Are Radishes Good For You

A 1/2-cup serving of radishes gives you 1 gram of fiber. Eating a couple servings each day helps you reach your daily fiber intake goal. Fiber helps prevent constipation by bulking up your stool to help waste move through your intestines. Fiber also may help you manage blood sugar levels, and has been linked to weight loss and lower cholesterol.

4 Health Benefits of Radishes

The veggie might have a pretty impressive impact on your health.

Cynthia Sass is a nutritionist and registered dietitian with master’s degrees in both nutrition science and public health. Frequently seen on national TV, she’s Health’s contributing nutrition editor and counsels clients one-on-one through her virtual private practice. Cynthia is board certified as a specialist in sports dietetics and has consulted for five professional sports teams, including five seasons with the New York Yankees. She is currently the nutrition consultant for UCLA’s Executive Health program. Sass is also a three-time New York Times best-selling author and Certified Plant Based Professional Cook. Connect with her on Instagram and Facebook, or visit www.CynthiaSass.com.

Updated on October 5, 2022

You’ve probably had radishes in salads, but there are many ways to enjoy this crisp, refreshing veggie—and several reasons to eat them more often. Radishes, a cruciferous vegetable in the same plant family as kale and broccoli, offer some potentially impressive health benefits. Here are four major radish perks and healthy ways to incorporate them into meals and snacks.

Low in Calories and Provide a Range of Nutrients

One cup of raw radishes has fewer than 20 calories, just four grams of carbohydrates (nearly two grams of fiber), almost a gram of protein, and no fat. A cup of sliced radishes also provides about 30% of the daily value for immune-supporting vitamin C and small amounts of B vitamins, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium.

Radishes Contain Health-protective Compounds

As a member of the superfood cruciferous veggie family, including cabbage and mustard, radishes contain natural sulfur-containing substances. Research has found that these compounds have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect cells against cancer-causing agents, and interfere with the growth of cancer cells.

The compounds in radishes have also demonstrated antibacterial activity, including against Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which are linked to ulcers and stomach cancer.

Antioxidants May Help Fight Cancer

Antioxidants have indeed been shown to play a role in reducing inflammation and protecting cells from damage to fend off premature aging and disease.

In a comprehensive review published in the journal Nutrients, researchers noted that radishes, which have been used in folk medicine since ancient times, provide several types of antioxidants. These are found in the veggie’s edible root, as well as in the sprouts, seeds, and leaves. Scientists believe the natural compounds may help guard against certain cancers, including cervical, breast, prostate, colon, liver, and lung cancer.

May Protect Against Diabetes

A Population Health Metrics study projected that by 2060, the number of US adults diagnosed with diabetes would nearly triple. While eating more radishes alone won’t negate the risk, research shows a beneficial relationship between the veggie and the disease.

A review published in Nutrients looked at the link between radishes and diabetes. This included radish root juice, extract, and sprouts.

Researchers noted that the protective effects are likely related to the veggie’s ability to enhance the body’s antioxidant defense mechanism and positively impact hormonal-triggered glucose changes. Radishes also seem to reduce glucose absorption in the intestine and promote glucose uptake, which lowers blood sugar levels.

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Don’t Forget Daikon Radishes

Daikon radishes, which are much larger and longer, are native to China and Japan. They can be spherical, oblong, or cylindrical and have white, pink, or purple flesh.

This variety is also low in calories, at roughly 20 per cup. Each cup has about five grams of carbs, nearly two grams of fiber, no fat, and less than a gram of protein. One seven-inch daikon packs almost 125% of the daily value of vitamin C, which supports skin health and helps produce collagen. This portion also provides over 20% of the daily value for potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and nerve and muscle function.

Ways To Enjoy Radishes

Radishes grow easily and quickly, so you can plant them in your yard or in a pot. When buying radishes at your farmer’s market or grocery store, look for firm veggies with bright green, perky tops. They’ll store longer in the fridge if you remove the greens. But you can eat greens too. Radish greens are commonly eaten in Korea. Researchers say they may even have anti-obesity properties. Braise or saute, or add them raw to salads or pesto.

You might think a salad is the only way to enjoy radishes. But traditional red and daikon radishes can be eaten raw or cooked. You can place raw slices over toast covered with mashed avocado or hummus; add them to sandwiches, grain bowls, and tacos; or incorporate them into slaw. Dip fresh radishes into seasoned tahini, guacamole, bean dip, olive tapenade, or cashew cheese sauce.

You can cook radishes too, of course. Try to ven roast, grill, or sauté radishes with olive oil and garlic, and add them to hot dishes like stir-fries and soups.

Finally, radishes are amazing pickled or fermented and used as a garnish or side dish.

Enjoy radishes any way you prefer to garner their many health benefits, but eat them in moderation to prevent dips in blood sugar, and avoid them if you’ve had gallstones unless a healthcare provider has told you they’re OK.

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Are Radishes Good For You

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One Major Side Effect of Eating Radishes, Says Science

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Radishes are strange little root vegetables that lend a nice bite to salads or a crunch to a taco or act as the perfect snack dipped in a bit of salted butter; they also happen to pack a punch of nutrients. Some of the benefits of eating radishes include reduced inflammation and lower cholesterol. One study even showed radish root extract has specific anti-cancer properties.

