Offering a peppery, satisfying crunch with every bite, radishes have a unique place in the hearts of veggie lovers. A root from the Brassica family and a cousin to cabbage, the many shapes, sizes and colors of different radish varieties is surprising. In the U.S., the average large radish is red, round with a glistening white interior and roughly the size of a ping pong or golf ball. Another type is the creamy white daikon - a true tuber with the tail to show for it, and a winter radish, while the red ones proliferate in the spring. The original radish was black. Other varieties come in pink, dark grey, purple, two-tone green and white, and yellow. The radish is well-traveled and ancient, mentioned in historical Chinese annals as early as 2,700 B.C. Egyptians cultivated them even before building the pyramids. Greeks and Romans liked them as large as they would grow, and served them with honey and vinegar. Radish cultivation reached England, Germany, Mexico, and Puerto Rico by the 1500s. In Britain, radishes had medicinal as well as culinary uses, usually for kidney stones, bad skin, and intestinal worms. It may have worked, because the colonists brought radish seeds with them to the New World. Radishes are still a popular garden crop, planted and harvested early and seemingly impervious to light frost. When harvesting or buying red radishes, make sure they're not too large or they're apt to be hollow or pithy. The greens and the roots are used in cooking, especially with additions like spinach. Just wash them well and make sure they're not limp or yellow. Before refrigerating radishes, wash, remove greens from the top, and place in plastic baggies with a paper towel at the bottom. This optimizes moisture content from the rest of the radish and helps keep them fresh for about a week. Sliced, they make a zippy addition to sandwiches and salads.
1. Saves those RBCs: Radish is known to control damage to our red blood cells, and in the process also increases oxygen supply to the blood.
2. High on Fiber: If you eat it as part of your daily salad intake, without going overboard of course, radish also provides your system with ample roughage and fibers, therefore improving your digestion. It also regulates bile production, safeguards your liver and the gall bladder, and is great for taking care of water retention.
3. Guards the Heart: Radishes are a good source for anthocyanins that keep our hearts functioning properly, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Plus they are high on vitamin C, folic acid, and flavonoids too.
4. Controls Blood Pressure: Radish also provides your body with potassium, which can help lower your blood pressure, and keep your blood flow in control, especially if you are known to suffer from hypertension. According to Ayurveda, radish is believed to have a cooling effect on the blood.
5. Improves Immunity: Given that the radish has high vitamin C, it can protect you from common cold and cough, and improve your basic immunity system. But you must consume it regularly. It also controls the development of harmful free radicals, inflammation and early ageing.
6. Fortifies Blood Vessels: Now this is important - radish plays an important role in the generation of collagen, which in turn boosts our blood vessels and decreases our chances of getting atherosclerosis.
7. Metabolism-Friendly: This root vegetable is not only good for your digestive system, but it also helps to fix acidity, obesity, gastric problems, and nausea, among others.
8. High on Nutrients: Red radishes are packed with Vitamins E, A, C, B6, and K. Plus it's high on antioxidants, fiber, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, copper, calcium, iron and manganese. And each of these is known to keep our body in good working condition.
9. Good for the Skin: If you drink radish juice every day, you're giving your skin special boosters to stay healthy, and that's mostly because of the Vitamin C, zinc, and phosphorus. Plus it also keeps dryness, acne, pimples, and rashes at bay. Plus you can use radish paste to cleanse your face. And if you apply it on your hair, it helps to remove dandruff, prevent hair loss, and strengthens the root too.
10. Good for Hydration: If you tend to eat radish a little more in summer, it's probably because it keeps the body hydrated because of its high water content.