The Health Benefits of Radishes
They are packed with vitamins
Medically reviewed by Roxana Ehsani, MS
Radishes (Raphanus sativus) are a root vegetable from the Brassicaceae (mustard) family. The red radish is commonly found in grocery stores and looks like a little red globe with a white interior. Radish varieties boast colors like purple, yellow, white-pink, and even black. The color inside, as well as any striped markings, can vary by the variety.
This article covers the health benefits and risks of radishes.
Radish Benefits for Your Health
Much of the research on radish benefits is on animals rather than humans. However, radishes traditionally were used in home remedies for digestive conditions, including indigestion and gastric pain, and respiratory conditions, such as cough.
Reduced Risk for Diabetes
One review of studies on radishes' health effects suggests radishes have antidiabetic properties. Researchers concluded that the health benefits of radishes in diabetes prevention are linked to their rich antioxidant content and the active mechanism of removing from the body unstable molecules during cell division known as free radicals.
The effects of radishes include blood sugar balance (hormone-induced glucose hemeostasis), improved energy metabolism, and reduced glucose absorption in the intestine.
Related:What Is Diabetes Mellitus?
Better Liver Function
According to the same review, animal studies indicate the nutritional properties of radish can help support liver functioning. The reason why radishes can help with liver functioning come down to nutrients called anthocyanins and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Related:What to Expect During Liver Function Tests
Radishes are a cancer-fighting food. Anticancer properties in radishes come from a unique mix of antioxidants like vitamin C and other nutrients. The spiciness in radishes is attributed to plant chemical compounds, including myrosinase, glucosinolate, and isothiocyanate.
These naturally occurring substances in radishes may be behind their other anticancer properties. Studies have shown that radishes have anticancer properties that may benefit people with or at risk of certain types of cancers, including breast and prostate cancer.
Related:The History of Cancer: Discovery and Treatment
Radishes are also known for their healthy effects on blood pressure. The green leaves of the may be the most beneficial. One animal study demonstrated blood pressure–lowering effects in people who consumed an extract from radish leaves.
Another study suggests a certain variety of radish known as daikon could be even more beneficial because it contains more naturally occurring nitric oxide and trigonelline. Trigonelline is beneficial to blood vessel health and protective against type 2 diabetes.
Radishes are rich in water content, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. The following nutrition facts are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for 1 cup (116 grams) sliced, raw radish:
Fat: 0.1 grams (g)
Sodium: 45 milligrams (mg)
Carbohydrates: 4 g
Fiber: 2 g
Sugar: 2.2 g
Protein: 0.8 g
Radishes also contain other nutrients, including calcium, potassium, and several B vitamins.
Related:Why Non-Starchy Vegetables Are Key to a Healthy Diet
Radish Side Effects
The following are side effects that may occur with radishes.
People who are allergic to other foods in the mustard family may experience an allergy to radishes, too. Allergic reaction symptoms vary but may include:
Rash or otherwise inflamed skin (urticaria)
Lip swelling (angioedema)
Throat swelling and difficulty breathing with anaphylaxis (in severe and rare cases)
Related:The Difference Between Food Allergy and Food Intolerance
It would be difficult to eat enough radishes for consumption to be considered “excessive.” However, it’s been cited that eating too many radishes can cause dehydration, low blood pressure, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). One older (from 2006) animal study indicated that chronic consumption of raw and cooked radishes could impair thyroid hormone production, impacting hydration, blood pressure, and more.
Related:Goitrogens, Thyroid Disease, and Your Diet
Radishes are root vegetables from the mustard family with many health benefits. Radishes are good for helping prevent or fight disease, due to their unique mix of essential nutrients such as vitamin C. Other nutrients in radish include CoQ10, B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and more. Food allergy to radish is possible.
Symptoms include rash, swollen lips, or, in severe and rare cases, anaphylaxis. Radish excessive consumption may impact thyroid functioning. Ways of eating radishes include raw, cooked, sauteed, pickled, or grilled.