The Power of the Radish

a heart-shaped radish from my garden

I grow radishes in the garden because they are relatively easy to grow in that they germinate quickly, grow fast and don't seem to get bothered by pests very much (maybe its because they are too hot and pepper for the likes of little pest mouths...).  Just for the record, I grow Cherry Belle (because they are fairly mild and, like their name, they are quite pretty) and Mooli (which is also fairly mild but in complete contrast is much bigger, longer and white).

They are really easy to use too - slicing them up into a salad or stir fry gives an instant bit of zing to the flavour of the dish.  

I grew this heart shaped radish recently - it may be the result of having 2 seeds very close together (they are quite tiny seeds) and not thinning them out at the appropriate time.

However, I heard a mention on the radio today about how healthy radishes could be for you - amazing to think that this little veg can pack such a punch.

  • A bit like peppermint, which can feel both hot and cold at the same time, radishes are naturally cooling.  Their pungent flavour is highly regarded in eastern medicine for the ability to decrease excess heat in the body that can build up during the warmer months.
  • Like other "hot" foods (such as chilli), their natural spice can help eliminate excess mucus in the body and be helpful when fighting a cold, to help clear the sinuses or to soothe a sore throat.  Whenever I have a sore throat, I always find that a curry or chilli dish helps but have never considered radishes before - a much better option for hot summer days.
  • Said to be a natural cleansing agent for the digestive system by helping to break down and eliminate stagnant food and toxins built up in the system over time.
  • They are high in vitamin C (especially if picked fresh) and so can help support the immune system (for instance, by fighting off viral infections).
  • Again, in Eastern medicine, radishes are said to have toxin-purging effects by helping to break down and eliminate toxins and cancer-causing free radicals in the body.
  • Hard to believe, but these little gems are actually part of the same family as cabbage and broccoli (cruciferous), which are some of the healthiest vegetables you can eat, containing phytonutrients, fibre, vitamins and minerals that all play a part in cancer protection.
  • Can help relieve bloating and indigestion by having a calming effect on the digestive system.  Although some radishes can produce burping effects so its a case of finding the more "user" friendly ones as they are loads of different types to choose from (if you grow your own, although choices are limited in supermarkets).
  • Low in calories but high in nutrients, fibre and flavour.
  • Healthy snack food in the summer as crunching on them satisfies the urge to nibble on less healthy foods plus they have a high water content as well as phosphorous and zinc, helping to keep the body and cells hydrated which is also an additional benefit for the skin.
Well, its salad on the menu for me this evening so I'm just off to pull up a radish or two.  Must remember to sow some more seeds this week so that I have a continuous supply!


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