Did you know that radishes are one of the most nutritious yet low-calorie veggies on the planet?
When you hear the word ‘radish’, the first thing that probably comes to mind is the widely available red bulbs. However, there is another variety which is white in color and comes from Asia. It is called daikon radish.
Daikon is not only incredibly tasty, but it also offers a plethora of health benefits. Read on to discover why you should add this amazing vegetable to your diet.
- 1 Daikon Origins And History
- 2 Culinary Uses
- 3 Health Benefits of Daikon
- 3.1 #1 Daikon for Diabetes
- 3.2 #2 Daikon for Digestion
- 3.3 #3 Daikon for Weight loss
- 3.4 #4 Daikon for Gout
- 3.5 #5 Daikon for Skin Health
- 3.6 #6 Daikon Soup for Inflammation
- 3.7 #7 Daikon for Respiratory Health
- 3.8 #8 Daikon for Healthy Kidneys
- 3.9 #9 Reduces Cancer Risk
- 3.10 #10 Daikon For Immunity
- 3.11 In Conclusion
Daikon Origins And History
Daikon is known by many names, including Oriental radish, Chinese radish, Japanese radish, and mooli. In Japanese, the word daikon means ‘big root’.
Like all other radish varieties, this veggie belongs to the Raphanus plant family, originating in the Mediterranean. It is believed that it later spread to the East and Southeast Asian regions where it is widely used for its taste.
But unlike other members of the radish family, the oriental radish is notable for its distinguishing features – it is a long root which resembles a white carrot and big leaves. It can grow as long as 20 inches and reach 4 inches in diameter.
The Chinese radish is milder in taste compared to other types of radish. It can be eaten both raw and cooked.
When eaten raw, daikon’s taste is mild and slightly tangy, whereas its texture is juicy and crisp. This makes it perfect for all types of salads, especially combined with grated beetroot, carrots, and a bit of apple to balance the flavors.
When served cooked, daikon’s flavor resembles that of cooked turnips.
Technically, Japanese radish is a cruciferous veggie. The most commonly used part of the plant is the root. In many Asian countries, the daikon root is often pickled and added to various main dishes, sliced or grated, or served as a side dish.
However, other parts can also be used in cooking since they also offer a number of health benefits. In some countries, the leaves are also used in various soup recipes instead of or along with parsley for extra freshness.
The sprouts, called ‘kaiware’ in Japan, are also used across Asia for their sharp, peppery taste. They’re usually consumed raw because heat can easily damage them. Kaiware are often added to salads and sandwiches for an extra spicy twist.
Daikon in keto diet
Keto diet excludes high-carb vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and yams. However, unlike these root veggies, daikon is very low in carbs, which means you can add it to various keto recipes and enjoy it on a daily basis!
Health Benefits of Daikon
#1 Daikon for Diabetes
Since daikon is very low in carbs, it represents a perfect food choice for diabetes patients. The low-carb profile, in combination with dietary fiber, means that this vegetable won’t cause sharp blood sugar spikes.
Moreover, Oriental radish helps keep the insulin levels balanced and slows down the absorption of sugars in the body.
In conclusion, daikon is ideal for keeping diabetes under control and preventing the occurrence of diabetes-related complications.
#2 Daikon for Digestion
The food we eat has to be broken down and digested by a number of enzymes. Daikon contains protease and amylase, which facilitate the digestion of food, especially proteins and carbs. It also contains enzymes that facilitate the breakdown of fats, which makes it ideal for people with impaired digestion.
In addition, daikon is very rich in dietary fiber which means it is a natural diuretic. Eating daikon provides gentle natural detox of the bowels. It also prevents constipation by retaining water in the stool, thus aiding its passage through the digestive system.
#3 Daikon for Weight loss
Healthy digestion is crucial in stimulating weight loss! Since the standard American diet consists of various unhealthy foods loaded with artificial chemicals and processed sugars, many people suffer from obesity.
Adding Chinese radish to your diet will give you the benefit of probiotics which clean the body, allowing it to absorb all nutrients more easily. This, along with the fact that daikon is low in cholesterol, carbs, and calories, but very high in fiber and other nutrients, makes it ideal for promoting weight loss.
