Text and Photos by Henrylito D. Tacio
Aveen Acuna-Gulo is now 51, and she has three children. When they were still kids, she used to bring her children to the hospital due to some health problems. “We could not save because we used most of the money we had to pay the hospital bills and to buy medicines,” she admitted.
At one time, she came across the works of Dr. Bernard Jenssen, touted to be the Father of Modern Iridology and Nature Cures. In 1998, she started what she called “green juicing.” She read a lot of books, magazine articles, and pamphlets about it. When some members of the family were sick, she gave them some juices. “Today, we don’t gulp any kind of medicine,” the community worker from Cotabato said.
Aveen said there are natural cures for every health problem. “Just a month ago, my daughter had coughs,” she recalled. “No one took care of here but she still went to school. Every day, I gave her radish and green juice. She expelled a lot of phlegm. After one week, her cough vanished.”
According to some sources, drinking radish comes in handy in fighting off respiratory infections. “Grate one radish and mix with honey to taste,” informs Arlene May G. Corpus, a therapeutic dietitian at the Manila Adventist Medical Center. “Let mixture stand for 10 hours in a dark place. Take 2 tablespoons three times a day as cough syrup.”
Many people may not realize it, but radishes (known as daikons in some parts of the world) offer many health and nutritional benefits. Since ancient times, the Chinese believe that eating radish, and other brassica group vegetables would bring wholesome health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that radishes were once so valued in Greece that gold statues were fashioned in their image.
“As a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, radishes have a host of health benefits but are typically under-appreciated – pushed around on crudité platters until they’re all that’s left and then drowned in ranch dressing to wash them down,” notes Paul Pitchford, author of Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition.
Organicfacts.net lists the following health benefits of radishes:
Jaundice: Radish is very good for the liver and stomach. It also acts as a powerful detoxifier, which purifies the blood and eliminates toxins and waste. It is extremely useful in treating jaundice because it removes bilirubin and also keeps its production at a stable level. It also reduces the destruction of red blood cells that happen to people suffering from jaundice by increasing the supply of fresh oxygen to the blood.
Urinary disorders: Radish is a diuretic in nature, which means it helps increase the production of urine. Juice from radishes also cures inflammation and that burning feeling during urination. It also cleans out the kidneys and inhibits infections in the kidneys and urinary system, thus helping the treatment of various urinary conditions that are exacerbated by excess toxins in the system.
Weight loss: Radish is very filling; it satisfies your hunger without running up your calorie count. It is also low in digestible carbohydrates, high in roughage, and contains a lot of water, making radish a very good dietary option for those who are determined to lose weight. Furthermore, it is high in fiber and low on the glycemic index, thus increasing regular bowel movements, which helps in weight loss.
“Despite having positive benefits on health, many will not add a food to their diet if they feel it may jeopardize weight loss,” livestrong.com notes. “In the case of the radish, it is a dieter’s friend. A 1/2-cup serving of radish slices contains only 9 calories and 2 grams of carbs.”
Cardiovascular conditions: Radish is one of the best sources of anthocyanins, a type of flavonoids which gives color to radishes. Anthocyanins have been the subject of numerous medical studies as they have been positively linked to reducing the occurrence of cardiovascular disease. In addition, anthocyanins have been found to have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Cancer: Since radishes are detoxifiers and are rich in vitamin-C, folic, and anthocyanins, they have been connected to treating many types of cancer, particularly colon, kidney, intestinal, stomach, and oral cancer. Radishes, being part of the Brassica family, are packed with antioxidants.
Radish, like other cruciferous and Brassica family vegetables, contains isothiocyanate antioxidant compounds called sulforaphane. Studies suggest that sulforaphane has a proven role against prostate, breast, colon, and ovarian cancers by virtue of its cancer-cell growth inhibition, and cytotoxic effects on cancer cells.
Constipation: Radish is very high in fiber, thus adding considerable bulk to bowel movements, which promotes regular excretory patterns and relieves symptoms of constipation. It can also help to firm up loose bowels and get rid of loose stool or diarrhea.
Blood pressure: Radish is an excellent source of potassium, which has been positively connected to reducing blood pressure. When it interacts with the arterial supply of vascular beds, potassium can relax the blood vessels, and therefore increase blood flow. It reduces blood pressure by widening the flow of the blood instead of forcing it through narrow, constricted channels.
Diabetes: Radish has long been known to have a low glycemic index, which means that eating it does not impact blood sugar levels. It also helps regulate the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream; as such, people with diabetes don’t have to worry as much about sudden spikes or drops when eating or being away from food for a certain amount of time.
Skin disorders: Vitamin C, phosphorus, zinc, and some members of the vitamin-B complex that are present in most radishes are good for the skin. The water in radish also helps to maintain healthy moisture levels in the skin. Smashed raw radish is a good cleanser and serves as an efficient face pack. Due to its disinfectant properties, radish also helps clear up skin disorders like dry skin, rashes, and cracks.
Fever: Radish lowers body temperature and relieves inflammation from fevers. A good method of intake is drinking radish juice mixed with salt, and since it acts as good disinfectants, radish also fights infections that can cause fever.
Kidney disorders: As a diuretic, cleanser, and disinfectant, radish helps in the treatment of many kidney disorders. Its diuretic properties help wash away the toxins accumulated in the kidneys, and they decrease the accumulation of toxins in the blood, thereby decreasing their concentration in the kidneys. Its disinfectant properties protect the kidneys from any infections as well.
Dehydration: Radishes are mostly composed of water, and they are a great way to keep your body hydrated, which is beneficial to many different parts of health. One of the most important parts of staying hydrated is the impact of water on the digestive system. Staying hydrated relieves constipation, improves the efficiency of digestion, and ensures proper uptake of nutrients from the food we eat.
Just a precaution: Radishes may contain goitrogens, plant-based compounds found in cruciferous and Brassica family vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli. Goitrogens may cause swelling of the thyroid gland, and as such, radishes should be avoided in individuals with thyroid dysfunction.