What Is Daikon Radish, and What Is It Used For?
Radish (Raphanus sativus) is a cruciferous vegetable that originated in Asia and Europe (1Trusted Source).
There are many different types, which vary in appearance, color, and flavor. Daikon radishes are popularly used in Asian and Indian cooking and known for their potent medicinal properties.
This article reviews daikon radish, including its nutrition, benefits, and culinary uses.
What is Daikon?
It's cultivated around the world as a food for people and livestock, as well as for its seed oil, which is used in the cosmetic industry. Farmers also plant it as a cover crop to improve soil health and increase crop yield (3Trusted Source).
Daikon is considered a winter radish, which is slower growing and larger than spring radishes. Winter radishes are sown in mid to late summer and harvested during cooler weather (4).
Types of Daikon
Daikon radishes have a crispy texture and resemble large carrots. Their flavor is milder than that of other radish varieties and described as slightly sweet yet slightly spicy.
Though most commonly white with leafy green tops, daikon radishes come in a variety of hues, including red, green, and purple. They grow in three shapes — cylindrical, oblong, and spherical (1Trusted Source).
Here are some interesting varieties of daikon:
- Miyashige White. This daikon is white and has a cylindrical root that grows 16–18 inches (41–46 cm) long. It has a crisp texture and mild flavor.
- KN-Bravo. KN-Bravo is a beautiful daikon variety that has purple skin and light purple to white flesh. The roots can grow up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and have a slightly sweet flavor.
- Alpine. The Alpine daikon has short roots that grow 5–6 inches (13–15cm) long. This variety is a popular choice to make kimchi — a fermented vegetable dish — and has a sweeter taste than longer daikon varieties.
- Watermelon radish. This daikon variety has pale, greenish skin, yet reveals a bright pink flesh when cut open. It's spherical and slightly sweet and peppery.
- Japanese Minowase. Minowase daikon is amongst the largest varieties, with roots growing up to 24 inches (61 cm) long. They're white and have a sweet flavor and crunchy texture.
- Shunkyo. This cylindrical variety has red skin and white flesh. It grows 4–5 inches (10–12 cm) long and is known for its fiery yet sweet flavor and pink-stemmed leaves.
Daikon radishes are native to Asia but grown around the world. Varieties include Alpine, KN-Bravo, and Shunkyo. They all come with a unique shape, taste, and color.
Daikon is a very-low-calorie vegetable yet has an impressive nutrient profile.
One 7-inch (18-cm) daikon weighing 12 ounces (338 grams) packs the following nutrients (5):
- Calories: 61
- Carbs: 14 grams
- Protein: 2 grams
- Fiber: 5 grams
- Vitamin C: 124% of the Daily Value (DV)
- Folate (B9): 24% of the DV
- Calcium: 9% of the DV
- Magnesium: 14% of the DV
- Potassium: 22% of the DV
- Copper: 19% of the DV
Daikon is an excellent source of various nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and copper. Still, it's highest in vitamin C and folate.
Vitamin C is a water-soluble nutrient that's essential to health and needed for many bodily functions, including immune system function and tissue growth and repair (6Trusted Source).
Plus, it doubles as a powerful antioxidant, protecting your body's cells from oxidative damage (6Trusted Source).
Daikon is also rich in folate, a B vitamin that's involved in cellular growth, red blood cell production, and DNA synthesis (7Trusted Source).
Daikon is low in calories yet high in many nutrients, particularly vitamin C and folate.
Potential Health Benefits
Eating nutrient-dense daikon may benefit your health in many ways.
Rich in Protective Plant Compounds
Daikon contains many plant compounds that may improve health and offer protection against certain diseases.
One test-tube study found that daikon extract contained the polyphenol antioxidants ferulic acid and quercetin, both of which have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and immune-boosting properties (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).
Additionally, cruciferous vegetables like daikon offer biologically active compounds called glucosinolates, which break down to form isothiocyanates.
May Promote Weight Loss
Eating low-calorie, high-fiber foods like daikon can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose weight if that's your goal.
Daikon is considered a non-starchy vegetable, meaning it's very low in carbs. Research has demonstrated that eating non-starchy vegetables can promote a healthy body weight.
What's more, daikon is high in fiber, a nutrient that may decrease hunger levels by slowing digestion and increasing fullness, which may help boost weight loss (18Trusted Source).
