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Beetroot vs Radish - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan by Victoria Mazmanyan | Last updated on January 01, 1970
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Beetroot
vs
Radish

Summary

Beetroot and radish belong to distinct, separate species, and, depending on variety, both can come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Both of these vegetables are low in calories; however, radish is lower in calories and macronutrients, such as protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Beets are richer in vitamins and minerals, being higher in vitamin A, vitamins B1, B3, and B9, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, potassium, and zinc. Beets also contain vitamin E, whereas radishes do not. However, radishes are higher in vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium and lower in sodium.

Both beets and radishes have exhibited anti-obesity, hypotensive and cardioprotective, anti-diabetic, and anticancer effects.

Overall, beetroot is richer in most nutrients and is better studied as a functional food. However, both vegetables are packed in nutrients and have various beneficial effects on health, so the final decision depends on personal choice and circumstance.

Introduction

Beetroot and radish are two vegetables with similar appearances and uses in the kitchen. Both are full of nutrients and can be beneficial for general health.

In this article, we will talk about what sets them apart and which one is the better choice, based on their advantages and limitations.

Classification

Beetroot and radish are two distinctly different species belonging to separate families and genera.

Beetroot, also known as simply beet, garden beet, or table beet, belongs to the Beta vulgaris species, the Beta genus, Betoideae subfamily, and Amaranthaceae family. Beetroot is part of the same species as sugar beet and chard.

On the other hand, radish (Raphanus raphanistrum) is part of the Raphanus genus and the Brassicaceae family. Radishes share this family with cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip, and others.

Appearance

Both of these vegetables are known for their distinct shades of red and purple. Beetroot is even commonly used as a food coloring. However, beetroot and radish cultivars can vary in color, size, and shape. Besides the usual red, pink and purple, these vegetables can also come in yellow, green, and white. Radishes can also have a grey to black coloring.

When comparing the appearance of the most popular types of beetroot and radish, beetroot wins in size. Radish is lighter in color and has white flesh, as opposed to beetroot’s purple flesh.

Taste and Use

Beetroot is often used in the kitchen in cooked forms, although it can also be consumed raw. The opposite can be said for radishes.

Beetroots have a slightly bitter, earthly flavor, whereas radishes are much sharper and spicier in taste.

Growing Conditions

Beetroot and radish are similar in the garden. Both of these vegetables prefer loamy, slightly acidic soils, with pH levels ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. They also grow best in cool temperatures, preferably in Spring or Autumn, with the soil temperature being above 40°F (4°C) and below 95°F (32°C) (1, 2).

Varieties

Both beetroot and radishes have dozens of varieties, differentiated by their varying sizes, shapes, textures, and colors, as well as their nutritional compositions.

Even though the word beetroot is mostly associated with classic red beets, there are other well-known varieties such as golden, white, Chioggia, and more.

Based on the size, radishes can be spheroid, oval, oblong, and long. Each of these includes many varieties of radishes within them. After the globe red radish, the next radish in line by popularity is daikon. Daikon is a long, white Japanese radish, also known as Oriental or winter radish.

Nutrition

Like many vegetables, beetroot and radish are full of vitamins and dietary fiber. Here, we will focus on their nutritional differences.

Macronutrients and Calories

The main element that composes both of these vegetables is water. However, beetroot is denser in nutrients, consisting of only 88% water, whereas radish contains 95% water.

The average serving size for beetroot is one beet, weighing around 82g. In contrast, the serving size of radish, also one medium radish, weighs only about 4.5g.

Calories

Both of these vegetables are low-calorie foods.

Beetroot is higher in calories, being denser in nutrients. One hundred grams of beetroot contains 46 calories, whereas the same amount of radish has only 16 calories.

Protein and Fats

Beetroot is also higher in both protein and fats.

Beetroot contains over twice the amount of protein that radish does. Both have some levels of all essential amino acids.

Beetroot and radish are low in fats; however, beetroot is slightly higher. The predominant fat type found in both of these vegetables is the preferable polyunsaturated fat.

Carbohydrates

Beetroot contains almost three times more carbohydrates in comparison to radish. Beetroot also has a higher percentage of dietary fiber and, therefore, a lower percentage of sugars.

The primary sugar found in radish is glucose, followed by fructose and then sucrose.

Vitamins

Overall, beetroot wins in this category. However, radishes are much richer in vitamin C and vitamin K.

Beetroots, on the other hand, contain much higher levels of vitamin A, the folate form of vitamin B9, vitamin B1, and vitamin B3. Beetroots also contain vitamin E, whereas radishes do not.

The two vegetables have similar amounts of vitamins B2, B5, and B6, with radish being only a little higher in vitamins B5 and B6.