#4 Daikon for Gout
Gout occurs due to deposits of uric acid crystals into the soft tissues or joints. It can lead to arthritis, which manifests through swelling, joint stiffness, and pain.
Studies have found that daikon is very low in purines, which makes it very efficient against gout. Purines are substances that can increase the uric acid levels and aggravate gout symptoms. Thus, consuming foods low in purines can help prevent the condition from worsening.
However, this doesn’t mean that daikon can serve as a remedy or treatment for gout and cannot be used in place of prescribed gout medications.
#5 Daikon for Skin Health
Daikon improves skin health in several ways:
- The vitamins A, K, and C, as well as the antioxidants found in daikon, have been proven to prevent various skin disorders and inflammation, while at the same time boosting cell repair.
- Vitamin C, along with some minerals present in the plant such as zinc and phosphorus, as well as the high water content, help keep the skin fresh for a longer period of time.
- The water present in daikon also helps prevent flaky and dry skin.
- Daikon is also rich in iron, a mineral that not only gives you healthier skin but is also responsible for making the hair and nails stronger.
- The high dietary fiber levels help clean the toxins in the body, resulting in clearer skin.
- Finally, Japanese radish also has disinfectant effects which make it very efficient in healing insect stings and bites, as well as curing acne and pimples.
#6 Daikon Soup for Inflammation
This amazing plant also has anti-inflammatory properties and helps reduce inflammation throughout the whole body. By doing so, daikon decreases the risk of developing arthritis, improves heart health, alleviates joint and muscles pains, and helps reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of gout.
The best and easiest way to take advantage of daikon’s anti-inflammatory properties is to include it in a soup, along with other healthy veggies such as carrots and mushrooms. Don’t forget to add the daikon leaves as well!
#7 Daikon for Respiratory Health
The antiviral and anti-bacterial properties make daikon perfect for keeping the lungs and respiratory tract healthy.
Oriental radish helps open up the sinus passages and dissolve mucus. The plant also contains bioflavonoids which enhance the function of lungs and decrease the occurrence of asthma attacks.
Remember the soup recipe we mentioned before? Spice it up with some cayenne and ginger and you’ll have an instant natural remedy for a stuffy nose!
#8 Daikon for Healthy Kidneys
The kidneys function is to extract the important nutrients and water from the blood so that the body can use them, at the same time removing the waste in a process called diuresis.
If the kidneys’ filtration rate reduces, they’ll be unable to perform these functions. To naturally boost the kidneys’ function, nutritionists recommend increased intake of foods that promote filtration. One of those foods in daikon, which acts as a natural diuresis stimulant, preventing the collection of waste in the kidneys.
#9 Reduces Cancer Risk
A study conducted in 2007 concluded that Chinese radish has antioxidative effects which could prevent carcinogenesis.
The antioxidants present in the vegetable (namely, phenolic compounds) reduce the influence of harmful free radicals in the body and prevent oxidative damage, thus enhancing the resistance to various chronic diseases, including cancer. It was found that daikon is especially efficient in stomach cancer prevention.
In addition, daikon’s mature sprouts are very high in glucoraphenin and glucoraphanin, both powerful anti-cancer agents. In fact, it was estimated that the anti-cancer potential of sprouts was 20 times bigger than that of the root!
#10 Daikon For Immunity
Japanese radish is packed with vitamin C. To be more precise, a cup of sliced daikon contains 25.5 mg vitamin C, which is 34% of the RDA for women and 28% of the RDA for man. The vitamin is mainly concentrated in the plant’s leaves; in fact, daikon’s leaves are richer in vitamin C than oranges.
Vitamin C is well-known as an immunity-boosting nutrient. Increased intake of this vitamin increases the antioxidative actions and improves the production of white blood cells.
Vitamin C also accelerates the healing of infections, thus shortening the duration of the illness and reducing the risk of more severe infections.
The nutritional profile of daikon offers a plethora of health benefits, including improved digestion, promotion of weight loss, protection against damage caused by diabetes, lowered cancer risk, and more!
This should be enough to persuade you to make this amazing vegetable a part of your daily diet regimen.
Including daikon in your everyday diet should be quite easy, since its texture and mild taste make it quite versatile.
On top of being very tasty, this veggie is also low in calories so you can enjoy it on a daily basis completely guilt-free.