Radishes are members of the Brassicaceae family that also includes cabbages and mustards.
Some research suggests that eating radishes may help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer, and radishes are also a source of important nutrients such as vitamin C and potassium.
Radishes are a great diet food. An entire cup of them sliced provides just 19 calories. They’re commonly eaten raw in salads and sandwiches and with dipping vegetables, but they can be lightly sautéed as well. Radish greens, which are also highly nutritious, can be added to salads or soups or lightly sautéed.
Radishes grow quickly and easily and do well in shallow containers, so they’re a good choice for children’s gardens (and for adults who don’t have a talent for gardening). They can be grown in a flowerbox or a patio container in full sun or part shade, so even those who have little outdoor space can enjoy fresh radishes.
There are radishes that grow best in warm weather and others that prefer the cold months, so if you’re planning to try your hand at growing them, be sure to buy the right variety for the season.
Although they are all similarly nutritious, size, color, and taste vary among seasonal radish types. Hot or dry weather also affects flavor by making radishes grow more spicy (though it can also cause them to go to seed). If you’re growing small salad radishes, be sure to harvest them as soon as they grow larger than a grape. If they’re left for too long they can develop an unpleasant texture and crack after heavy rainfalls.
Radishes have traditionally been used as popular home remedies for fever, cold, cough, digestive upsets, bronchitis, appetite loss, inflammation of the mouth or throat, and other health problems. However, there has not been sufficient research conducted to evaluate their effectiveness for any of these uses.
Ferrer, A., WebMD, “7 Healthy Facts About Radishes,” Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD, 1 February 2012.
Payne, D., “5 Reasons Why Radishes Are Good for You Plus 5 Radish Recipes.” Canadian Living, 27 May 2011.
Pleasant, B., “All About Growing Radishes,” Mother Earth News, February/March 2008.
WebMD, “Radish,” n.d.
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