According to research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, compounds found in the Japanese Sakurajima daikon radish could help protect coronary blood vessels and potentially prevent heart disease and stroke.
Thanks to a very active volcano in the region spewing nutrient-rich ash conducive to crop growth, the Sakurajima daikon is one of the Earth’s biggest vegetables. The photo above, taken in 1930s Sakurajima, Japan, is evidence of that.
Radishes—even without the massive size of the Sakurajima daikon—are a good source of antioxidants, with food scientists stating it can can reduce high blood pressure and the threat of clots, both of which are risk factors for heart attacks and stroke.
Until now, now heart-health benefits study had been performed on the Sakurajima daikon radish, prompting Japanese researchers to determine what effects this daikon radish had on nitric oxide production, a key regulator of coronary blood vessel function, and to determine its underlying mechanisms.
The team discovered that the Sakurajima daikon radish induced more nitric oxide production in vascular cells than smaller Japanese radishes.
The study also showed that plant hormone trigonelline was the active in the Sakurajima daikon radish in promoting changes in coronary blood vessels that improve nitric oxide production.