TOKYO: Step aside carrots, onions and broccoli. The newest heart-healthy vegetable could be humble radish, say researchers from the Kagoshima University in Japan.
In a study appearead in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, scientists report that compounds found in the Sakurajima Daikon, or "monster," radish could help protect coronary blood vessels and potentially prevent heart disease and stroke. The finding could lead to the discovery of similar substances in other vegetables and perhaps lead to new drug treatments.
In addition to this, radish actually helps to cleanse our liver and stomach, thus detoxifying it. Some varieties of radish and its leaves have been used for the longest time to treat jaundice because it can get rid of excess bilirubin. And because of that particular property, it also helps to purify our blood. They keep hypothyroidism in check too, thanks to its sulphur content.
Grown for centuries in Japan, the Sakurajima Daikon is one of the Earth's most massive vegetables. In 2003, the Guinness Book of World Records certified a Sakurajima weighing nearly 69 pounds as the world's heaviest radish.
Radishes are good sources of antioxidants and reportedly can reduce high blood pressure and the threat of clots, a pair of risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
But to date, no studies have directly compared the heart-health benefits of the Sakurajima Daikon to other radishes.
The study, appearing in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could lead to the discovery of similar substances in other vegetables and perhaps lead to new drug treatments, the researchers said.
Kajiya's team exposed human and pig vascular endothelial cells to extracts from Sakurajima Daikon and smaller radishes.
Using fluorescence microscopy and other analytical techniques, the team found that the Sakurajima Daikon radish induced more nitric oxide production in these vascular cells than a smaller Japanese radish.
Nitric oxide is a key regulator of coronary blood vessel function.
They also identified trigonelline -- a plant hormone -- as the active component in Sakurajima Daikon that appears to promote a cascade of changes in coronary blood vessels resulting in improved nitric oxide production.
(With inputs from agencies)