Perhaps you overlook the radish in the grocer's produce bin or have never considered it a snack option. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, however, that radishes were once so valued in Greece, that gold statues were fashioned in their image. There are different types of radishes, but all have the same basic nutritional makeup. Filled with health benefits, the radish deserves a second look as a menu choice.
Snacking on radishes can help you reach your daily vitamin C intake goal. For their size, radishes have a high vitamin C content. A 1/2-cup serving offers 8.6 mg, or 14 percent of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C works in the body to rebuild tissues, blood vessels and maintain bones and teeth. It is an antioxidant vitamin which is reported to fight cellular damage that can lead to cancer and other diseases, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Vitamin C is water soluble, which means it is not stored in the body and you must replace it daily.
Radishes contain 1 g of fiber, and while that may not seem like a lot it is actually 4 percent of the recommended daily intake, according to the CDC. If you slice radishes and eat them with a green salad you are taking in additional fiber content. A report from the Harvard School of Public Health states that adding fiber to your diet lowers your risk of diabetes, heart disease, diverticulitis and colon cancer.
While the fiber in the radish helps fight colon cancer, the vegetable also contains a group of compounds called isothiocyanates, which are shown to be effective against other cancer cell lines. Researchers at Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University in India tested various parts of the radish plant against human cancer cells. The results of their study, published in the September 2010 issue of "Plant Foods For Human Nutrition," show that the compounds in the radish bulb, or root, affect genetic pathways in the cancer cells, inducing cancer cell death.
Despite having positive benefits on health, many will not add a food to their diet if they feel it may jeopardize weight loss. In the case of the radish, it is a dieter's friend. A 1/2-cup serving of radish slices contains only 19 calories and 4 carbs. Other considerations for the radish include the additional vitamin and mineral content. Along with vitamin C the radish offers folate, B vitamins and vitamin K as well as essential minerals that include potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorous, sodium, copper and zinc. Radishes can be eaten raw or cooked in casseroles or soups. Your imagination is the limit.