In this post, we wanted to continue our exploration of homegrown superfoods. As enamoured as we all are with the incredible benefits recently discovered in ingredients like chia seeds, wheatgrass or pomegranate juice, there are some over-looked but more commonly available masterpieces of nature that can be grown right here in the UK. It is precisely their accessible status that, we believe, sometimes leads to them to be forgotten for the nutritious, flavourful superfoods as which they have every right to be classified.
The summer months mean salads. We at Fare Healthy just love ‘em – the more refreshing, tangy and flavuorful the better. Too often, the salads we make at home feature the same basic ingredients list: lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Don’t get us wrong, we love an iceberg as much as the next person but there are some crucial vegetables you can easily get your hands on that can do a lot to liven up your salad. We want to expound, illustrate and salute one such vegetable, a tiny gem we believe is too often over-looked in spite of its beautiful colour, sharp but sweet flavour and juicy crunch. Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the radish. And, guess what? It’s a superfood!
Thought to be of East Asian origin, radishes have been a much-loved part of European diets since 300BC and were one of the first vegetables to be introduced to the Americas in the 16th Century. Evidently the radish was in a hurry to get itself noticed around the world. There are now hundreds of different types of radish, their colours ranging from white through pink, red, purple, yellow, even green and black with sizes equally numerous. The Japanese Sakurajima radish can grow up to 3ft long and weigh as much as 45kg!
All of these varieties hold within them a plethora of health benefits; a whole host of vitamins, minerals and molecules that any superfood would count themselves lucky to possess. Radishes are widely regarded, particularly in Eastern medicine, as naturally cooling. The sharpness of their flavour is such that, a bit like with hot, spicy curry dishes in India, it encourages the body to rid itself of excess heat. How much more refreshing can you get during the hot summer months? This same sharp flavour can also soothe sore throats, ease colds, improve digestion and, coupled with the radish’s high vitamin C content, help prevent viral infections. They also have a seriously low calorie count – just 20 calories in a serving – while packing an impressive nutrient punch. You can add fibre, vitamins, phosphorous, zinc, not to mention amazing flavour to your meal without concerning yourself with any unwanted additional calories.
Too long has the radish been the last lonely vegetable on the crudité tray. We must celebrate the radish, not just because of its delicious flavour, its delectable texture and its delightful colour but also because of its well-deserved place in the pantheon of superfoods. Available in all supermarkets, easily grown in any vegetable patch or allotment, the radish is an affordable, accessible and nutrient-rich powerhouse. Did you know that in Beatrix Potter’s infamous tale of Peter Rabbit, our beloved bunny is seen pinching from Mr. McGregor’s garden not carrots, as is commonly thought, but sweet red radishes? All we can say is, if Peter Rabbit’s a fan – we’re sold.