In Gone With the Wind, there’s a pivotal scene in which Scarlett vows, “I’ll never be hungry again!” In the movie, you don’t realize what she’s eating… but in the book, you learn she’s eating a radish. The scene goes like this:
Close to the back step of one cabin, she found a short row of radishes and hunger assaulted her suddenly. A spicy, sharp-tasting radish was exactly what her stomach craved. Hardly waiting to rub the dirt off on her skirt, she bit off half and swallowed it hastily. It was old and coarse and so peppery that tears started in her eyes. ~Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, Chapter 25
I have always wondered – what on earth was Margaret Mitchell thinking when she wrote this? Never in my whole life have I craved a radish. Who craves a radish? It’s a decorative addition to my salad. I didn’t ask for it, but it adds a bit of color to my bowl of lettuce.
But the oft-overlooked little radish packs a powerful nutritional punch.
First – let’s talk weight loss. At only 19 calories per cup, the lowly radish is a low-carb, crunchy snack that pairs nicely with a bit of hummus or dressing. It’s an ideal option for those who are looking to lose a few pounds. Additionally, with a high water content, as well as high fiber, the radish can help with both hydration and… well, do what high-fiber foods are known to do.
In other words, radishes can help fight constipation.
Next, thanks to their high water content, radishes can help prevent dehydration and are also natural diuretics. They can help those who suffer from urinary tract issues, including the inflammation that can come along with urinary tract infections. (Every woman I know is making a beeline for the grocery store – we’ll eat anything that can prevent a UTI!)
Looking to detox? Look no further than our little radishy friend. Radishes can help clean the blood and eliminate toxins and waste from the body. They are often used to help clean the liver for those who are suffering from jaundice, and are great for the kidneys, especially since they help disinfect our body’s natural filtration system and prevent infections.
Radishes are a great way to reduce blood pressure. They help relax the blood vessels, and therefore increase blood flow. Yes, please, especially since heart disease is the number one killer of women every year.
Thanks to their low glycemic index, radishes are great for those who have diabetes. Radishes don’t impact blood sugar the way other foods may do.
Remember how we talked about the radish’s high water content earlier? That’s great for your skin! Plus, with the radish being high in vitamin C, vitamin B, phosphorus, and zinc – all great vitamins and minerals for healthy skin – the radish is a good addition to your diet when you want that healthy glow. Bonus: because of its detoxing properties, the radish can help fight acne.
This little fun fact was surprising, but next time you have a sore throat, munch on a radish. We seriously have underrated this little salad garnish – they are great at relieving sore throats and eliminating sinus congestion.
Radishes are also great for freshening breath, reducing headaches, preventing gallstones, and much more.
The nutritional power punch this little veggie offers isn’t as underwhelming as we thought. In fact, next time you order a salad, maybe you should just ask for some lettuce to garnish your bowl of radishes, instead of the other way around!