By Dawn Jeffers, RD, LD
& Morgan Williston RD, LD
Radishes are a vibrant spring vegetable that can be used to add flavor and brightness to many dishes. They have a pungent, peppery flavor, which comes from the enzyme myrosinase and a sulfuric organic compound called glucosinolate. Sulfuric organic compounds have been shown in some experimental studies to have anticarcinogenic effects.
Radishes are closely related to broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. They are part of the Brassica family, which is thought to have originated in China.
Radish roots and leaves are used in many different cuisines around the world. The roots are commonly used in salads in American cuisine and served as a salty snack in European beer gardens. In Asian cuisine, radishes are pickled, used in stir fries, soups and stews, and even cakes!
The seeds can also be pressed for oil and potentially used as a source for biofuel.
Radishes are a healthy food option that you can feel good about adding into your diet. They are low in calories and fat and also contain fiber to support digestive health. About 1/2 cup of radishes contains only 10 calories, 0.1 grams of fat, and 1 gram of fiber*. Eating radishes each day can help you reach your daily fiber intake goal. Fiber helps prevent constipation by bulking up your stool to help waste move through your intestines. Fiber also may help you manage blood sugar levels and has been linked to weight loss and lower cholesterol.
Radishes also contain essential vitamins and minerals, especially vitamin C. About 1/2 cup of radishes provides 14 percent* of your recommended daily allowance for vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps battle free radicals—unstable, harmful molecules in your body.
It also helps prevent cell damage caused by aging, an unhealthy lifestyle, and environmental toxins, and it plays a key role in collagen production, which supports healthy skin and blood vessels.
Some Ways To Add Radishes To Your Diet
Radishes can be a flavorful and nutritious addition to your diet. Here are some simple ways you can incorporate radishes into your cooking at home:
• Roast radishes and serve as a low-calorie substitute for potatoes.
• Add radish slices to salads or shave into tacos or slaw for an extra crunch.
• Use radishes instead of potatoes in crawfish boils.
• Sauté radishes and greens in olive oil with salt, pepper, herbs, and a splash of lemon for a
• flavorful side dish.
• Add chopped radishes into a chutney or relish for an added kick.
• Serve sliced radishes alongside your favorite dip, such as hummus or ranch.
*Nutritional data obtained using ESHA food processor software.