Categories
Radish & Diet

Eating Right: Radish Benefits & Portion Size

Alice B. Toklas rightly says, “The first gathering of salads, radishes, and herbs made me feel like a mother about her baby – how could anything so beautiful be mine?”

Truer words have not been spoken! Radish benefits are numerous and formidable. However, there’s always confusion regarding the portion size. Our theory is anything in excess can be detrimental (even the seemingly good stuff).

While radish benefits are known to all, its portion size per day may be a subject for debate. Based on this root vegetable’s fiber content, we recommend a bowl or 70g and not more.

This theory’s reasons are time tested and correct from a longer duration for digestion and avoiding gas/bloating.

The numerous radish benefits may influence one to have as many radishes in a day as one can consume. However, anything in excess, including the good stuff, is harmful. Instead of telling you how many radishes you can have in a day, we will guide you into portion sizes and their benefits. These guidelines will help you clearly understand the benefits of eating radishes within the recommended portion and its reasons.

Portion – 1 bowl (70g)

This quantity is the most you must consume each day. While radishes have low calories and more fiber, they also have a lower glycemic index. While this is good news as radishes take longer to digest and therefore don’t release sugar in the body instantly, it can cause digestive problems if consumed beyond the recommended quantity. 

High fiber can cause uneasiness and a feeling of bloating. It may cause gas as well. This is why it may be in one’s best interest to avoid consuming more than 70g of radish each day.

Time – Until Lunch

It is usually advisable to consume radishes between morning and afternoon. This is especially true if one likes to eat raw radishes. As discussed earlier, the high fiber content in the root vegetable takes longer to digest. Consuming radishes between evening and night time may take the rest of the time for digestion. Since we are mostly inactive during this time, the digestion time may prolong. This may cause unpleasant burps and uneasiness.

Moreover, radishes are great sources of vitamins and minerals. Our body requires these elements during the day to release energy and metabolism. Consuming radishes during lunch/brunch keeps this energy quotient high. The high water content and fiber keep us full and energetic for a longer period, looking after our health while we are on the job. 

Exceptions

While the portion size is the same, the timing could differ based on the kind of radish dish you are consuming. For instance, if you like eating raw radishes in salads, wraps, sandwiches, or just as they are, we recommend you do that during the day time.

But, if you are a fan of kimchis and pickles, the time restriction may not apply to you. In both of the dishes, the fiber and sugar keep breaking down each day as the radish soak in the pickling liquid and kimchi mix. Moreover, the portion size for these dishes is quite manageable (since both are side dishes). Kimchi and pickles do not cause any digestive issues as they have probiotic bacteria that aid in digestion. One can indulge without a worry in the world. 

All of these observations may lead to an obvious doubt.

Raw Radish: To Eat or Not to Eat?

Eat. There is no reason why you must not consume radishes in their raw form. It is recommended, given all the radish benefits you can have by eating them unadulterated (raw). 

There are several benefits to eating raw radishes. 

  • It is quick and easy. If you are running short of time and need a quick snack, you can munch away.
  • Raw radishes work as a wonderful mid-meal snack. They keep you full, give you the much-needed minerals and vitamins.
  • It is fuss-free. Healthy meals or snacks may seem like a huge time-consuming challenge with all the preps to be done. Raw radishes require nothing beyond washing and peeling.
  • Ask any health expert or nutritionist, and they will tell you that it is best to consume a fruit/vegetable in its raw form to gain maximum benefits. Need we say anything more?
  • Raw radishes topped with radish leaves function as a wonderful salad themselves. 

While all radishes can be eaten raw, there could be certain varieties that may not suit everyone. For example, many find watermelon radishes to be quite pungent and black radishes to be very hot. In both of these cases, then, it may not be suitable for everyone. Often, if harvested late, daikon radishes can also be more pungent than sweet, not suiting everyone’s palette.  

While the benefits of low calories and fibrous fruits and vegetables are known to all, it isn’t enough. Each local produce is a mixture of vitamins and minerals, unique to its quality, nourishing the human body. While radish benefits are numerous, they must be discussed in the context of its food value. 

Radish Food Value

This cruciferous root vegetable has one of the best food values there is. Here are some of our best picks.

Assistance for Red Blood Cells

Fiber is one of the key elements to help build healthier blood cells. Radishes also help build better oxygen circulation in the body. Oxygen is the food for our blood cells; it helps them thrive. 

Cardiac and Blood Pressure Management

As great sources of anthocyanins, radishes reduce the risk of cardiovascular ailments. The root’s high vitamin C source, folic acid, and flavonoids ensure that the heart keeps functioning smoothly.

For Skin Health

Radishes hold vitamin C, phosphor, zinc, and vitamin B, some of the best components for skin’s health. The high water level found in the root helps to maintain a healthy humidity level of the skin. Radishes are often used as face cleansers and packs to reduce dry skin and infections. Consuming radishes regularly increases the number of antioxidants and flavonoids in the body, which dramatically changes the skin’s health.

