Low-Carb Radishes Are Great for More Than Salads

The radish is a root vegetable that is high in fiber and low in starch

Radishes, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

In This Article

Radishes have great potential when you are on a low-carb diet. While low-carb guidelines say to skip most root vegetables, radishes are an exception as they have none of the starch that makes root vegetables (such as potatoes) high in carbohydrates. It takes 10 medium radishes to get 1 gram of carbohydrate.

Most people are used to having a few raw slices of radish on a salad or even having raw fancy French radishes served with butter. But also try roasting, steaming, or frying them. Some of the peppery bites is lost when they are cooked and you can season them with a variety of herbs or spices. Since potatoes are very high in starch and carbohydrate, radishes are a good substitute.

Radish Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts

Radishes lack starch, which is an easily-digestible form of carbohydrate that quickly breaks down into simple sugars. The carbs in radishes are half simple sugars (glucose and fructose) and half fiber, which results in very low net carbs.

Quantity of Radish Carb, Fiber and Calorie Counts
1/2 cup sliced radishes (about 2 ounces) 1 gram net carbs, 1 gram fiber, 9 calories
1 medium radish (1 inch in diameter) 0.1 gram net carbs, 0.1 gram fiber, 7 calories
1/4 lb (4 ounces) radishes 2 grams net carbs, 2 grams fiber, 18 calories

Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load for Radishes

The glycemic index of a food is an indicator of how much and how fast a food raises your blood sugar. As with most non-starchy vegetables, there is no scientific study of the glycemic index of radishes.

The glycemic load of a food is related to the glycemic index but takes serving size into account. A glycemic load of one is the equivalent of eating 1 gram of glucose. Radishes have a very low glycemic load.

In fact, researchers have suggested that consuming radishes may have anti-diabetic properties because it has been shown to reduce the starch-induced post-meal glycemic load.

Health Benefits of Radishes

Radishes are a good source of fiber. They are a very good source of vitamin C and contain smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals.

Using Radishes

Here are ideas for ways you can include radishes in your meals and snacks.

  • Salads: Slices of radish on a green salad are the most typical way to use them. But you could also dice radish and cucumber and toss them with a dressing that includes lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Let the salad marinate in the refrigerator for a few hours before serving.
  • Roasted: Trim and halve the radishes, toss them with a little olive oil and salt, and roast in a hot oven (400 to 450 F) for 45 minutes or until golden and crisp. Serve as you would roasted baby potatoes.
  • Sauteed: If you love breakfast potatoes or hash, try substituting halved or quartered radishes for the potatoes. Saute them with oil, butter, or a little bacon grease and seasonings.
  • Poached: Boil or steam halved or quartered radishes until they are tender and use them as a potato substitute in potato salad.
  • Stews and Soups: Substitute radishes for potatoes in any slow cooker or pressure cooker recipes for stews or soups.

History of the Radish

Scientists tentatively locate the origin of the radish, Raphanus sativus, in southeast Asia, as this is the only region where truly wild forms have been discovered. India, central China, and central Asia appear to have been secondary centers where different forms were developed.

Radishes enter the historical record in third century BC. Greek and Roman agriculturalists of the first century AD gave details of small, large, round, long, mild, and sharp varieties. The radish seems to have been one of the first European crops introduced to the Americas.

Radishes come in a variety of colors and types. Daikon radish and Korean radish are popular in East Asia. White and red European radishes are the types usually used in American cuisine. They are considered part of the cruciferous vegetable family, related to turnips, cabbage, and broccoli. They grow quickly and a good choice for beginner gardeners. The smaller varieties can be ready for consumption within a month of planting.

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  2. Banihani SA. Radish (Raphanus sativus) and diabetesNutrients. 2017;9(9):1014. Published 2017 Sep 14. doi:10.3390/nu9091014

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