A healthy cousin of the humble radish, black radish is a root vegetable with a black skin and white flesh. Belonging to the Cruciferae family, this ancient vegetable is believed to come from the eastern Mediterranean region. Although it has a slightly bitter and hot taste, the health benefits of the black radish make up for its not-so-appetizing flavor.
It is found to be rich in antioxidant flavonoids, glucosinates (which gives it the pungency), and phenolic acids. It also has some amount of fiber, calcium, and vitamin B6. It is also low in calorie and high in water.1 2Here’s why black radish demands a position in your daily diet.
1. Detoxifies The Blood
If toxic blood isn’t purified, it can kill the friendly bacteria in your gut, impair RBC function, and hinder the normal functioning of your organs. By eating black radish, you can eliminate the toxic agents present in your blood and bone marrow.
A study shows that mice fed with Spanish black radishes for 2 weeks had a greater expression of detoxification enzymes. Working alongside your liver and the lymphatic system, black radish increases the activity of detoxifying enzymes and effectively cleanses the blood of toxins. The vegetable contains a high level of glucosinolates (natural components of pungent plants), the metabolites of which are believed to enhance detoxification.3
2. Detoxifies The Liver
Everything you eat or drink is processed by the liver. The liver filters out and eliminates toxins from the body. But if you are consistently on medication or are regularly consuming drugs like paracetamol, your liver could face the brunt. These toxins collect in the liver and create free radicals that damage the healthy cells in the body. These also reduce the detoxifying power of the liver, leading to a host of health conditions.
Your liver needs certain antioxidants, such as GSH, to carry out the detoxification procedure. But with advancing age and the onslaught of free radicals, GSH levels drop. This is where black radish helps. It enhances GSH levels and detoxifies the liver.4
3. Reduces Cholesterol Levels
[pullquote]According to Mexican folk medicine, black radish juice has the potential to reduce high cholesterol levels and treat gallstones.[/pullquote]
Black radish is also beneficial for those with high cholesterol levels. The juice extracted from black radish root has antioxidants that manage lipid (fat and cholesterol) metabolism and reduce your risk of hyperlipidemia. Its effect on the liver also helps in this regard since the liver is responsible for flushing out the bad cholesterol.5
Additionally, black radish is also found to help treat gallstones caused by cholesterol. By decreasing the serum cholesterol and triglycerides in rats, researchers were able to demonstrate that black radish could be an effective supplement for gallstone treatment.6
4. Boosts Immunity
[pullquote]Black radish remedy for cough
- Cut a cap in the radish, as you would to a watermelon.
- Leave it overnight and let the juice gather.
- Extract the juice and add 1 tsp sugar.
- Drink 1 tsp juice after every meal.[/pullquote]
Black radish contains antioxidants like vitamin C that boost your immunity, keep diseases and infections at bay, and reduce the duration of illnesses. It is, in fact, one of the most common remedies for common cold and cough.
5. Prevents Digestive Disorders
[pullquote]According to traditional Chinese medicine, radish – especially black radish – can ease abdominal distress and treat digestive issues.7[/pullquote]
A member of the family of cruciferous vegetables, black radish is known to help in the treatment of digestive disorders. The fiber content of black radish helps reduce constipation and promote smooth bowel movement. Plus, the vegetable has a high water content, which contributes to a healthy digestive system.
Furthermore, black radish juice helps enhance the activity of digestive juices, thereby improving digestion. In fact, folk medicine often uses black radish to stimulate bile secretion.8
6. Promotes Weight Loss
If you’re struggling to lose those extra pounds, you might want to opt for black radish. Again, it’s black radish’s fiber and water content that increase satiety and reduce your chances of overeating. This reduces the number of extra calories you consume, thereby facilitating weight loss.9 10 In itself, radish is a low-calorie vegetable, with 100 g of the raw veggie containing just 16 Calories.
