Radishes are rich in vitamins, have a good portion of the heat, and also have an antibiotic and antioxidant effect. Enjoying it – for example in a salad – is also beneficial to health, especially in the case of respiratory diseases.
The radish: Magical with red cheeks
The spherical and bright red radish looks so enchanting that it seems to have sprung from another world. It is still unclear where it comes from and which plant it actually comes from.
One thing, however, is undisputed: the radish is a very healthy vegetable that fascinates young and old alike due to its hot and spicy taste. It is not without reason that lively-looking children with red cheeks are called radishes in some places.
Radish Leaves: Edible and nutritious
The radish owes its name to the Latin word radix, which means root. The popular vegetable grows underground. However, it is not really a root, but a so-called storage tuber about four centimeters thick, which is only then followed by the thin root. Unfortunately, just like the green leaves, these are mostly thrown away, although they are also edible and healthy.
Both the radish (Raphanus sativus var. sativus) and the edible radishes such as the white beer radish belong to the genus of radishes, they are varieties of the garden radish. Radishes have a lot in common in terms of their taste and ingredients and, like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, etc., they belong to the cruciferous family.
Healthy plants: variety rediscovered
Radishes were mentioned thousands of years ago as food and medicinal plants. They sometimes have an antibiotic, cholagogue, and expectorant effect and are still used in traditional medicine for coughs, loss of appetite, digestive problems, and liver and gallbladder disorders.
According to sources, the radish was only able to establish itself in Europe in the 16th century, starting with France. Gray and yellow-brown cultivars were once cultivated in a variety of forms, soon overshadowed by the attractive red and spherical radish.
Whether oval, cylindrical, or stretched: in the meantime, differently shaped and colored radishes are very popular. In addition to the popular red, there are also white, pink, violet, yellow, and brown, and even two-tone varieties on offer. The special features include the cone-shaped white icicle variety, which is reminiscent of small beer radishes and is often eaten boiled, or the cylindrical red and white Duett variety.
The nutrients of fresh radishes
Fresh radishes are 94 percent water and, with 15 kcal per 100 grams, are a very low-calorie snack. The crunchy vegetables also contain:
- 1 g protein
- 0.1 grams of fat
- 2 g carbohydrates (absorbable)
- 2 grams of dietary fiber
It should be emphasized that radishes contain hardly any carbohydrates and half of them are fiber. These have a positive effect on digestion, ensure a long feeling of satiety, and counteract cravings. The crunchy radishes are therefore wonderfully suited to spice up a nice TV evening instead of chips and the like.
The vitamins and minerals in radishes
In terms of vital substances, the radish shines through its diversity. It contains a total of more than 20 vitamins and minerals. 100 grams of fresh radishes contain u. the following values, whereby the RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) always indicates the proportion of the daily requirement:
- 50 mcg Vitamin K (71.4 percent of the RDA): This is important for bone formation, blood vessel health, and blood clotting.
- 30 mg vitamin C (30 percent of the RDA): The antioxidant strengthens the immune system and has a preventive effect against various diseases such as. B. Cancer.
- 24 µg vitamin B9 (6 percent of the RDA): Also known as folic acid, it is involved in the production of the feel-good hormones serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, as well as in blood vessel health and ensuring healthy embryonic development.
- 1.5 mg iron (12 percent of the RDA): The trace element is cell-forming and essential for oxygen transport through the red blood cells.
- 255 mg of potassium (6.4 percent of the RDA): This plays an important role in the electrolyte balance of cells and strengthens the nervous system, muscle fibers, and heart.
- 53 µg copper (4.2 percent of the RDA): Supports iron absorption, has an anti-inflammatory effect, and is used in the therapy of rheumatic diseases.
Mustard oils have an antibiotic and detoxifying effect
As the saying goes, what tastes hot is healthy. This old adage also applies to radishes. The mustard oils are responsible for the peppery taste. These occur when the crunchy vegetables are bitten into or chopped up in some other way. Because then the mustard oil glycosides contained in the radish come into contact with the enzyme myrosinase, which is also present there. Only now does the radish become hot. Of the radish mustard oils, the substance allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), which is formed from the mustard oil glycoside sinigrin, deserves special mention.
Various studies such as Researchers such as those at the Roswell Park Cancer
Institutes in New York have shown that AITC has an antibiotic effect, protects humans from pathogens such as bacteria and fungi, protects against inflammation, and has a preventive effect on tumors such as bladder cancer. It is also interesting that the bioavailability of AITC is extremely high compared to other mustard oils and is an incredible 90 percent.
The mustard oil sulforaphane – which is also found in broccoli, cauliflower, etc. – has a strong antioxidant effect and can render gastric ulcer-causing Helicobacter pylori harmless. Additionally, this mustard oil is able to kill cancer cells and protect the body from toxins. According to a study at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, sulforaphane is even able to neutralize the toxins found in the cancer drug doxorubicin, which would otherwise attack the heart muscle.
Red pigments in radishes promote health
Like any other cruciferous plant, radishes not only contain a few mustard oil glycosides but many different and numerous other secondary plant substances. They all work together much stronger than would be possible on their own. These include very special natural dyes that give the red radish its striking color.
Researchers from Universiti Putra Malaysia took a close look at these so-called anthocyanins in 2017 and found that they have antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, benefit the eyes, promote neurological health, counteract inflammation and as a result protect against numerous ailments such as obesity, Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer may protect. We recommend the article: Anthocyanins protect against cancer.
