventive, strengthening effect on the heart, blood vessels, and veins) prevents blood clot formation.
Fiber reduces bad cholesterol (LDL), contributing to the formation of atherosclerotic plaques. And the potassium contained in the radish is responsible for regulating blood pressure (blood pressure decreases due to the relaxation of the walls of blood vessels).
5. For normal digestion and weight loss.
Radish contains a large amount of fiber, which contributes to various processes:
- normal digestion, facilitating the passage of food through the digestive tract;
- useful for healthy intestinal activity, maintaining its normal microflora, neutralizing pathogenic microflora with phytoncides;
- improvement of the body’s metabolic functions;
- saturation of cells with oxygen;
- dulling the feeling of hunger;
- Cleansing the body by supporting detox processes.
These processes contribute to the breakdown of body fat and natural weight loss.
6. Relieves swelling.
- Radish serves as a diuretic and can be a diuretic – remove fluid from the body while cleansing the kidneys of toxic elements.
7. Detoxifying properties.
Radishes are also useful for maintaining liver health, helping to cleanse the body of toxins. The vegetable composition is unique due to the high glucosinolates, which break down to a biologically active substance – isothiocyanate. Some isothiocyanate derivatives (sulforaphane and others) have protective functions – they protect the body’s cells from carcinogens.
8. Regulates the functioning of the nervous system.
B vitamins are responsible for the normal functioning of the brain and peripheral nervous system.
9. Prevention of diabetes.
- Antioxidants enhance the body’s own protective functions, suppress the processes of oxidative stress, and reduce the risk of diabetes;
- Anthocyanins are responsible for suppressing the process of accumulation of adipose tissue and the risk of developing pre-diabetic conditions, help alleviate the course of type 2 diabetes (control of glucose uptake by cells);
- fiber helps slow down the processes of carbohydrate breakdown and the release of glucose into the bloodstream and controls the feeling of fullness – that is, after eating, glucose does not rise to a high level. Therefore, the load on the body in glucose metabolism is reduced.
When used normally, radish has the following properties:
- has an antiseptic effect;
- prevents diseases of the larynx;
- ignites and maintains internal heat;
- improves appetite and quality of digestion;
- dries fat and pus;
- reduces edema by removing extra fluid from the body;
- stimulates nasal secretion and lacrimation;
- opens the vessels;
- destroys blood clots and removes blockages;
- helps to remove decay products;
- kills parasites and microbes.
Abuse of the product is fraught with several consequences:
- doshas accumulate and are excited – bile (pitta) and wind (Vata);
- there is a depressing effect on bodily forces, eggs, and spermatozoa;
- tremor, dizziness;
- there is insomnia;
- there are pains in the muscles, legs, back, and lower back;
- possible diarrhea;
- there is nausea and heartburn.
The combination of radish with other products
Radish tops belong to “non-starchy and low-starchy” products – a universal group for compatibility with other product groups. Pairs well with these products:
- cereals and legumes;
- aged cheeses;
- with cold-pressed oils (the benefits of oil – contribute to better absorption of macro- and microelements).
Radish roots are a group of starchy foods.
Assimilated with the following products:
- non-starchy vegetables;
- oils – ghee, butter, and cold-pressed vegetable oils;
- with sour cream (with normal milk tolerance).
- other starchy foods;
- protein products;
- sugar (mixing any starch and sugar provokes fermentation in the intestines).
The vegetable can cause discomfort and harm health- belching, mild abdominal pain, and gas formation. The reason is indigestible sugars (raffinose, stachyose, and verbascose).
Radish juice is not recommended to be taken in its pure form and on an empty stomach since the essential and other compounds included in its composition are harmful – they cause a strong irritating reaction on the part of the gastric mucosa and other organs of the gastrointestinal tract, bloating is possible. Therefore, radish juice is mixed with other vegetables or water juices.
