9 Surprising Benefits of Daikon

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Daikon has many amazing benefits that include cancer prevention, stronger immune system, lower inflammation, and improved digestion. Further, it helps strengthen bones, detoxify the body, improve respiratory health, and stimulate weight loss.

What is Daikon?

Daikon is a type of white, winter radish that grows primarily in Southeast and East Asia. It is characterized by large, rapidly growing leaves and long, white roots. It is technically considered a cruciferous vegetable and, therefore, has many of the same benefits in its leaves. It is also praised for the nutrient content of its root, which is commonly pickled and eaten as a vegetable in Japan, China, and other Asian countries as a part of their cuisine.

Daikon is also commonly used as an ingredient in soups, salads, curries, rice dishes, and various condiments. The leaves are typically eaten as a green salad vegetable. The juice is most commonly marketed as a healthy beverage for a wide range of conditions.

The impressive qualities of daikon, including its low food energy levels and high nutrient content, make it a highly sought after ingredient in many foods. Further, the health benefits of daikon have been well known for generations.

Close-up of freshly sliced daikon with leaves on a wooden table

Daikon fruit Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Radishes, oriental, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]94.62
Energy [kcal]18
Energy [kJ]76
Protein [g]0.6
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.1
Ash [g]0.58
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]4.1
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.6
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]2.5
Calcium, Ca [mg]27
Iron, Fe [mg]0.4
Magnesium, Mg [mg]16
Phosphorus, P [mg]23
Potassium, K [mg]227
Sodium, Na [mg]21
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.15
Copper, Cu [mg]0.12
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.04
Selenium, Se [µg]0.7
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]22
Thiamin [mg]0.02
Riboflavin [mg]0.02
Niacin [mg]0.2
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.14
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.05
Folate, total [µg]28
Folate, food [µg]28
Folate, DFE [µg]28
Choline, total [mg]7.3
Betaine [mg]0.1
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.3
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.03
16:0 [g]0.03
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.02
18:1 [g]0.02
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.05
18:2 [g]0.02
18:3 [g]0.03
Tryptophan [g]0
Threonine [g]0.03
Isoleucine [g]0.03
Leucine [g]0.03
Lysine [g]0.03
Methionine [g]0.01
Cystine [g]0.01
Phenylalanine [g]0.02
Tyrosine [g]0.01
Valine [g]0.03
Arginine [g]0.04
Histidine [g]0.01
Alanine [g]0.02
Aspartic acid [g]0.04
Glutamic acid [g]0.11
Glycine [g]0.02
Proline [g]0.02
Serine [g]0.02
Sources include : USDA

Health Benefits of Daikon

Let’s take a closer look at the health benefits.

Antimicrobial Properties

Daikon shows significant antibacterial and antiviral properties. Laboratory experiments have shown that its extract displayed strong antibacterial activity against a host of diseases causing microbes like Hafnia alvei, Lactobacillus, and Bacillus thuringiensis as well as fungal species such as Penicillium lilacinum. Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, daikon is very effective in treating illnesses like respiratory issues. The excess phlegm or mucus in your respiratory tracts can capture bacteria and allow it to grow. Daikon juice not only clears out phlegm but also eliminates bacteria and other pathogens, keeping your respiratory system healthy.

Improves Digestion

Daikon juice has also been shown to possess similar enzymes to those found in the human digestive tract, including amylase and esterase. These enzymes can facilitate more efficient digestion of complex carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. This can prevent constipation and increase nutrient uptake efficiency in the gut. A 2019 research published in the Journal of Food & Nutritional Sciences found that pairing animal protein with nutrient-rich vegetables like daikon can facilitate the digestion of protein and increase the metabolic bioavailability in the body.

Detoxifies the Body

Daikon has long been known as a diuretic by nature, which means that it stimulates urination. This helps to keep the kidneys clean and functioning at a high level by stimulating the elimination of excess toxins, fats, and even water through urination.

Anticancer Potential

According to a research article by the American Chemical Society, daikon sprouts contain certain antioxidant phenolic compounds that have been shown to have antioxidant/radical scavenging properties which help to lower the risk of colon cancer. It is also shown to exhibit hepatoprotective activity. However, more research is needed to exactly know how daikon can help in cancer prevention.

Boosts Immune System

As per the USDA vitamin C in daikon amounts to 22 mg per 100 g. This amount of vitamin C also makes daikon ideal for your immune system, as it stimulates the production of white blood cells. This helps speed up healing and repair of the cells and tissues throughout the body. Daikon leaves are the richest source of vitamin C. So if you want a health boost, have a daikon leaf salad with some daikon juice on the side.

Anti-inflammatory Agent

Research has shown that the anti-inflammatory compounds found in daikon juice, its roots, and leaves can significantly decrease inflammation throughout the body. Antioxidants help boost heart health and reduces the risk of developing arthritis. It also treats gout and eases discomfort and pain from injuries and strained muscles.

Improves Bone Health

Like most other cruciferous vegetables, daikon is a rich source of calcium, which is essential for bone health. If you are at risk of developing osteoporosis or are beginning to feel the pain related to old age, adding some daikon to your diet can help in improving your condition. It can thus slow the natural aging process.

Weight Loss

Intake of daikon fills you up and provides your body with essential nutrients, without significantly increasing the calorie count or cholesterol intake in your daily diet. This is due to its low calorie and cholesterol nature, combined with its high fiber and nutrient content, making it perfect for a weight loss diet. A 2019 animal study found that daikon was effective in reducing obesity.

Skin Care

Daikon oil is relatively rare, but it can be applied directly to the skin for anti-aging effects. Similar results are also experienced when daikon is normally consumed. The antioxidant properties of the vegetable help to prevent the effects of free radicals, which are the harmful by-products of cellular metabolism. You can prevent wrinkles, improve skin glow, increase circulation to the skin, and even reduce the appearance of blemishes and age spots.

How to Eat Daikon?

Daikon has a sweet, peppery taste and is usually milder than red radish. Daikon is frequently used in East-Asian cuisine. It can be pickled, added to soups and stews. Sliced thinly, it is also used for garnishing or in salads. You can also use it in place of radish in any dish. The greens of daikon are also used as salad leaves. It is best to eat the leaves when they are fresh.

Word of Caution: Evidence suggests that daikon and other radish varieties shouldn’t be eaten by people with gallstones. Other than that, it is not commonly known as an allergen and is generally considered healthy for everyone.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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