If you're craving something new in your tossed salad, the Spanish black radish is a good place to start. Beyond its dramatic appearance, the black radish root has a bolder taste than its thin-skinned, red counterparts. On the health front, new black radish benefits are still being discovered.
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All radishes are low in calories and carbs, and high in antioxidants like vitamin C. Spanish black radish may have additional detoxing abilities, thanks to its high concentration of glucosinolates.
Rooting for Spanish Black Radish?
At 4 inches in diameter, the Spanish black radish (Raphanus sativus L. var. niger) is larger than the common red radish you'll find in most grocery stores. But this black radish root is mostly known for its deep-black skin, which makes a stark contrast to its bright white flesh. The skin is also noticeably thicker than those of the more-common red radishes.
The Spanish black radish can be either round or elongated. Its taste is stronger than many other radishes, making it ideal for waking up bland dishes. When you want to reap black radish benefits by using it more often, take it out of the salad bowl and move it into other dishes. Shave the white flesh over breaded fillets or casseroles to cut the richness, or leave the skin on and slice it into thin rounds over creamy soups, along with sprigs of fresh herbs.
Like other radish varieties, the black radish root can also be cooked, which mellows its flavor. This method is ideal if you find the peppery, pungent taste of fresh Spanish black radish a bit overpowering. Roast whole black radish along with other root vegetables cut the same size, then toss the roasted veggies with olive oil, and serve. Alternately, boil them with potato or turnip pieces to liven up a mashed side dish.
Read more: List of High-Alkaline Vegetables
Exploring Black Radish Benefits
Black radish supplements are now widely available, thanks to recent studies that point to specific benefits of fresh Spanish black radish, Spanish black radish juice, and supplements made from Spanish black radish. Much of the interest in potential Spanish black radish benefits comes from the fact that this variety has four times the amount of glucosinolates as other radishes and cruciferous vegetables.
Glucosinolates are compounds found in many strong-tasting vegetables, and are thought to help repel insects during the growing stage. Studies suggest that they may provide health benefits for the people who ingest them. Research is ongoing, but possible benefits are numerous.
A December 2014 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that black radish's unique composition of glucosinolates, sulfates and high-cysteine-proteins made them effective for aiding detoxification in the liver. The liver plays a crucial role in breaking down and eliminating harmful toxins that we take in, whether it be through junk food, overindulging in alcohol, or poor air quality. The study involved a black radish supplement tested on a limited number of male test subjects, but points to the promising role black radish could play in your diet.
A June 2017 review of studies in the Nutrients scientific journal cited research, conducted on mice, which found that the glucosinolates in black radish reduced cholesterol found in the liver, the organ crucial to regulating cholesterol. It also reduced the instances of cholesterol-related gallstones.
Compromised immune systems and abnormal cholesterol levels can contribute to the risk of developing diabetes. The Nutrients survey suggested that because black radish can address these issues, it may have anti-diabetic effects.
Reveling in Radishes
Radishes in general are a nutrient-rich food. According to the USDA, they contain under 20 calories per 1 cup serving, and have zero fat. This serving provides about 7 percent of the recommended daily value (DV) of fiber, while being low in carbohydrates.
Read more: Which Foods Are 'Free' on Weight Watchers?
In addition, radishes are a good source of vitamin C and potassium. They also offer at least 2 percent of the DV for protein, calcium, iron, magnesium and zinc, all in a 1-cup serving.
Fiber boasts an array of health benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic. Radishes are high in insoluble fiber, which helps move waste through your system. Along with keeping you regular, a high-fiber diet can lower your risk of colorectal cancer, protect your heart and help you maintain a healthier weight.
Among other black radish benefits is the root's high vitamin C content, at 10 percent of the DV per ½ cup serving, or 20 percent if you have a full 1-cup serving. Vitamin C offers antioxidant protection. It also boasts collagen-building properties, for stronger muscles and bones, as well as healthier skin.
- Cornell University: "Radish Varieties"
- University of Massachusetts: "Winter Radishes"
- PubMed: "Spanish Black Radish (Raphanus sativus L. Var. niger) Diet"
- PubMed: "The Efficacy of Spanish Black Radish on the Induction of Phase I and Phase II Enzymes in Healthy Male Subjects"
- Nutrients: "Radish (Raphanus sativus) and Diabetes"
- Mayo Clinic: "Diabetes - Causes"
- USDA: "Nutrition Facts for Radishes"
- Mayo Clinic: "Dietary Fiber"
- Linus Pauling Institute: "Vitamin C"