Winter eating radishes warms the body, protects against cancer, and cares for blood vessels


The saying goes, "Eat radishes in winter and ginger in summer, no need for doctors or medicine." Although white radishes are available year-round, the peak season runs from November to early spring, when they are sweet, tender, and juicy.

White radishes, known as the "ginseng of the common people," are versatile—the roots, stems, leaves, and even seeds can be consumed. "Compendium of Materia Medica" hails the white radish as "most beneficial among vegetables."

For the best selection during this season of ample radishes, follow these three principles: "Look first, tap second, then feel."

Look: Smooth surface, complete shape, vibrant green leaves without withering, and no root hairs.

Tap: A crisp, light tapping sound.

Feel: Firm and not indented.

Apart from historical records, science supports numerous benefits of white radishes:

- Cancer Prevention: Since the 1980s, cruciferous vegetables like radishes, cauliflower, and kale have been regarded as anti-cancer foods. The presence of isothiocyanates and brassinin in these vegetables aids in detoxification, inhibits tumor cell growth, and eliminates carcinogens.

- Blood Pressure Regulation: Studies in the "British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology" indicate that the potassium content in radishes helps lower blood pressure. "British Medical Journal" also notes that potassium-rich diets effectively reduce blood pressure and decrease the risk of stroke by 24%.

- Gentle Digestive Aid: Raw radishes possess a pungent taste due to their mustard oil content, which stimulates appetite. Despite having only 1.2 grams of fiber per 100 grams compared to the high 63.5 grams in white fungus, radishes are considered low-fiber foods. Low fiber content gently promotes gastrointestinal motility, suitable for slow digestion in elderly individuals, children, and those with gastric issues.

Dr. Yu-Chuan Chen, Chief of Traditional Medicine and Obstetrics at Taipei Medical University Hospital, explains from a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective that during colder weather, poor blood circulation can lead to internal heat accumulation, causing constipation. Radishes, with their heat-clearing properties, aid digestion and help eliminate bodily waste.

- Cough and Phlegm Relief: According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, white foods like radishes, Chinese yams, and Chinese cabbage nourish and moisten the lungs, suitable for consumption in autumn and winter. Dr. Chen adds that radishes soothe qi, resolve phlegm, and disperse accumulation. However, due to their cooling nature, excessive consumption can lead to diarrhea, and pregnant women experiencing frequent contractions should also limit intake to avoid premature labor.

Recipe for Stewed Radishes with Longan and Tea Oil (Serves 3-4):

Ingredients: 500g white radishes, 15g dried longan, 6 red dates, 30g dried small fish, 20g sliced ginger, 20cc tea oil, 2 tsp (10g) salt, a small amount of bonito flakes, 700cc water.


Heat tea oil in a pot, sauté ginger until fragrant and golden brown, then add dried small fish. Add salt, bonito flakes, bring to a boil, transfer to an electric cooker inner pot, add chopped radish pieces and ingredients. Place two cups of water in the outer pot, stew for 50 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis (Per Serving):

Calories: 144.7 kcal, Protein: 8.2g, Fat: 7.4g, Carbohydrates: 12.3g, Fiber: 2.6g, Cholesterol: 67mg, Vitamin C: 29.2mg, Iron: 1.1mg, Calcium: 270mg, Sodium: 251.6mg.


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