Radish Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Radishes, annotated

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman  

The spicy, peppery radish (Raphanus sativus) is a root vegetable, but is less starchy than many other root veggies, like potatoes and parsnips. It is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, related to turnips, cabbage, and broccoli. The radish seems to have been one of the first European crops introduced to the Americas. You can enjoy its zingy crunch raw on a salad, or cook as you would a potato for milder flavor. Radishes are low in calories, but high in fiber and are an excellent source of vitamin C.

Radish Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition facts are provided by the USDA for 1 cup (116g) sliced, raw radish.

  • Calories: 19
  • Fat: 0.1g
  • Sodium: 45mg
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9g
  • Fiber: 1.9g
  • Sugar: 2.2g
  • Protein: 0.8g

Carbs

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.

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 (but it is presumed to be low).

Fat

Radishes have just a tiny trace of fat.

Protein

Like most vegetables, radishes are not high in protein, although there is just under 1 gram in a cup of raw radish slices.

Vitamins and Minerals

Radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C with 17 milligrams per 1-cup serving. This amount is 23% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for women and 19% of the RDA for men. Since the body can't produce its own vitamin C, consuming it in the diet (or via supplements) is essential.

Radishes also contain smaller amounts of folate and vitamin B6 and the minerals potassium, manganese, and calcium.

Health Benefits of Radishes

Radishes have some healthful properties thanks to their fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidant content. For example, vitamin C is important in many physiological processes, including protein metabolism, wound healing, and immune system regulation.

May Lower Blood Sugar

Researchers have suggested that consuming radishes may be beneficial for people with diabetes because it slows sugar absorption and reduces the starch-induced post-meal glycemic load.

Provides Antioxidants

The antioxidant compounds in radishes may provide some of their anti-diabetic power. Anthocyanins help give radishes their bright range of colors, and research suggests that consuming more of them is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

In general, antioxidants are beneficial because they can help repair oxidative stress caused by free radicals in the body. This stress can contribute to inflammation, obesity, diabetes, and other conditions.

Reduces Risk of Chronic Disease

Like antioxidants, dietary fiber has many health benefits that have been identified by scientists. These include preventing and managing heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, and digestive diseases. Researchers are also looking at fiber's ability to prevent infection and even improve mood and memory.

May Reduce Risk of Cancer

Radishes may not seem to have much in common with broccoli, but both are cruciferous vegetables. Research has shown some associations between a diet high in these nutritious veggies and a lowered risk of cancer. Specific to radishes, a study of radish extract found that it could inhibit the proliferation of certain cancer cells in a lab setting.

Prevents Gallstones

Like other cruciferous vegetables, radishes contain a compound called glucosinolate. It has antioxidant and anticancer properties and can decrease cholesterol levels in the liver. This, in turn, can prevent the formation of gallstones.

Low in FODMAPs

A diet low in certain carbohydrates called FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols) may help ease symptoms in people with bowel diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease. Radishes are suitable for people following a low-FODMAP diet.

Allergies

Food allergy to radish is rare but has been reported in the medical literature. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include hives, itching and swelling around the mouth, and even difficulty breathing. If you suspect a food allergy, talk to your doctor about diagnosis and management.

Adverse Effects

Some people may find the flavor of radishes too spicy. Cooking them, rather than eating them raw, can make them more palatable. If you are not accustomed to eating a lot of fiber, increase your intake of fiber gradually to prevent temporary digestive symptoms.

Varieties

Radishes come in a variety of colors, sizes, 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. All are similar in nutritional value, but preparation matters. For example, pickled radishes contain more sodium than fresh versions. And yes, horseradish is related to the familiar red radish.

We typically eat the root of the radish, but the leaves are also edible. Radishes are part of the mustard family and their greens are nutritious and tasty, like mustard greens. They can be eaten raw or cooked, just like the radish root itself.

When It's Best

Radish season peaks in spring, but radishes are easy to find and purchase year-round. (They're also easy to grow in a home garden.) When selecting fresh radishes, look for firm, smooth, brightly colored roots with fresh leaves still attached.

Storage and Food Safety

Separate greens and radishes for storage; you can keep the greens in the refrigerator for a few days and the radishes for a few weeks. To freeze, cut and blanch first. Thawed radishes will work best in cooked dishes, rather than salads or other fresh preparations.

How to Prepare

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 bite is lost when they are cooked, and you can season them with a variety of herbs or spices.

Slices of radish on a green salad are the most typical way to use them, but you can also make radishes the star of your salad. 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. Or try cooked radishes:

  • Roasted: Trim and halve radishes, toss them with a little olive oil and salt, and roast in a hot oven (400 to 450 degrees F) for 45 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
  • Sautéed: 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.
  • In stews and soups: Substitute radishes for potatoes, turnips, or rutabaga in any slow cooker or pressure cooker recipes for stews or soups.

Recipes

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Radishes, raw. FoodData Central. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published April 1, 2019.

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

  3. Vitamin C: Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. Updated February 27, 2020.

  4. Wallace TC. Anthocyanins in cardiovascular disease. Adv Nutr. 2011;2(1):1-7. doi:10.3945/an.110.000042

  5. Panche AN, Diwan AD, Chandra SR. Flavonoids: An overview. J Nutr Sci. 2016;5:e47. doi:10.1017/jns.2016.41

  6. Kaczmarczyk MM, Miller MJ, Freund GG. The health benefits of dietary fiber: Beyond the usual suspects of type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. Metab Clin Exp. 2012;61(8):1058-66. doi:10.1016/j.metabol.2012.01.017

  7. Cruciferous Vegetables and Cancer Prevention. National Cancer Institute. Updated June 7, 2012.

  8. Beevi SS, Mangamoori LN, Subathra M, Edula JR. Hexane extract of Raphanus sativus L. roots inhibits cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in human cancer cells by modulating genes related to apoptotic pathway. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2010;65(3):200-9. doi:10.1007/s11130-010-0178-0

  9. Castro-Torres IG, De la O-Arciniega M, Gallegos-Estudillo J, Naranjo-Rodríguez EB, Domínguez-Ortíz MÁ. Raphanus sativus L. var niger as a source of phytochemicals for the prevention of cholesterol gallstones. Phytother Res. 2014;28(2):167-71. doi:10.1002/ptr.4964

  10. Lee YH, Lee JH, Kang HR, Ha JH, Lee BH, Kim SH. A case of anaphylaxis induced by contact with young radish (Raphanus sativus L). Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2015;7(1):95-7. doi:10.4168/aair.2015.7.1.95

Additional Reading