May Protect Against Chronic Disease
Daikon is a highly nutritious vegetable packed with potent plant compounds, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, all of which work together to protect your body against disease.
Though adding more of any vegetable to your diet can improve your health, eating cruciferous vegetables like daikon may particularly protect against a wide range of conditions.
In fact, cruciferous vegetable intake has been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes, and neurodegenerative conditions (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source, 22Trusted Source, 23Trusted Source).
Additionally, some population studies indicate that eating more cruciferous vegetables like daikon may help you live a longer, healthier life (24Trusted Source).
Daikon is a low-calorie, high-fiber vegetable that contains plant compounds that may help protect against conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
Daikon can be enjoyed raw, pickled, or cooked. It's an integral ingredient in Asian cooking, though it lends itself to many cuisines.
Here are some interesting ways to add daikon to your diet:
- Grate raw daikon over a salad for a nutritious, crunchy topping.
- Add daikon to stir-fries to kick up the flavor.
- Make Korean cubed radish kimchi (Kkakdugi) using this recipe.
- Use daikon in soups and stews in place of carrots.
- Steam daikon and top it with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper for a low-calorie side dish.
- Mix daikon with cubed potatoes and carrots and roast them.
- Serve raw, sliced daikon alongside other veggies with a tasty dip for a healthy appetizer.
- Make traditional Chinese daikon cakes using this recipe.
- Use a spiralizer to make daikon noodles and toss them in a homemade peanut sauce.
- Add daikon to veggie spring rolls for a crispy texture.
- Incorporate daikon into Asian dishes, such as curries and soups.
Note that all parts of the daikon plant can be eaten, including the leafy green tops, which can be added to sautés and soups.
You can also try daikon sprouts, which are often used in salads and sushi dishes in Asian cuisine.
Use them as you would use more commonly enjoyed sprouts, such as broccoli and alfalfa varieties.
Daikon can be used in many ways and makes an excellent addition to salads, soups, and curries. You can eat all parts of the daikon plant, as well as its sprouts.
The Bottom Line
Daikon radish is a nutritious, low-calorie cruciferous vegetable that may promote your health in various ways.
Eating it may help you maintain a healthy body weight and protect against chronic conditions, such as heart disease and certain cancers.
Daikon is not only an exceptionally healthy vegetable but also incredibly versatile.
Try adding this unique radish to salads, stir-fries, and curries, or simply enjoy it raw as a snack.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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Researchers at UC-Riverside are investigating how barley, a key ingredient in beer, survives in such a wide variety of climates with hopes of learning what exactly makes it so resilient across climates.
Barley was first grown domestically in Southwest Asia about 10,000 year ago and is grown around the world, from Egypt to Minnesota.
Barley's prime growing regions have shifted northward in recent decades as global temperatures have risen due to climate change caused by human extraction and combustion of fossil fuels.
Chuck Skypeck, technical brewing projects manager for the Brewers Association located in Boulder, Colorado, told E&E climate change's effects are impacting the brewing industry.
"Certainly dynamic growing conditions, water scarcity, extreme weather events, growers' planting decisions can all affect both pricing and availability of brewers' supply of malted barley," he told E&E News.
For a deeper dive:
France moved one step closer this weekend to banning short-haul flights in an attempt to fight the climate crisis.
A bill prohibiting regional flights that could be replaced with an existing train journey of less than two and a half hours passed the country's National Assembly late on Saturday, as Reuters reported.
"We know that aviation is a contributor of carbon dioxide and that because of climate change we must reduce emissions," Industry Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Europe 1 radio, according to Reuters.
The measure now has to pass the French Senate, then return to the lower house for a final vote. It would end regional flights between Paris's Orly airport and cities like Nantes and Bordeaux, The Guardian explained. It would not, however, impact connecting flights through Paris's Charles de Gaulle/Roissy airport.
The bill is part of a legislative package which aims to reduce France's emissions by 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030, Reuters reported. It is a watered-down version of a proposal suggested by France's Citizens' Convention on Climate, BBC News explained. This group, which was formed by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019 and included 150 ordinary citizens, had put forward a ban on flights that could be replaced with an existing train journey of under four hours.
However, the journey length was lowered after protests from KLM-Air France, which had suffered heavy losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, and regions who were concerned about being left out of national transit networks, as The Guardian explained.
