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Top 5 health benefits of radishes

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Perfect sliced and tossed into a salad, there’s more to this little peppery root than you might think. We asked registered nutritionist, Kerry Torrens to explain why they’re so good for us

What are radishes?

This crunchy, peppery root is a member of the Brassica family; the most familiar being the red skinned radish (Raphanus sativus), other varieties include the larger yet milder white mooli or daikon as well as others with skin colours including purple, black and yellow.

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Discover our full range of health benefit guides and also check out some of our delicious radish recipes, from butternut, chickpea, feta and pickled radish salad to crunchy green beans and radishes.

Nutritional benefits of radishes

An 80g serving of radish (red skinned, raw) provides:

· 10kcal/39KJ
· 0.6g protein
· 0.2g fat
· 1.5g carbohydrate
· 1.0g fibre
· 192mg potassium
· 30mcg folate
· 14mg vitamin C

Raw pink radishes

What are the 5 top health benefits of radishes

1. A source of sulforaphane

Like other members of the brassica family, radishes supply a compound that can be converted to sulforaphane. This sulfur-rich phytochemical is beneficial for a number of reasons, including its ability to potentially reduce the risk of cancer – it does this by protecting cells from DNA damage as well as inactivating carcinogens.

2. Good for heart health

Radishes are heart-friendly thanks to being a source of sulforaphane as well as other plant compounds, like anthocyanins.

With a protective antioxidant action, these plant compounds help reduce the inflammatory damage caused by oxidative stress, a process which plays a key role in the development of heart disease. It’s this inflammatory damage that can lead to high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

3. A source of antioxidants

Both the leaves and root of the radish are a source of antioxidants with the leaves supplying flavonols like epicatechin and the roots supplying compounds like pyrogallol and other phenols.

Radishes also contain vitamin C, which together with the other phytonutrients, helps to protect the body’s cells from the damaging effects of aging or living an unhealthy lifestyle.

4. May have anti-fungal properties

Radishes contain a natural anti-fungal compound (RsAFP2) that may be effective against Candida albicans the yeast, that if allowed to proliferate, may cause vaginal yeast infections and thrush.

5. May support liver function and digestion

Radish, most notably black radish, may stimulate digestive juices and in particular bile flow. Bile is produced by the liver and is used by the digestive system to digest and manage fats as well as remove toxins and waste products from the liver.

Are radishes safe for everyone?

Radishes are a healthy inclusion for most people, however, if you have a thyroid issue you may be advised to minimise the amount of cruciferous vegetables you eat. This is because these vegetables may interfere with the absorption of iodine which is needed for the production of thyroid hormones. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that you would need to eat a reasonable amount on a consistent basis for this to be an issue.

If you suffer from gallstones you should be aware that eating radishes, most notably black radish, may promote the flow of bile, so check with your GP before increasing your intake.

Although radishes appear to be beneficial for those with diabetes, eating large amounts of them may impact blood sugar levels, so if you have a diagnosed blood sugar issue, such as diabetes, you should monitor your blood sugar carefully.

Finally, although allergy to radishes is rare, it may be relevant for certain susceptible individuals.

If you are concerned about food allergies or have any other concerns, please consult your GP or registered dietitian for guidance.

How do you add radishes to your diet? Share your ideas and suggestions in the comments below.

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This article was published in August 2022 by registered nutritionist Kerry Torrens.

Kerry Torrens BSc. (Hons) PgCert MBANT is a registered nutritionist with a post graduate diploma in personalised nutrition & nutritional therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food. Find her on Instagram at @kerry_torrens_nutrition_.

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All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

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