Amazing Health Benefits of the Daikon
The Daikon Radish is a white winter radish grown mainly in Southeast and East Asia. And though it isn’t very well known in the United States, it is slowly becoming more popular. And for good reason! The health benefits are astonishing!
But before we dig into those health benefits, let’s take a moment to answer the question: What exactly is the daikon?
It is considered a cruciferous vegetable and thus its leaves have the same benefits as the more commonly known vegetables in the cruciferous family. Think broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, and turnips just to name a few. In Asia, the root is pickled and the vegetable is used in salads, soups, curries, rice dishes and more. Though much easier to find these days in mainstream grocery stores, you can almost always find them in Asian markets.
Because they are low in calories and high in nutrients, daikons are a very sought after vegetable in Asian cuisine.
Now let’s check out those health benefits:
A study in Food Chemistry, 2007 found that:
“The suppression of lipid peroxidation and oxidative DNA damage in rats by the intake of daikon sprout or ginger indicates that these vegetables have an antioxidative effect in vivo which could be related to the prevention of carcinogenesis.“
Further research from International Symposium on Plants as Food and Medicine found:
“Daikon and radish were analyzed at the seed and sprouted-seed stage to identify cultivars high in the anti-cancer glucosinolate, glucoraphenin. Of the cultivars tested, ‘Cherry Belle’ and ‘Black Spanish’ maintained highest levels of glucoraphenin. Levels were highest in seed, and decreased with increasing sprout age. Decline in concentration was largely due to dilution associated with cell expansion, and partly due to other mechanisms. Differences in the latter appear to have impact on anti-cancer potential.
Analysis of mature daikon and radish tissue (roots and shoots) indicated that the principal glucosinolate in roots of all cultivars was glucodehydroerucin, which is estimated to have one tenth of the potency of glucoraphenin, the principal glucosinolate found in seeds and young sprouts. By contrast, the principal glucosinolates present in mature shoots were glucoraphanin and glucoraphenin, both potent anti-cancer agents. Shoots were estimated to have approximately 20 times the anti-cancer potential of roots.”
- BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM
Daikons are rich in Vitamin C – up to two-thirds more Vitamin C than in oranges! The leaves contain nearly 80% more Vitamin C than in orange juice. Vitamin C has long been known to help maintain and improve immune system function. But one thing that often gets overlooked is that stress significantly decreases Vitamin C levels in the body leaving you more susceptible to infections and/or viruses. I’m sure we have all had the experience of living through a highly stressful situation followed by the onset of a cold just a few days later.
Also, because the body does not make Vitamin C on it’s own, a daily supply must be introduced to prevent illness. We have an amazing Daikon Soup recipe that is perfect for keeping those Vitamin C levels up, especially during times of stress.
- IMPROVES DIGESTION
In order to maintain proper digestion, it is important to have sufficient enzymes to break food down. Daikon juice is loaded with amylase, diastase and esterase. These enzymes are necessary to convert food (protein, fats and carbohydrates) into compounds that the body can absorb. In fact, daikon and daikon juice have been used for centuries in Asian countries as a digestive aid.
- AIDS RESPIRATORY HEALTH
Much like horseradish, the daikon radish does a great job of opening the sinus passages and helping to dissolve mucus. Add a bit of ginger and cayenne and you have a wonderful remedy for a stuffy nose and blocked sinuses.
Because the daikon radish is highly fibrous, which induces healthy bowel movements, and because it is also known to be a natural diuretic, it is an excellent tool for a gentle detox. And here is a big added plus – Having a healthy digestive system is the key in stimulating weight loss!
Remember, daily consumption of unhealthy foods that are loaded with processed sugars and artificial chemicals (The Standard American Diet), along with insufficient water consumption, promotes unhealthy gut bacteria and inflammation.
Here’s an extra tip: Adding some miso to the daikon will give you the added benefit of probiotics which are known to promote the growth of “good” bacteria in the gut. By “cleaning out” your system, you are allowing your body to begin the healing process, absorb the nutrients that it needs AND promote weight loss. Now that sounds like a win, win , WIN situation!
Okay, if you haven’t peeked at that awesome recipe yet…are you ready to now? I know you are!
Start your day with a warm or cold cup of Daikon Soup to help your body to be in tip-top shape!