"We have chosen two and a half hours because four hours risks isolating landlocked territories including the greater Massif Central, which would be iniquitous," transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said, as The Guardian reported.
However, some environmental and consumer groups objected to the changes. The organization UFC-Que Choisir compared plane routes with equivalent train journeys of under four hours and found that the plane trips emitted an average of 77 times more carbon dioxide per passenger than the train journeys. At the same time, the train alternatives were cheaper and only as much as 40 minutes longer.
"[T]he government's choice actually aims to empty the measure of its substance," the group said, according to The Guardian.
The new measure also opens the French government to charges of hypocrisy. It bailed out Air France-KLM to the tune of a seven-billion euro loan last year, though it did require the airline to drop some domestic routes as a condition. Then, days before the measure passed, it more than doubled its stake in the airline, BBC News reported. However, Pannier-Runacher insisted to Europe 1 radio that it was possible to balance fighting climate change and supporting struggling businesses.
"Equally, we must support our companies and not let them fall by the wayside," she said, as Reuters reported.
This is not the first time that climate measures and aviation bailouts have coincided in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Austrian Airlines replaced its Vienna-Salzburg flight with additional train service after it received government money dependent on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, BBC News reported.
The number of flights worldwide declined almost 42 percent in 2020 when compared with 2019. It is expected that global aviation may not fully recover until 2024, according to Reuters.
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Four gray whales have washed up dead near San Francisco within nine days, and at least one cause of death has been attributed to a ship strike.
More whales than usual have been washing up dead since 2019, and the West Coast gray whale population continues to suffer from an unusual mortality event, defined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as "a stranding that is unexpected; involves a significant die-off of any marine mammal population; and demands immediate response."
"It's alarming to respond to four dead gray whales in just over a week because it really puts into perspective the current challenges faced by this species," Dr. Pádraig Duignan, director of pathology at the Marine Mammal Center, said in a press release.
As the world's largest marine mammal hospital, the Sausalito-based center has been investigating the recent spate of deaths. The first involved a 41-foot female who washed up dead at San Francisco's Crissy Field on March 31, SFGate reported. The cause of death remains a mystery, as the whale was in good condition with a full stomach. The second, another female, washed up on April 3 at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve on Moss Beach.
"That animal's cause of death, we suspect, was ship strike," the Marine Mammal Center's Giancarlo Rulli told SFGate. "Our plan is to eventually head back out to that whale and take more samples."
The third whale washed up April 7 near Berkeley Marina, The AP reported. The center determined it was a 37-foot male in average condition, with no evidence of illness or injury.
A 41-foot female turned up the next day on Marin County's Muir Beach. She suffered bruising and hemorrhaging around the jaw and neck vertebrae, indicating a vessel strike.
Vessel strikes are one of the leading causes of death for gray whales examined by the Marine Mammal Center, along with entanglements in fishing gear and malnutrition. While the species is not endangered, the population has declined by 25 percent since last assessed in 2016, CNN reported.
West Coast gray whales travel 10,000 miles every year between Mexico and the Arctic, according to The AP. They spend the winter breeding off of Baja California, and feed along the California coast in spring and summer on their way back north. The Marine Mammal Center began noticing a problem for the migrating whales in 2019.
"Our team hasn't responded to this number of dead gray whales in such a short span since 2019 when we performed a startling 13 necropsies in the San Francisco Bay Area," Dr. Duignan said in the press release.
The 2019 deaths led NOAA to declare an unusual mortality event for West Coast gray whales. It is similar to another event that happened from 1999 to 2000, after which the whales' numbers rebounded to even higher levels. This suggests population dips and rises may not be uncommon for the species. However, it is also possible that the climate crisis is playing a role. The 2019 deaths were linked to malnutrition, and warmer waters can reduce the amount of food whales have to eat in the Arctic, giving them less energy for their migration, CNN explained. Overfishing can also play a role in depriving whales of food, the Marine Mammal Center said.
Dr. Jeff Boehm, Marine Mammal Center CEO and veterinarian, told CNN that he had observed an uptick in shipping traffic after the pandemic caused a slowdown. At the same time, the center is less able to conduct research because of COVID-19 safety precautions. And even in the best of times, only around 10 percent of dead whales wash up on shore, The AP reported.
"This many dead whales in a week is shocking, especially because these animals are the tip of the iceberg," Kristen Monsell, legal director of the Center for Biological Diversity's Oceans program, told The AP.