7. May Regulate Blood Pressure
With a decent amount of fiber – 1.6 g of fiber per 100 g (6%) DV – black radish can play a role in reducing high blood pressure or hypertension. Studies have observed that a high-fiber diet can significantly reduce and even prevent hypertension, especially in older individuals. However, eating only black radish will not do the trick. To regulate blood pressure, also include other high-fiber foods like lentils, broccoli, and peas in your diet.11
8. May Prevent Cancer
Black radish contains glucosinolates, a naturally occurring component in cruciferous vegetables. During food preparation, chewing, and digestion, these glucosinates are broken down into chemicals that can prevent cancer. Certain studies reveal that consumption of a diet composed of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of cancers – of the breast, prostate, and lungs. However, since correlation is not causation, further research is required to understand whether black radish can indeed help.12
9. May Keep The Skin Healthy
While we haven’t come across any study attesting to black radish’s benefits for the skin, theoretically, it can help. Anything that detoxes the liver has benefits for the skin. Moreover, black radish has vitamin C which helps synthesize collagen and fights sun damage.13
To gain the benefits of this lesser-known vegetable, you can either eat it raw or add it as an ingredient to your favorite salad!
|↑1||B Aggarwal, Bharat, Sahdeo Prasad, Simone Reuter, Ramaswamy Kannappan, Vivek R Yadav, Byoungduck Park, Ji Hye Kim et al. “Identification of novel anti-inflammatory agents from Ayurvedic medicine for prevention of chronic diseases:“reverse pharmacology” and “bedside to bench” approach.” Current drug targets 12, no. 11 (2011): 1595-1653.|
|↑2||Full Report (All Nutrients): 11429, Radishes, raw. USDA.|
|↑3||N’jai, Alhaji U., Michael Q. Kemp, Brandon T. Metzger, Paul R. Hanlon, Melissa Robbins, Charles Czuyprynski, and David M. Barnes. “Spanish black radish (Raphanus sativus L. Var. niger) diet enhances clearance of DMBA and diminishes toxic effects on bone marrow progenitor cells.” Nutrition and cancer 64, no. 7 (2012): 1038-1048.|
|↑4||Evans, Malkanthi, Elaine Paterson, and David M. Barnes. “An open label pilot study to evaluate the efficacy of Spanish black radish on the induction of phase I and phase II enzymes in healthy male subjects.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine 14, no. 1 (2014): 475.|
|↑5||Lugasi, Andrea, Anna Blázovics, Krisztina Hagymási, Ibolya Kocsis, and Ágnes Kéry. “Antioxidant effect of squeezed juice from black radish (Raphanus sativus L. var niger) in alimentary hyperlipidaemia in rats.” Phytotherapy research 19, no. 7 (2005): 587-591.|
|↑6||Castro-Torres, Ibrahim Guillermo, Elia Brosla Naranjo-Rodríguez, Miguel Ángel Domínguez-Ortíz, Janeth Gallegos-Estudillo, and Margarita Virginia Saavedra-Vélez. “Antilithiasic and hypolipidaemic effects of Raphanus sativus L. var. niger on mice fed with a lithogenic diet.” BioMed Research International 2012 (2012).|
|↑7||Podila, Gopi K., and Ajit Varma. Basic research and applications of mycorrhizae. Vol. 1. IK International Pvt Ltd, 2005.|
|↑8||Lattimer, James M., and Mark D. Haub. “Effects of dietary fiber and its components on metabolic health.” Nutrients 2, no. 12 (2010): 1266-1289.|
|↑9||Making one change — getting more fiber — can help with weight loss. Harvard Medical School.|
|↑10||The Beginner’s Guide to Cruciferous Vegetables. Eat Right, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.|
|↑11||Streppel, Martinette T., Lidia R. Arends, Pieter van’t Veer, Diederick E. Grobbee, and Johanna M. Geleijnse. “Dietary fiber and blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials.” Archives of internal medicine 165, no. 2 (2005): 150-156.|
|↑12||Vegetables and Cancer Prevention. National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.|
|↑13||Vitamin C and Skin Health. Oregon State University.|