Although these beautifully pink root veggies are nutrient-dense and mostly harmless, they can have potential side effects, especially when they’re eaten in their raw form. One major side effect of eating radishes is that when they are consumed raw, they can possibly impact the health of our thyroid. 6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e

What do radishes have to do with our thyroid?

The key connection between radishes and our thyroid health is a natural substance found in radishes called goitrogen. Goitrogens are a group of compounds found in many different types of vegetables and fruits, including broccoli, kale, strawberries, and certain soy products.

When a food that is rich in goitrogens is eaten in its raw form, the goitrogen chemicals are released. When we eat our radishes raw, like chopped up into a salad or dipped into some hummus, we are ingesting these goitrogens as well.

How this substance interferes with our thyroid

Our thyroids create two different types of hormones: triiodothyronine (also known as T3) and thyroxine (T4), which are essential in helping us maintain a healthy metabolism! If our thyroid is ever not functioning properly, we may experience things like weight loss or weight gain, fatigue, and brain fog, among many other possible symptoms.

In order for our thyroid to work properly, it needs iodine to absorb and convert into the T3 and T4 hormones. And according to a paper published in the journal Biochemistry & Pharmacology, goitrogens (the chemical found in radishes) are known to block the process of iodine reaching the thyroid gland. In other words, radishes have the potential to interrupt our thyroid function.

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The paper also mentions that much larger quantities of goitrogens have the potential to cause an enlarged thyroid, but it would be almost impossible to consume that large of a number of goitrogens with just radishes!

Solving the problem

If you’re set on keeping radishes in your diet, then the easiest way to solve this potential thyroid issue is simply to cook your radishes! According to the Journal of BMC Endocrine Disorders, the process of cooking goitrogenic foods lowers their ability to impact our thyroid hormone production. But if you’re ever concerned with how your food is affecting your health, and your thyroid health, it’s always best to consult with your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.

Get even more healthy tips straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter! After, read these next:

  • 20 Ways to Reboot Your Thyroid
  • 10 Myths About Your Thyroid
  • Secret Side Effects of Eating Protein Bars

Samantha Boesch

Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha

Are Radishes Good for You?

Are Radishes Good For You

Radishes may not be the most popular vegetable in your garden, but they are one of the healthiest.

These undervalued root vegetables are packed with nutrients. They may even help or prevent some health conditions.

Radishes are not well-studied for conventional medicinal use. Most studies have been done on animals, not humans. Even so, radishes have been used as a folk remedy for centuries. They are used in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat many conditions such as fever, sore throat, bile disorders, and inflammation.

Radishes may offer these additional health benefits.

1. They won’t derail your healthy eating plan

A 1/2-cup serving of sliced radishes contains about 12 calories and virtually no fat, so they won’t sabotage your healthy diet. They are the perfect crunchy snack when the munchies strike.

Radishes are a good source of vitamin C. Just 1/2 cup offers about 14 percent of your recommended daily allowance. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps battle free radicals in your body and helps prevent cell damage caused by aging, an unhealthy lifestyle, and environmental toxins. Vitamin C also plays a key role in collagen production, which supports healthy skin and blood vessels.

Radishes contain small amounts of:

  • potassium
  • folate
  • riboflavin
  • niacin
  • vitamin B-6
  • vitamin K
  • calcium
  • magnesium
  • zinc
  • phosphorous
  • copper
  • manganese
  • sodium

2. Anticancer properties

Eating cruciferous vegetables like radishes may help prevent cancer. According to the Linus Pauling Institute, cruciferous vegetables contain compounds that are broken down into isothiocyanates when combined with water. Isothiocyanates help purge the body of cancer-causing substances and prevent tumor development.

A 2010 study found that radish root extract contained several types of isothiocyanates that caused cell death in some cancer cell lines.

3. Support a healthy digestive system

A 1/2-cup serving of radishes gives you 1 gram of fiber. Eating a couple servings each day helps you reach your daily fiber intake goal. Fiber helps prevent constipation by bulking up your stool to help waste move through your intestines. Fiber also may help you manage blood sugar levels, and has been linked to weight loss and lower cholesterol.

Radish leaves may be especially beneficial. Results of a 2008 study on rats fed a high-cholesterol diet suggest that radish leaves are a good source of fiber to help improve digestive function. This may be partially due to increased bile production.

A separate study showed that radish juice may help prevent gastric ulcers by protecting gastric tissue and strengthening the mucosal barrier. The mucosal barrier helps protect your stomach and intestines against unfriendly microorganisms and damaging toxins that may cause ulcers and inflammation.

4. Antifungal properties

Radishes are a natural antifungal. They contain the antifungal protein RsAFP2. One study found RsAFP2 caused cell death in Candida albicans, a common fungus normally found in humans. When Candida albicans overgrows, it may cause vaginal yeast infections, oral yeast infections (thrush), and invasive candidiasis.

An earlier study in mice showed that RsAFP2 was not only effective against Candida albicans, but also other Candida species to a lesser degree. RsAFP2 was not effective against Candida glabrata strains.

5. Help reduce zen effects

Zearalenone (zen) is a toxic fungus that invades many corn crops and animal feeds. It has been linked to reproductive problems in animals and humans, although the risk to humans is considered small. According to a 2008 study , radish extract improved the antioxidant level in mice and can be considered a safe way to diminish or prevent zen effects.

Learn more about the nutritional value of eating raw radishes.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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