Health Facts

When the British weather is still making up its mind what to do, the lovely pinks, reds and purples look inviting and give a nice juicy crunch and a kick of heat.

Purple radish

There are plenty of health claims made for radishes. They have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese remedies to treat a wide variety of conditions from sore throats to fevers and jaundice.

Radishes are members of the brassica family so they are cousins with kale, cauliflower and cabbage, the power lifters in vegetable nutrition. Radishes contain sulforaphane and Indole-3 which, according to Joanna Blythman, (The Guardian) may have roles in slowing cancer cell growth.

Because radishes are 95.4% water they contain small amounts of any active elements which is why they need to be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet. Radishes on their own, though yummy, can help but they can’t be the remedy to everything.

French breakfast radish

According to the food nutrition ‘bible’ McCance & Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods, Radishes contain barely any fat (0.1g per 100g); no cholesterol; and hardly any sugars (1.9g per 100g); and 100g is only 12 calories, so you can probably enjoy more of them than you think.

Nutritional therapist and yoga teacher Libby Limon has listed some areas radishes can help with looking after your skin, digestion and general wellbeing.

9 reasons radishes are good for…

red radish

Your health and wellbeing

1. Detox: The skin can reflect some symptoms of your body’s health because it is the second largest exit for toxins after the bowel. The liver is a vital part of the body’s digestive system and problems with the liver may result in skin inflammation. Radish contains compounds that may help the liver to prevent build up resulting in clear skin.

2. Hydration: Radishes are mostly composed of water, and they are a crunchy way to keep your body hydrated. Effective hydration will keep skin from drying out and keeping it soft and supple. A glass of water also hydrates but will be less crunchy.

3. Vitamin C: 100g of radish gives you 25% of your vitamin C recommended daily allowance. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin that helps maintain healthy skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage and the production of the protein collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies and is vital for plump wrinkle free skin and helping to prevent premature aging.

4. Digestion of fats: Fats are key to healthy glowing skin cells. Radishes can support bile production in the liver which aids the digestion and absorption of healthy fats in your diet.

5. Gut motility: Fibre in vegetables such as radishes help digestion. Fibre can help prevent sluggish bowels so the body can get rid of toxins effectively. This may also prevent elimination through other organs including the skin which can help the skin to remain blemish free.

6. Blood pressure: Radishes contain potassium which has been shown to help lower blood pressure. Potassium helps the dilation of blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow through the body.

7. Good snacking: As a high fibre, low calorie and low glycaemic index (GI) food they are an excellent food to include as part of a healthy diet. Fibre makes you feel fuller for longer and low GI means that it won’t spike your blood sugar leading to energy dips such as the post lunch slump and cravings for sugar or refined carbs.

8. Insect Bites: Radishes have anti-itching properties and can be used as a treatment for insect bites and bee stings. The radish juices reduce pain and swelling soothing the affected area.

9. Heart Health: Radishes are a great source of anthocyanins, which are a type of flavonoids, which give radishes their bright fuchsia colour. These flavonoids have been shown to provide numerous health benefits. Anthocyanins have been the subject of numerous medical studies, and particularly, have been positively linked to reducing the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

Libby Limon, nutritional therapist and yoga teacher
Libby Limon, nutritional therapist and yoga teacher