That bitter bite

6th January 2015
A member of the Brassica family, radishes come in many size, shapes and colours. And the best thing about them is their bitter bite. Sure they give a good, zesty kick to a fresh, green garden salad or elevate a simple sandwich to superstar status. But it’s what the bitter flavour of radishes does for your digestive system that truly counts and why I encourage you to include lots of this quick and easy-to-grow vege in your diet. The radish has been a recorded staple since 2,700BC in ancient China where records were kept of its miracle properties. It was also revered by Greek and Roman societies. It was in the 1500s that it spread to the Americas and England, where it’s healing medicinal properties became widely known. And it quickly became used to treat a number of maladies from kidney stones to bad skin and even intestinal worms. Traditionally the skins are bright red bulbs with a white, translucent flesh but radishes come in many shapes and sizes. They need to be crunchy and with a nicely formed bulb and lots of green leaves. All varieties are a favourite amongst gardeners because they are one of the fastest plants to sprout immediately from seed. Radishes also have an exceptional amount of vitamin C in them. Indeed, just a 100g serving of this cruciferous vegetable will give your body about 25% of recommended daily intake. And the reason Vitamin C is so important is because it is one of the key vitamins the body uses to fight disease, maintain healthy immune levels and protect the body’s cells from the onslaught of free radical production. There are also many other amazing minerals that can be obtained by including radish as a regular vegetable star in your diet. Containing folate, potassium, good amounts of copper, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese and calcium, there are so many goodies in these that it’s important to find some way to consume them regularly. However, the thing that radishes are most renowned for in regards to health and how they heal the body comes from their unique ability to activate the digestive system. Because their nutritional composition is 95% water, the hydration they provide to the body acts as a natural cleansing agent, especially for the blood allowing toxins to be released through the kidneys, liver, sweat glands and digestive tract. The water content also helps the body maintain healthy intestinal waste consistency, leading to a much more regular digestive system. Radishes also contain an enzyme called amylase, which the body uses to digest carbohydrates. In Japan, radishes are often eaten with meals to aid digestion. Here’s a few more fast facts about these nuggets of goodness:
  • Just one cup of radish, provides the body with 270mg of potassium as well as 12mg of magnesium, which helps to relax the intestinal walls, which helps ensure regular elimination of toxins from the body.
  • Radishes contain many enzymes that aid in fat and starch digestion.
  • With an ability to contract blood vessels, eating radishes can help to lower blood pressure as well as alleviate migraines, which are caused by blood vessels in the brain constricting.
  • They have both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  • Radishes help to keep bones and teeth strong, as well as rebuild tissue and blood vessels due to high amounts of calcium, as well as copper and manganese.