For the Kidneys

As excellent diuretics and disinfectants, radishes help treat several kidney disorders as they aid in hydration and urination, washing away all the toxins gathered in the kidneys. One of the primary radish health benefits also consists of reducing and flushing out kidney stones. 

Strength for the Bones

The high calcium content found in this glorious tuber promises to help maintain bone density, bone strength, and normal motor skills. It is always advisable to consume natural supplements instead of popping pills. 

While these are some of the food value points that one can note about the humble radish, it doesn’t stop here. Radishes also help fight infections (regular and fungal), build immunity, and be a strong dietary source. Their food value is not limited by the numerous vitamins and minerals it carries.

Three other elements: fiber, water, and low-calorie qualities, must be discussed in their own right.

Fiber

It is important for several reasons that benefit the body. Some of these are:

  • It covers the nutrition that is lacking in the body.
  • It triggers a low glycemic index. This means it takes longer to digest and consequently releases fewer sugars in the body.
  • It helps combat all problems of constipation.
  • It is a constant aid for the gut and digestive tract.
  • It helps reduce the fat in the body. This helps in thinning the blood and promotes better circulation.
  • It promotes overall health wellness.

There are numerous external supplements for fiber in the market. As clean as these sources may be, the product is still adulterated at some level (because it is not natural). Including radishes in your meal can ensure your natural fiber intake and keep you of the external sources as much as possible. Salads (fruits/vegetables) are an excellent option to increase fiber intake. Including this root vegetable in the mix can help you reap maximum radish benefits.

Water

There is no need to explain to anybody how important water is. Despite our best efforts, we often find ourselves dehydrated. Most of these cases have to do with our hectic work schedules; we are involved in work; we forget to drink water. Not all dehydration leads to fainting. Most symptoms are minor but constant. For instance, consistent headache, nausea, uneasiness, dry mouth, chapped lips are all symptoms pointing towards dehydration. While there is no replacement for drinking water, there are ways in which dehydration can be tackled better (especially during the summers). 

Vegetables like radishes and cucumbers are your best option. Cucumbers are 96% water, and radishes are at 94%. While every person needs water to drink, these vegetables help maintain the hydration level in the body.

Salads made using radishes and cucumbers help in doing so. Another combination worth trying is watermelons and radishes. The salad is sweet and savory in every bite, perfect for the palette and the body. Additionally, the high water content in the radishes keeps one full for a longer time. This automatically aids in diet and calories for those trying to lose weight or stay in shape. 

Low-Calorie

What is truly impressive about radishes is their low-calorie count. Despite all the nutritional radish benefits, a bowl only comprises 16 calories. These make radishes one of the best options as a dietary and weight loss source. Having radishes as a mid-meal snack keeps one full, hydrated, and healthy. 

These radish benefits could tempt anyone to indulge all the time. But we must draw a line on the intake and become aware of the possible side-effects of overconsumption of radishes cause. Here is a look at some of the most common side-effects.

Gas and Foul Smell

High fiber foods that are rich in soluble fiber can cause gas. Radishes have a high fiber content. The bacteria within the colon produce gas as a result of the digestion of the fiber. The soluble fiber within these kinds of vegetables does not break down until it has reached the small intestine. Since it takes this long for the breaking down and digestion, it causes unease and gas. Having said that, these problems only arise if over 70g of fiber is taken in a day. 

Radishes also contain sulfur in the form of amino acids. These are the feed for the gut bacteria, which in turn produce all the gas. The sulfur in the radishes also adds a foul smell, which causes unpleasant burps and gas. 

Bloating

Because of the fiber content, radishes take longer to digest. Because of this, one might constantly feel bloated, especially if there is no physical activity after eating a bowl of radishes. The best way to combat this is to eat radishes in parts. This will help one feel light despite the slow digestion. 

Here are some of our tips to combat these side effects:

  • Avoid having radishes after 4:00 pm. This way, the gas won’t interfere at night.
  • Limit the intake of radishes to about 30g-40g a day. 
  • Integrate radishes with other vegetables in salads to balance things. 
  • Having radishes in kimchis and pickles will reduce their gaseous impact remarkably. 

In Conclusion

Radish benefits are numerous and impressive, but it is all about the portion size at the end of the day. Our recommendation has been 70g or an equivalent bowl every day. This will help the body with overall wellness without causing any discomfort.

By Steffi Mac

Steffi Mac, PhD, is a leukemia/BMT survivor, Tedx speaker, author and lecturer. She is a passionate cook, a big believer of local foods and a promoter of wholesome eating. She publishes stories of cancer survivors through her initiative, 'The Marrow Story.'

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.