- individual intolerance;
- Pregnancy (use with caution). May cause increased gas formation in the intestines, in the presence of increased uterine tone, the accumulation of gases increases discomfort and may pose a threat to pregnancy; can provoke heartburn (pregnant women often already experience this ailment); the vegetable grows in the ground, and the remains of the dirt may contain pathogens – it is necessary to wash the vegetable thoroughly;
- Taking anticoagulants. The substances contained in radishes have a blood-thinning effect. Therefore, the intake of anticoagulants and blood-thinning products must be timed (use products at least 2 hours before or 2 hours after taking anticoagulants);
- Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, liver, and kidneys in the acute stage (stomach, pancreas, intestines) and acute stage – mustard oils and organic acids contained in radishes can harm the body in the inflammation stage. Before use, a specialist consultation is necessary;
- Cholelithiasis – permission from the attending physician, is required before use since radish has a choleretic effect;
- In diseases of the thyroid gland (goiter) – radish contains goitrogenic substances, excessive use of which can provoke a “goitrogenic effect,” accompanied by an increase in the size of the thyroid gland and a decrease in the level of hormones produced by it;
- In Chinese dietology, the vegetable is incompatible with taking ginseng root.
How to choose and store
How to choose:
- Radishes quite easily absorb chemicals from the soil in which they grow. Buy vegetables in trusted places;
- The vegetable should be of a standard size, normal color, without any spots, and firm;
- The tops should be green (not yellow), strong;
- It is recommended to buy organic radishes, as they contain more nutrients and significantly fewer nitrates. On an industrial scale, the soil is overfertilized, resulting in many nitrates in the radish. This factor increases the risk of health problems. In the body, nitrates are converted into toxic nitrites and nitrosamines, considered carcinogenic.
How to store root vegetables:
- After purchase, wash the roots well in hot water (with a sponge);
- Fresh, the root crop (previously peeled from the tops, as it absorbs all the moisture from it) is stored for 2-5 days in the refrigerator, preferably in a glass container. Radishes can be wrapped with a damp cloth;
- If the root vegetables become shriveled and soft, put them in cold water, and they will become crisp again.
How to store tops (young):
- Young tops of radish are stored separately from root crops for 1-2 days, in the refrigerator, in a glass container, or in a plastic bag;
- It can be dried, stored as a seasoning, and added to sauces, salads, soups, and other dishes.
Note: the pulp and tops of the root crop can lose some of their nutrients not only during improper storage but also during cooking, for example, when slicing, as a result of contact with the released compounds from the vegetable with oxygen. Therefore, most nutritional benefits are retained in the whole vegetable or sliced immediately before eating it.
Radishes in cooking
Vitamin vegetable salad
- radish roots – 100 g;
- red cabbage – 200 g;
- celery leaves – 50 g;
- cilantro – 50 g;
- arugula – 50 g;
- lemon juice – 1/2 tsp
- cashew nuts – 50 g;
- lemon juice – 1/2 pc.;
- cilantro – 50 g;
- avocado – 1 pc.;
- olive oil – 1 tsp;
- mustard grains – 2 tbsp. l.;
- pink salt – to taste;
- dried young tops of radish – 1 tsp
- Chop the cabbage, cut the celery leaves into slices, and chop the cilantro and arugula. Sprinkle with lemon juice.
- We’re getting ready to ship. We send pre-prepared cashews (washed and soaked overnight) to a blender along with avocado and cilantro. We grind. Add lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, salt, and dried young radish tops to the mixture.
- Before assembling the salad, cut the radish roots not too finely – to preserve nutrients. We connect with the salad part.
- We dress the salad. Top with cilantro leaves.
Radishes are used in many dishes.
The tops of (young) radish are used:
- for making homemade pesto sauce and other dressings;
- for making smoothies;
- as a spice in soups and salads (dried and fresh);
- for fermentation (fresh).
Radish root is used:
- in salads;
- during fermentation;
- for the preparation of pate, such as cottage cheese and cheese with herbs;
- For the preparation of healthy chips (cut into slices, sprinkled with olive oil and lemon juice, lightly sprinkled with pink salt, seasonings to taste – powdered garlic, paprika, Provence herbs, after which it is laid out on parchment paper and dried in an oven or dehydrator at a temperature of 40– 50 degrees until ready).
Bon appetit and maximum absorption of nutrients!