Both beetroot and radish completely lack vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
4
Radish
Contains more Vitamin A +371.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +158.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +31.5%
Contains more Folate +336%
Contains more Vitamin C +202%
Contains more Vitamin K +550%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.039
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.165
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.071
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 2% 1% 0% 17% 8% 10% 7% 10% 16% 82% 0% 1%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1% 0% 0% 50% 3% 9% 5% 10% 17% 19% 0% 4%
Contains more Vitamin A +371.4%
Contains more Vitamin E +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +158.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +31.5%
Contains more Folate +336%
Contains more Vitamin C +202%
Contains more Vitamin K +550%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.039
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.165
Equal in Vitamin B6 - 0.071

Minerals

Beetroot is higher in almost all minerals, except for calcium, which can be found two times more in radish.

Beetroot is much richer in iron, magnesium, phosphorus and contains moderately higher levels of copper, potassium, zinc, manganese, and selenium.

Radishes are lower in sodium and higher in choline.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Contains more Iron +135.3%
Contains more Magnesium +130%
Contains more Phosphorus +100%
Contains more Potassium +39.5%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains more Copper +50%
Contains more Calcium +56.3%
Contains less Sodium -50%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 5% 30% 17% 18% 29% 11% 10% 25%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 8% 13% 8% 9% 21% 6% 8% 17%
Contains more Iron +135.3%
Contains more Magnesium +130%
Contains more Phosphorus +100%
Contains more Potassium +39.5%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains more Copper +50%
Contains more Calcium +56.3%
Contains less Sodium -50%

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index of beetroot from Canada has been calculated to be 64±16, putting beetroots in the medium glycemic index category (3).

While there has not been a study researching an exact number for a glycemic index of radishes, we can assume this number to be lower than 64, based on the lower sugar concentration.

Radish has been studied to significantly reduce starch-induced postprandial glycemic load, expressing strong anti-diabetic qualities (4).

Acidity

The pH value of beetroots falls from 5.3 to 6.6 and can change depending on the growing and preparation methods. This pH value means that beets are slightly acidic (5).

The acidity of radishes is similar to beets, falling in the range of 5.5 to 6.0, thus making radishes acidic as well (6).

Another way to look at acidity is by measuring the potential renal acid load. The PRAL value demonstrates the capacity of the food to produce bases or acids inside the body.

The PRAL value for beetroots has been calculated to be -5.4, whereas radishes have a PRAL value of -4.4. This shows that beetroots are more alkaline-forming.

Weight Loss

Both beetroot and radish are low-calorie foods, rich in dietary fiber, like most vegetables. When comparing the two, radishes are lower in both fats and carbs and, therefore, calories. However, beets can also be a great, healthy option on a weight loss diet.

Beetroot juice supplementation has been studied to improve exercise tolerance during severe-intensity workouts in obese teenagers due to beet’s high concentration of nitric oxide. This can be used as a measure against early fatigue and reduced physical activity (7).

Radish sango sprout juice has also been researched to be effective in reducing body weight in high-fat diet rats (8).

A compound has been found in daikon that can potentially prevent high fat-induced obesity in mice by expressing anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, as well as suppressing the fat accumulation in the liver (9).

Health Impact

Health Benefits

Beets and radishes are viewed as healthy foods by most. Here, we will pay closer attention to the effects and mechanisms of action.

Cardiovascular Health

Beetroot juice has been studied to have positive effects on blood pressure. In one study, beetroot juice showed a trend to decrease systolic blood pressure (10). Another study found that beetroot juice consumption can improve endothelial function and the impairment of brachial artery dilation after a mixed meal (11).

Another research about beetroot juice demonstrated its protective property against reperfusion myocardial infarction and ventricular dysfunction, potentially due to endogenous hydrogen sulfide generation (12).

Overall, in various studies, beetroot supplementation has been reported to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, inhibit platelet aggregation and improve vascular and endothelial function (13).

Radish seed crude extract has been shown to have hypotensive and cardio-modulatory effects through activation of muscarinic receptors (14).

A variety of daikon, Sakurajima radish, contains a compound that can improve vascular endothelial functions (15).

Even though there’s a lot about beets and radishes that have yet to be discovered, evidently, both can play a protective role in cardiovascular health.

Diabetes

Beetroot juice contains antioxidant phytochemicals, such as neobetanin, that help suppress the blood glucose levels after food intake (16). Besides reducing blood glucose, beetroot juice has also been researched for its ability to improve insulin homeostasis (13).

Radish is recommended as a part of a diabetic diet, as it has been demonstrated to possess anti-diabetic qualities. These qualities may be due to radish’s ability to enhance antioxidant defense mechanisms and reduce the production of free radicals, as well as affect glucose homeostasis, promote glucose uptake and energy metabolism and reduce the absorption of glucose in the intestines (17).

When talking about diabetes, we have to also pay attention to the lipid profile in order to improve diabetic dyslipidemia. Beetroot juice consumption lowers the levels of all lipids, except for high-density lipoprotein, also known as the “good” cholesterol (13).