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About 70% of the buildings in Kalbarri were damaged and tens of thousands are without power by winds gusting over 100 miles per hour. Climate change, caused by humans' extraction and combustion of fossil fuels, is making cyclonic storms more extreme by increasing air and ocean temperatures, which effectively supercharges the storms.
"You just thought, this is it. I would have thought that when we opened the door, that there would be nothing around us except that roof," Kalbarri resident Debbie Major told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "We are a small town. Half of it has been flattened." Seroja devastated regions of Indonesia and Timor-Leste last week, where it triggered deadly flash floods and landslides.
#CycloneSeroja: homes & units before & after the cyclone hit #Kalbarri, 170kmh gusts causing major damage. #7NEWS https://t.co/WYFL2QOlwB— Paul Kadak (@Paul Kadak)1618186830.0
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By Rishika Pardikar
Search operations are still underway to find those declared missing following the Uttarakhand disaster on 7 February 2021.
"As of now [18 March], we have found 74 bodies and 130 people are still missing," said Swati S. Bhadauria, district magistrate in Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India. Chamoli is the district where a hanging, ice-capped rock broke off from a glacier and fell into a meltwater- and debris-formed lake below. The lake subsequently breached, leading to heavy flooding downstream.
The disaster is attributed to both development policies in the Himalayas and climate change. And as is common with climate-linked disasters, the most vulnerable sections of society suffered the most devastating consequences. Among the most vulnerable in Chamoli are its population of migrant construction workers from states across India.
Of the 204 people dead or missing, only 77 are from Uttarakhand, and "only 11 were not workers of the two dam companies," Bhadauria noted. The two dams referred to are the 13.2-megawatt Rishiganga Hydroelectric Project and the 520-megawatt Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Plant, which has been under construction since 2005. The flash floods in Chamoli first broke through the Rishiganga project and then, along with debris accumulated there, broke through the Tapovan Vishnugad project 5–6 kilometers downstream.
"Both local people and others from Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh…from all over India work on these two [hydroelectric] projects," said Atul Sati, a Chamoli-based social activist with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation.
Sati noted that the local community suspects the number of casualties from the Uttarakhand disaster may be higher than reported because not all the projects' migrant workers—including those from bordering countries like Nepal—have been accounted for by the construction companies and their subcontractors.
The National Thermal Power Corporation is the state-owned utility that owns the Tapovan Vishnugad project. "NTPC has given building contracts to some companies," Sati explained. "These companies have given subcontracts to other companies. What locals are saying is that there are more [than 204] who are missing. They say there were [migrant] workers from Nepal."
NTPC and the Kundan Group (the corporate owner of the Rishiganga project) have not responded to repeated requests for comment.
No Early-Warning System
"NTPC did not have a proper early-warning system," said Mritunjay Kumar, an employee with the government of the east Indian state of Bihar. Kumar's bother, Manish Kumar, was a migrant worker employed with Om Infra Ltd., an NTPC subcontractor. On the day of the disaster, Manish was working in one of the silt flushing tunnels of the Tapovan project and lost his life in the flooding.
Mritunjay Kumar noted that it "would have taken time" for the floodwater and debris to flow from the meltwater lake to the Rishiganga project and then to the Tapovan project. "Even if workers knew 5 minutes in advance," he said, "lives could have been saved."
An advance notice "would have given [Tapovan] workers at least 5–6 critical minutes," agreed Hridayesh Joshi, an environmental journalist from Uttarakhand who reported from Chamoli after the disaster. "Many people made videos; they shouted and alerted people on site. If there was a robust early-warning system, many more lives could have been saved…even if not all, at least some would have escaped."
"It is true that this was an environmental, climate change driven disaster. But NTPC had not taken any measures to save their workers from such disasters," Kumar said. "They [NTPC] hadn't even installed emergency exits for tunnel workers. The only proper exit was a road which faces the river. If NTPC had installed a few temporary iron staircases, many people could have climbed out."
Kumar noted that the Tapovan project has been under construction since before the 2013 Kedarnath disaster, in which more than 5,000 people lost their lives as rainfall-driven floods ravaged northern India. "If they [NTPC] knew that such disasters will happen, why didn't they install early-warning systems?" Kumar asked. "Scientists have been warning about climate change and [dam and road] constructions in the Himalayas from a very long time. Obviously, NTPC was aware."
This story originally appeared in Eos and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.