What Are Radishes Good For?

Ravishing Radishes
Botanical name: Raphanus sativus

Radish Nutrition Facts

Offering a satisfying, peppery crunch with every bite, radishes have a unique place in the hearts of veggie lovers. A root from the Brassica family and a cousin to cabbage, radishes comes in many shapes, sizes and colors.

In the U.S., the average large radish is red and round with a glistening white interior and roughly the size of a ping pong or golf ball. Another type is the creamy white daikon — a true tuber with the tail to show for it, and a winter radish (the red ones proliferate in the spring). The original radish was black, and other varieties come in pink, dark grey, purple, yellow, and two-tone green and white.

The radish is well-traveled and ancient, mentioned in historical Egyptian records as early as 2,700 B.C.,1  being cultivated even before the pyramids were built. Romans preserved the radish by using a paste made of honey, vinegar and salt.2 In Greece, the radish was so highly regarded that they made golden replicas of it. Eventually, cultivation of this crop spread throughout Europe, reaching England in 1548. In 1629 by way of sea, radishes were already grown in Massachusetts and slowly spread throughout America.3

Growing and Storing Radishes

Radishes are still a popular garden crop today, and are planted and harvested early and seemingly impervious to light frost. When harvesting red radishes, pull them straight from the ground so you don’t disturb the nearby plants. For optimal cooking results, make sure they are of moderate and usable size.4. The greens and the roots are used in cooking, especially with additions like spinach. Just wash them well and make sure they're not limp or yellow.

Before refrigerating radishes, you should first wash them, remove greens from the top, and place them in plastic baggies with a paper towel at the bottom. This optimizes moisture content from the rest of the radish and helps keep them fresh for about a week. Sliced, they make a zippy addition to sandwiches and salads.

Health Benefits of Radishes

While you may not consume 10 large radishes in one sitting, the 100-gram portion serves as a way to better determine the nutritional value of just a few, since the larger amount doesn’t equate to any discernible dietary value.

Radishes are a very good source of vitamin C, which may help fight disease and rescue healthy cells from an onslaught of destructive free radicals.5 This is done through electrolytes and natural antioxidant action of this one vitamin, increasing immunity of the body,6 and helping fight all kinds of diseases, including high blood pressure7 and gout attacks.8 Folate, fiber, riboflavin and potassium, as well as good amounts of copper, vitamin B6, magnesium, manganese and calcium are less prominent nutrients that support the healthy properties of radishes.9

It's no surprise that radishes contain fiber, which keeps your system flushed and functioning with regularity and aids in maintaining a healthy weight.10 Ironically, these naturally heated veggies may help put an end to any burning sensation experienced during urination. That may be because radishes are a natural diuretic, purifying the kidney and urinary systems and relieving inflammation.11

Eating radishes can help in the removal of bilirubin,12 a condition evidenced by a yellow tinge in the skin, mucous membranes, or eyes, often present in newborns. This type of jaundice occurs when bilirubin builds up in bile faster than the liver can break it down and excrete from your body.13

Some other positive elements found in radishes include detoxifying agents called indoles,14 a substance that may potentially fight cancer and work alongside sulforaphane,15 another beneficial compound that may help inhibit prostate,16 colon,17 breast,18 ovarian19 and possibly other cancers.

Radish Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 3.5 ounces (100 grams), raw
  Amt. Per
% Daily
Calories 16  
Calories from Fat 1  
Total Fat 0 g 0%
Saturated Fat 0 g 0%
Trans Fat  
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 39 mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 3 g 1%
Dietary Fiber 2 g 6%
Sugar 2 g  
Protein 1 g  
Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 25%
Calcium 2% Iron 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie

Studies Done on Radishes

One study reported that in comparison with other cruciferous vegetables, Spanish black radishes contain four times more glucosinolates, believed to enhance detoxification. Clinical tests showed them to have a greater ability to detoxify enzymes, metabolize faster and quickly reduce DMBA-induced bone marrow toxicity. Scientists concluded that the findings support the hypothesis that glucosinolates in Spanish black radishes are protective against acute toxicity.20

Scientists evaluated the chemopreventive effectiveness of radish plants (Raphanus sativus L), including the root, stems, leaves and extracts, and investigated the molecular mechanism leading to growth, arrest and induced cell death of human cancer cell lines. The root showed significant cell growth inhibition and induced cell death, which substantiated the premise that radishes possess potential chemopreventive efficacy and apoptosis-inducing capabilities in some cancer cell lines.21

Radish Healthy Recipes:
Snap-Pea, Radish and Lime Salad22

Radish Healthy Recipes


2 cups sugar snap peas, trimmed and halved

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cups yellow wax beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Freshly ground pepper

1 bunch (about 10 pieces) of radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste



  1. Steam peas in 2 inches of boiling water until crisp-tender for four to five minutes. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with paper towel.
  2. Steam wax beans until crisp-tender for about five minutes. Add to snap peas. Refrigerate until chilled for about 20 minutes.
  3. Whisk lime juice, oil, cilantro, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add radishes, peas and beans; toss to coat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve chilled.

Fun Facts About Radishes

The word "radish" comes from the Latin “radix,” meaning “root,” and the Greek word "raphanus," which translates to "quickly appearing”.23 This may have to do with the fact that radishes are one of the fastest sprouters in the garden when they're planted from seed. For this reason, other veggies like carrots and beets are planted in the same row as radishes, so the row can be easily identified.


Radishes contain significant amounts of vitamin C and several other vitamins and minerals, and a few not-so-familiar phytochemicals such as indoles.

Radishes also contain an important isothiocyanate antioxidant compound called sulforaphane, a potential cancer fighter. Furthermore, they remove bilirubin from the liver, preventing jaundice, and perform other healthful tasks like purifying kidney and urinary systems, regulating blood pressure, boosting immunity and scavenging free radicals throughout your body.

To liven up a salad and get some healthful benefits at the same time, buy a bunch of radishes and slice them thinly in your next tossed salad. Zingy!