What to do with Radish

    Radish nutrition facts

    Radish is one of the nutritious root-vegetables featured in both salads as well as in main recipes. This widely used root vegetable belongs to the family of Brassica. In Chinese culture, the root along with cabbage and soybean curd (tofu), has been believed as healthful and sustenance food. A popular Chinese proverb goes like this, "eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors beg on their knees."
    The vegetable is thought to have originated from the mainland China centuries ago and today, it is one of the widely cultivated crop throughout the world. Botanical name: Raphanus sativus.
    Radishes come in different forms; varying in size, color and crop duration. They can be broadly categorized into four main types depending up on the crop season-summer, fall, winter, and spring; while growers classify them by their shapes, colors, and sizes, such as black or white colored with round or elongated roots.?
    The sharp, pungent flavor of radish comes from "isothiocyanate" compound in them, which ranges from mild in case of white-icicles to very hot in red globe and other pigmented varieties. The top greens are also eaten as leafy-greens in some parts of the world.
    Daikon or Japanese radish is native to Asia. It is generally grown during winter months and features elongated smooth, icy-white roots.
    Black Spanish radishes are peppery and more flavorful than their white counterparts.
    Green radish is native to Northern China region. Its outer peel near the top stem end features leafy-green color which, gradually changes to white color near the lower tip. Inside, its flesh has beautiful jade green color, sweet and less pungent flavor.
    Watermelon radishes have watermelon like flesh inside. They?are less peppery but mildly sweet something similar to that of white varieties.
    When left to grow for longer than the usual root harvest period all kinds of radish bear small flowers, which subsequently develop into edible fruit pods. Podding or a rat-tailed?radish is a type of seed pod variety grown exclusively for their long rat-tail like tapering edible pods. The pods feature a mixture of mild radish flavor and?spiciness.

    Health benefits of radish

    • Since ancient times, Chinese believe that eating radish and other brassica group vegetables such as?cabbage, cauliflower, and napa-cabbage would bring wholesome health.

    • They are are one of very low calorie root vegetables. Fresh root provides just 16 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless; they are a very good source of anti-oxidants, electrolytes, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.

    • Radish, like other cruciferous and Brassica family vegetables, contains isothiocyanate anti-oxidant compound called sulforaphane. Studies suggest that sulforaphane has proven role against prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers by virtue of its cancer-cell growth inhibition, and cyto-toxic effects on cancer cells.

    • Fresh roots are good source of vitamin C; provide about 15 mg or 25% of DRI of vitamin C per 100 g. Vitamin C is a powerful water soluble anti-oxidant required by the body for synthesis of collagen. It helps the body scavenge harmful free radicals, prevention from cancers, inflammation and help boost immunity.

    • In addition, they contain adequate levels of folates, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, thiamin and minerals such as iron, magnesium, copper and calcium.?

    • Further, they contain many phytochemicals like indoles which are detoxifying agents and zea-xanthin, lutein and beta carotene, which are flavonoid antioxidants. Their total antioxidant strength, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC value), is 1736 μmol TE/100 g.

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