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The Underrated Radish

By Paul Rothbart

While not at all uncommon, radishes are not usually one of the first vegetables to come to mind. The red, round variety is the most commonly used, but many types of radishes exist. A root vegetable, they come in a number of shapes, sizes, and colors. The daikon radish, common is Asian cuisine, has gained popularity in the U.S. recently. Radishes have a sharp flavor that contrasts nicely with sweet vegetables in salads. They can also be cooked and some people enjoy them raw and on their own. Unbeknownst to many, radishes are very healthy. Here are some of the benefits they provide.

Nutritional Content

Like most vegetables, radishes are low in carbs and calories, making them an excellent choice for those trying to lose weight. With a low glycemic index, radishes are also good for those who are diabetic or prediabetic. They contain Vitamin C and B6. Other nutrients found in radishes are calcium, potassium, and iron. They also contain smaller amounts of niacin, thiamine, and folates.

Lower the Risk of Diabetes

Glucosinolate and isothiocyanate are two chemicals that help to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range. Radishes contain a substantive amount of both. Another helpful aspect of eating radishes is that they boost production of adiponectin, a substance that lowers insulin resistance, a contributor to type 2 diabetes. The antioxidant coenzyme Q10, also present in radish, is another chemical that helps prevent diabetes. 

Aids the Cardiovascular System

Along with a number of antioxidants, radishes contain calcium and potassium. These minerals are very helpful in keeping blood pressure down and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke. Radishes also help improve blood flow by virtue of their nitrate content. They are good food for heart health, hypertension, and avoiding blood clots. 

Liver and Kidney Function

The liver and kidneys are important organs that flush toxins out of the body before they can cause damage. Radishes contain a number of compounds including indole-3-carbinol and 4-methylthio-3-butenyl-isothiocyanate that boost the functions of the kidneys and liver. Eating these compounds is much easier than spelling them.

Moderation Is Important

As healthy as radishes are, eating too many can cause problems. For those with iodine deficiencies, an excess amount of radishes can interfere with the thyroid gland's production of hormones. Add them to your diet, but be careful not to overdo it.

Vegetables are good for health. One of the unsung veggies is the radish. Try adding the unique flavor of this root to a few dishes here and there. They have some nice health benefits.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wentzville, Mo.

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