What is radish
The radish (Raphanus sativus), an annual or biennial plant belonging to the Brassicaceae (mustard family), is cultivated for its large, succulent taproot. The common radish is grown worldwide, and its many components can be incorporated into your diet in several ways:
- Young leaves of the radish plant can be cooked like spinach and are also typically consumed raw
- Young fruits can also be eaten raw or sauteed
- Large, slow-growing summer and winter varieties have pungent, firm flesh when mature, making good additions to soups and stews.
- Small, quick-growing spring varieties are mild and crisp, making them ideal for salads and pickling.
The seeds are contained in a pod known as a silicle. The edible root can be cylindrical, long and tapering, or spherical depending on the type, and its outer skin can be white, yellow, pink, red, purple, or black. The most often consumed early American and European varieties of radish range in size from a few grams to 1 kg.1
Health benefits of radish
Radish extract contains antioxidants such as polyphenols, which promote insulin secretion for control of blood sugar levels. Radish extract may also be able to inhibit the process that turns starch into simple sugar and support the maintenance of glucose uptake/energy metabolism while reducing blood glucose absorption. The antioxidant properties of radish may also strengthen the immune system and lower the occurrence of inflammatory cell processes.2
Studies have shown that radish extract may have advantageous effects on the liver due to its antioxidant content. One study discovered that the bioactive substances in radish roots and sprouts lessen the severity of fatty liver disease in animal models, while another revealed that black radish extracts have liver-protective properties. Additionally, treating a radish extract decreased oxidative stress (inflammation) and stopped fat (lipids and cholesterol) buildup.3
Eating radishes may offer advantages that may help people with cancer due to the anti-cancer mechanisms performed by plant compounds contained in radishes, like glucosinolates. According to studies, the bioactive chemical found in radishes may demonstrate possible anticancer mechanisms
- Producing detoxification enzymes
- Repressing the production of new cells within the cell cycle (to stop potentially cancerous cells from multiplying)
- Inducing apoptosis/cell death (to kill potentially cancerous cells and stop them from growing)3
Radishes contain plant compounds called saponins, which may be beneficial for treating hair loss in some people. The hair follicles (HFs) in the deep layer of the skin epidermis may benefit from radish crude saponin treatment as they may eventually form HFs that correspond to the anagen phase (or active phase) of the hair growth cycle. However, the advantages of radish for human hair have not been thoroughly investigated.4
Reaching your daily fibre consumption target is essential for good digestive health, and since radishes are a good source of fibre, they make a good addition to your diet. Fibre helps your gut pass your stool through your intestine more easily, thereby helping to avoid constipation. Additionally, fibre has been connected to weight loss and decreased cholesterol.5
Radishes are a naturally antifungal vegetable as they include RsAFP2 (an antifungal protein), which can kill common fungi species, including Candida albicans.
This fungus species is typically seen in human diseases (and therefore may have a hand in preventing them), including:
- Vaginal yeast infections
- Oral yeast infections
- Invasive candidiasis5
Radishes are brimming with antioxidants such as anthocyanins (which give them their vivid colour spectrum). Antioxidants have a number of protective properties, including the prevention of some major diseases such as:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Other inflammation
Radishes contain glucosinolate (also found in other cruciferous vegetables). Which, among its capabilities to lower liver cholesterol levels and provide antioxidant/anticancer qualities, can help to prevent gallstone formation.
Low in FODMAPs
FODMAPs (fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides, and polyols) are a type of carbohydrate that is unsuitable for people who suffer from bowel disorders, including Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Patients with these digestive disorders may find their symptoms are relieved by following a diet low in them, and radishes are the perfect addition to such a diet due to their low FODMAP content.6
Fresh radish is a good source of vitamin C and provides about 25% of the recommended daily intake (RDI). Radish leaves, in particular (one cup) can offer more than the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and beta-carotene because they contain substantial amounts of both elements. The body needs vitamin C and carotenoids (two potent antioxidants) for defence, energy, vigour, and disease prevention.