Cancer

It has been found that pigments contained in red beetroot, called betanin, are effective at cancer chemoprevention at low doses in drinking water. This effect probably relies on the antioxidant capacity of beets (18). Betanin may play a role in suppressing the development and growth of human prostate and breast cancer cell lines (19), as well as colorectal cancer cell lines (20).

Radishes have also been found to have anticancer activities, mainly due to the antioxidants contained within cruciferous vegetables, namely glucosinolates. The extract of Spanish black radishes has been demonstrated to have an inhibitory effect on human liver cancer cell lines (21). Different parts of several varieties of radishes have also exhibited anticancer properties against colon, breast, cervical, lung, and prostate cancer cell lines (22).

Downsides and Risks

Risk of beetroot

Intake of high levels of nitrates has been shown to cause an increased risk of several types of cancer. Meaning, paradoxically, an overuse of beets or beetroot juice may potentially increase the risk of developing certain cancers. However, there are not enough studies to conclude this as a certainty (23).

Risk of radish

Some studies have found that prolonged consumption of radish, as well as other cruciferous vegetables, may lead to the development of a relative state of morphological and biochemical hypothyroidism, even in the presence of iodine (24).

References

  1. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/a20706898/growing-beets/
  2. https://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/vegetable/files/2011/10/radish.pdf
  3. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/114/5/1625/6320814
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622774/
  5. https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/492828
  6. https://teethfirst.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Approximate_pH.pdf
  7. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1152/ajpregu.00017.2018
  8. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0150913
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6769408/
  10. https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-11-106
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24125415/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4935262/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947971/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16448395/
  15. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/12/6/1872/pdf
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4153083/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622774/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6515411/
  19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21434853/
  20. https://assets.researchsquare.com/files/rs-90862/v1/9a4ba0c8-2759-4e3f-b8a0-ec096a4bf63b.pdf
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17616135/
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6412475/
  23. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10408398.2020.1746629
  24. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/6863084
Article author photo Victoria Mazmanyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: January 01, 1970

Infographic

Beetroot vs Radish infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Beetroot Radish
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Beetroot Radish Opinion
Net carbs 6.76g 1.8g Beetroot
Protein 1.61g 0.68g Beetroot
Fats 0.17g 0.1g Beetroot
Carbs 9.56g 3.4g Beetroot
Calories 43kcal 16kcal Beetroot
Starch g 0g Radish
Fructose g 0.71g Radish
Sugar 6.76g 1.86g Radish
Fiber 2.8g 1.6g Beetroot
Calcium 16mg 25mg Radish
Iron 0.8mg 0.34mg Beetroot
Magnesium 23mg 10mg Beetroot
Phosphorus 40mg 20mg Beetroot
Potassium 325mg 233mg Beetroot
Sodium 78mg 39mg Radish
Zinc 0.35mg 0.28mg Beetroot
Copper 0.075mg 0.05mg Beetroot
Vitamin A 33IU 7IU Beetroot
Vitamin E 0.04mg 0mg Beetroot
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 4.9mg 14.8mg Radish
Vitamin B1 0.031mg 0.012mg Beetroot
Vitamin B2 0.04mg 0.039mg Beetroot
Vitamin B3 0.334mg 0.254mg Beetroot
Vitamin B5 0.155mg 0.165mg Radish
Vitamin B6 0.067mg 0.071mg Radish
Folate 109µg 25µg Beetroot
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 0.2µg 1.3µg Radish
Tryptophan 0.019mg 0.009mg Beetroot
Threonine 0.047mg 0.023mg Beetroot
Isoleucine 0.048mg 0.02mg Beetroot
Leucine 0.068mg 0.031mg Beetroot
Lysine 0.058mg 0.033mg Beetroot
Methionine 0.018mg 0.01mg Beetroot
Phenylalanine 0.046mg 0.036mg Beetroot
Valine 0.056mg 0.035mg Beetroot
Histidine 0.021mg 0.013mg Beetroot
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.027g 0.032g Beetroot
Monounsaturated Fat 0.032g 0.017g Beetroot
Polyunsaturated fat 0.06g 0.048g Beetroot

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Beetroot Radish
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
12
Beetroot
10
Radish
Mineral Summary Score
18
Beetroot
11
Radish

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
10%
Beetroot
4%
Radish
Carbohydrates
10%
Beetroot
3%
Radish
Fats
1%
Beetroot
0%
Radish

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Radish
Radish is lower in Sugar (difference - 4.9g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Radish
Radish contains less Sodium (difference - 39mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Radish
Radish is lower in glycemic index (difference - 32)
Which food is cheaper?
Radish
Radish is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Beetroot
Beetroot is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.005g)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Beetroot
Beetroot is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Beetroot - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169145/nutrients
  2. Radish - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169276/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.