The eager radish appears early in spring – in fact, the Greek name for the radish, Raphamus, means ‘appearing quickly’, as they are often the first vegetable to appear in the spring. Part of the nutritious cruciferous vegetable family, the radish is renowned for its health benefits, along with its tangy flavour.
Radish health benefits for brain and body
Radishes contain large quantities of vitamin C and are also purveyors of energising potassium, which can help to reduce blood pressure and the anxiety that accompanies it. These bright red spheres are low in calories and low on the food waste scale, as you can even cook and eat their green tops.
Our expert nutritionist, Alison Cullen, is on hand to share the many advantages adding radishes to your dishes may bring…
Radishes soothe inflammation
‘Radishes add to the benefits of a plant-based diet in countering the inflammation that is part of so many degenerative diseases, including many mental health issues,’ says Cullen.
‘A juicy radish as a regular part of your menu plan will also stimulate bile production and help you to metabolise those healthy fats that keep your brain cells functioning well.’
Boost blood flow with radishes
‘The natural nitrates in radishes help to improve blood flow to your vital organs,’ explains Cullen, ‘including the brain, which always benefits from a boost of slickly delivered blood, bearing its gifts of oxygen, glucose and other nutrients.
‘These natural nitrates are also thought to have antimicrobial qualities, which help to prevent the growth of bad bacteria. Note that natural nitrates differ in their health effects from nitrates that are added to foods such as processed meats, which are best avoided,’ Cullen adds. avogel.co.uk
Best ways to eat radishes
You can eat the versatile radish raw, cooked or even pickled. ‘Older radishes can become woody as they age, so shop fresh,’ says Cullen.
Your gut wants the fibre they offer, but not in woody form. Including more fibre in your diet means a happier gut microbiome. This is increasingly understood to contribute to good mental health.
Once you’ve selected the perfect radish, you can add it to the following meals…
- Sauté it along with the onions, chilli and garlic in a curry
- Roast with garlic to produce a power-coupling antioxidant
- Add to a salad for extra zing
- Pair with radicchio lettuce to accompany a main meal
- Add slices to a sandwich
- Eat on its own as a low-calorie, crunchy and tangy snack!
Why not grow your own spicy radish sprouts? Perfect for adding to soups and salads. A.Vogel’s Bio Snacky Little Radish Seeds (£1.99) are ready to eat after about five days.
Words: Larissa Chapman | Images: Shutterstock