Radish for bone health
Greens are second to cereals and pulses in terms of plants that are high in calcium. One of the richest sources of calcium is radish leaves, which contain just 100 grams of leaves to meet the recommended adult daily calcium intake of 400 mg.7
Radishes contain small amounts of minerals, including:
- Vitamin B-6
- Vitamin K
Their macronutrient content is divided into:
- 19 calories
- 0.1g of fat
- 45mg of sodium
- 3.9g of carbohydrates
- 1.9g of fibre
- 2.2g of sugar
- 0.8g of protein6
Side effects and other concerns
Digestive problems may result if you eat too many radishes in one go. Due to the dietary fibres in radishes, eating them might boost gastric acid production, which helps with digestion, but it can also cause minor discomfort. Raw radishes with glucosinolate chemicals can irritate the oesophagus in people with GERD.
Radish allergy - an unfavourable reaction to eating radishes - can be moderate to severe. Some possible symptoms include:
- Swelling around the mouth and neck
- Pressure in the chest
- Nausea and vomiting
If you experience this or any other type of allergic reaction, you should receive urgent medical care if your symptoms are making it hard to stand, move around or breathe properly.
The consumption of radishes may result in skin discomfort. Skin rash with bumps or blisters, redness, inflammation, itching, and stinging sensations around the mouth and on the skin. Although the precise source of this reaction is uncertain, it has been connected to substances found in radishes, including oxalic acid.
Interaction with medications
When taking radishes with other prescription medications, it’s critical to be aware of any possible interactions that may affect the drug's performance. Compounds in radishes have the potential to interact with specific medicines, changing their effectiveness or resulting in adverse side effects.
Some medications that may be affected by raw radish and radish juice consumption include:
Consuming radishes has been associated with a higher risk of heart palpitation and other cardiac problems. This is because radishes contain high levels of nutrients, including vitamins A, B6, C, and E, and minerals like magnesium, potassium, and iron, all of which can raise heart rate when ingested in large quantities or at specific times of the day. Chest pain, breathlessness, lightheadedness, and exhaustion are typical symptoms; if they persist, medical treatment should be sought.
Due to the sulphur compounds generated by bacteria during digestion, radishes have been linked to halitosis (bad breath). Although it is uncommon, people who have strong radish-like odours on their breath should cut back on their intake. Bad breath and digestive problems might result from eating too many veggies or not digesting them adequately.
Due to the low iron content of radishes, iron-deficiency anaemia risk has been associated with radish nutrition. Therefore, it is recommended that you eat radishes as part of a balanced, nutritious diet to make sure you receive all the essential vitamins and minerals you need.
Radishes are cruciferous vegetables that contain a variety of nutrients advantageous for our health in many ways. This includes keeping the skin and digestive system healthy and and the well body hydrated. Other health advantages of radish aids include the treatment of renal and bladder diseases, increasing immunity, preventing cardiovascular problems and controlling blood sugar levels in diabetics. They can also lessen pain and swelling, help cure numerous respiratory conditions, and prevent malignancies of the mouth, stomach, and colon. However, eating too many radishes may have some side effects, so it is advised to eat them in moderation and as part of a balanced diet so you can experience their benefits while staying healthy.
- Radish | Plant | Britannica. 24 Mar. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/plant/radish.
- Banihani, Saleem Ali. “Radish (Raphanus Sativus) and Diabetes.” Nutrients, vol. 9, no. 9, Sept. 2017, p. 1014. www.mdpi.com, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu9091014.
- Manivannan, Abinaya, et al. “Deciphering the Nutraceutical Potential of Raphanus Sativus—A Comprehensive Overview.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 2, Feb. 2019, p. 402. www.mdpi.com, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020402.
- Kim, Hyun-Kyoung. “Hair Growth Promoting Effect of Radish Crude Saponin Extract on Athymic Nude Mice.” International Journal of Advanced Smart Convergence, vol. 8, no. 1, 2019, pp. 184–95. koreascience.kr, https://doi.org/10.7236/IJASC.2019.8.1.184.
- “Are Radishes Good for You?” Healthline, 17 May 2016, https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/the-benefits-of-radishes.
- “Radish Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Verywell Fit, https://www.verywellfit.com/radish-nutrition-calories-2241817. Accessed 13 Apr. 2023.
- “Radish - A Source of Bountiful Nutrition.” Medindia, https://www.medindia.net/patients/lifestyleandwellness/radish-a-bountiful-of-nutrition.htm. Accessed 13 Apr. 2023.8.Sharma, Bharat. 12 Side Effects Of Eating Too Many Radishes. 11 Mar. 2023, https://goodhealthall.com/side-effects-of-eating-too-many-radishes/.