So, why is daikon the winter food that keeps doctor away?
During the winter month, our yang energy submerges deeper into our body. This can easily cause internal heat especially around stomach area and leave coldness at the exterior of the body. Here is my take on why this happens. Human body produce about the same amount of energy through out the year. When it is cold outside, we lose more energy superficially, so the body knows to keep more energy deeper inside to prevent energy from losing. Those energy shifted inside can be used to process more food which in return produce more energy. Therefore, in the winter, we tend to eat something heavier. However, with the stressful life we have, heat lingers longer than it should and can cause various heat symptoms from acid reflux, oral ulcer, hot flashes, low fever, skin rashes to insomnia and etc.
Here comes the benefit of daikon. In Chinese medicine, daikon has the nature of acrid, sweet, cold, and neutral, and it enters lung, spleen, and stomach channel. It also has the action to move the energy in the five yin organs (heart, lung, spleen, liver, kidney). To put into English, it can help to reduce and transform accumulation of obstruction and heat from the middle to upper part of the body. Hence, it is good for the balance the lingering heat that accumulates in the body.
It also has the benefit of reducing the distention from eating heavier food. In Japanese cuisine, it is very common to find daikon with fried dishes. In addition, this is the vegetable that is in season during the winter and rich in vitamin as well as minerals (see the nutrition facts below).