Radishes reduce the risk of diabetes
Diabetics also benefit from increased radish consumption. So suppressed z. According to the latest findings, sulforaphane, for example, increases sugar production in the liver cells and improves glucose tolerance, which means that the body no longer reacts so strongly to carbohydrate consumption with blood sugar fluctuations and can process the sugar better.
According to an overview study at the Jordan University of Science and Technology, the antidiabetic effect of radishes can be attributed to various mechanisms of action: First of all, the antioxidants contained increase the body’s own defense mechanisms and reduce oxidative stress. Both effects reduce the risk of diabetes.
In addition, blood sugar levels are regulated by promoting glucose uptake into the cell while lowering glucose absorption in the gut.
Of course, it is not the case that diabetics can get rid of their suffering just by eating radishes. Nevertheless, science has long agreed that the disease can be avoided and even cured in many of those affected by sufficient exercise, weight control, and a balanced diet. Cruciferous plants such as radishes are said to have a very special preventive potential, which was also confirmed by a study at The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University in 2016.
Radishes are sold worldwide and are available all year round in German-speaking countries. Radishes from local farms are available from March to October. While radishes originate from outdoor cultivation in spring and summer, they are cultivated in greenhouses in autumn and winter. The content of mustard oil glycosides is always higher in outdoor radishes so they usually taste sharper.
However, domestic cultivation is not sufficient to meet demand. Imported radishes, therefore, come mainly from the Netherlands, but also from France, Italy, Hungary, Israel, and even Florida. If you rely on regional radishes, you support the farmers in your region and make an important contribution in terms of ecological balance.
When buying, you should make sure that the radishes are firm to the touch, have a bright color, and are not spotted. The leaves should be green (not yellow) and not drooping. In addition, you should bet on organic radishes, as they contain more bioactive substances and offer many other benefits:
Organic radishes are healthier
Although root vegetables are generally lower in residues than leafy and fruit vegetables, since the edible part below ground is not so directly exposed to pesticides, residues are still measured here again and again. You should choose organic radishes, especially if you also want to enjoy the leaves. According to the Federal Office for Consumer Protection, conventionally grown radishes were among the products with the most complaints in 2015.
In 2016, analyses at the Chemical and Veterinary Investigation Office in Stuttgart showed that 13 of the 14 radish samples from conventional cultivation in Germany and abroad were contaminated with residues, of which 11 samples showed multiple residues. The maximum amount was even exceeded in 3 samples. Chlorates were discovered, which can lead to an inhibition of iodine uptake over time, and the highly likely carcinogenic herbicide chloral-dimethyl, which is no longer permitted in German-speaking countries).
In addition, organic radishes contain significantly fewer nitrates, which occur naturally in the soil and are used by plants as nutrients. The problem, however, is that the soil in conventional agriculture is over-fertilized and the nitrate content is often too high as a result. This can lead to health problems, especially in children, as nitrates are converted in the body to toxic nitrites and ultimately to nitrosamines, which in turn are considered carcinogenic.
Harvest radishes and radish sprouts yourself
If you have a garden or balcony, you can eat your own radishes from May through October. The plants can be grown without much effort, a bright, partially shaded location and a constant level of moisture are important. A single balcony box measuring around 100 x 20 centimeters is enough to harvest around 40 radishes.
You can also grow particularly healthy radish sprouts at home. Some of them are characterized by an even higher nutrient content than the storage tuber itself. B. 3 times as much protein and about twice as much vitamin C and iron. When buying seeds, you should make sure that they are also suitable for sprouting.
Soak the seeds in cold water for about 12 hours. The budding seedlings are then placed in a germinator and watered and rinsed at least twice a day. It is important that the water can run off well because the seeds must not lie in the water. You can enjoy your sprouts after just three to five days – after thorough washing.
In the first few days of germination, radishes can develop fine fibrous roots that can be mistaken for mold due to their furry, downy appearance. The smell test helps: If the seedlings smell fresh and not musty, everything is fine. Further information can be found under Draw rungs yourself.
Since radishes are not stored vegetables, they have a limited shelf life. However, you can safely store them in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge for at least a week. Or you can wrap the radishes in a damp cloth and place them in a covered glass jar. Since the leaves remove moisture from the radish and cause it to wrinkle, you should first remove them with a sharp knife and process them immediately or store them separately (no longer than 1-2 days).
It is best to use up the radishes as soon as possible, as the mustard oils that give them their flavor are broken down as they are stored and the vegetable tastes increasingly bland.
Radishes: Spicy heat in the kitchen
Compared to other cruciferous plants, radishes have the advantage that most people prefer to eat them raw. In this way, valuable ingredients can be drawn from the full. Raw radishes are an ideal salad ingredient due to their peppery note, but they also taste great on a slice of wholemeal bread.
Chopped radishes, onions, and chives mixed with boiled baby potatoes make a very light and delicious summer dish. The root vegetables can also be processed into aromatic soups or spicy pesto.
Radishes also taste wonderful when sautéed briefly in a wok with a little olive oil. They harmonize very well with sweet fruits such as apples, mangoes, or grapes. In Asian cuisine, in particular, it is common to skilfully combine spicy and sweet foods.
You can use the fresh, spicy radish leaves in salads or other dishes just like herbs. They taste particularly delicious when prepared like spinach or as an ingredient in green smoothies, soups, and sauces.