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Turnip vs Radish - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on July 09, 2021
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Turnip
vs
Radish

Summary

Turnips are richer in copper, vitamin C, and most B complex vitamins. On the other hand, radishes have a lower glycemic index, lower calories, and are cheaper. Radishes are also richer in folate compared to turnips. Turnips have a wider range of multisystem health benefits.

Introduction

History and origins

Turnips and radishes belong to the family of root vegetables, which means that the edible part is the root of the vegetable grown under the soil. It is important to note that the green leaves are also edible.

Turnip and radish originate from middle and east Asia.

Turnip cultivation and domestication date back to the 7th century BC in the Greek regions. On the other hand, radish cultivation dates back to the 3rd century BC in the southeastern parts of Asia.

Turnips were introduced to Europe and mostly England in the 18th century.

Radishes, on the other hand, were important in the agricultural development of northern America. They were one of the earliest crops ever brought to America in the 16th century.

It is important to note that large turnips are also called swedes or rutabagas.

Differences and Similarities in Appearance and Taste

Turnips and radishes come in different colors and sizes. In this article, we will consider medium-sized turnips that have a white and purple color and small-sized red colored radishes.

Raw turnips have a spicy and mustardy flavor; however, they give a sweet and earthy flavo when cookedr. On the other hand, radish has a zesty and spicy flavor similar to turnips; when cooked, they give a sweet earthy flavor.

Seasonal availability

Turnips are mostly cultivated in temperate climate regions. The harvest takes place during summer.

Radishes, on the other hand, are available throughout the year. There are spring, summer, and winter radishes.

Recipes

Turnips can be consumed in various ways, such as raw ones added to salads to increase flavor and texture.

Turnips can also be boiled, roasted, and mashed. It can also be used to prepare coleslaw preparation instead of cabbage.

A famous middle-eastern pickle is the turnip pickle which is usually done with beetroot and vinegar.

Radishes, similar to turnips, can be consumed similarly. The difference in radishes is that they have a less mustardy flavor. Thus, they are mostly consumed raw or pickled compared to turnips.

Price

Radish is cheaper than a turnip, but the price difference is not very high. They are nearly similar compared to each other.

In this article, we will be comparing the differences between turnips and radishes based on their nutritional data, health impact, and downsides.

Nutritional data comparison

Calories

Radishes are lower in calories compared to turnips. 100g of radish contains 16 calories compared to turnips which contain 28 calories. It is important to note that both are classified as low-calorie foods.

Glycemic index

Turnips are classified as high glycemic index foods. The glycemic index of turnips is 73. On the other hand, radishes are classified as low glycemic index foods. The glycemic index of radish is 32. Radish has a lower glycemic index compared to turnip.

Carbs

Turnips contain more carbs than radish. Turnips contain two times more carbs compared to radish.

Fiber

Turnips and radishes have similar amounts of fiber.

Fat and protein

Turnips and radishes have negligible amounts of fats and proteins.

Vitamins

Turnips are richer in vitamin C by 42% compared to radishes. In addition to that, turnips are richer in vitamin B6 and most other B complex vitamins.

On the other hand, radishes are richer in folate.

300g of turnips satisfy 70% of the daily requirement of vitamin C and 21% of vitamin B6. In comparison, 300g of radishes satisfy 50% of the daily requirement of vitamin C and 19% of folate requirements.

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
Turnip
6
:
4
Radish
Contains more Vitamin E +∞%
Contains more Vitamin C +41.9%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +233.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +57.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +21.2%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +26.8%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +30%
Contains more Folate +66.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +1200%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 0% 1% 0% 70% 10% 7% 8% 12% 21% 12% 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 E +∞%
Contains more Vitamin C +41.9%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +233.3%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +57.5%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +21.2%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +26.8%
Contains more Vitamin A +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +30%
Contains more Folate +66.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +1200%

Minerals

Turnips are richer in copper compared to radishes. Turnips contain 70% more copper.

On the other hand, radishes are richer in iron and potassium. Radishes are also lower in sodium compared to turnips by 42%.

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
Turnip
4
:
4
Radish
Contains more Calcium +20%
Contains more Phosphorus +35%
Contains more Copper +70%
Contains more Iron +13.3%
Contains more Potassium +22%
Contains less Sodium -41.8%
Equal in Magnesium - 10
Equal in Zinc - 0.28
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 9% 12% 8% 12% 17% 9% 8% 29%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 8% 13% 8% 9% 21% 6% 8% 17%
Contains more Calcium +20%
Contains more Phosphorus +35%
Contains more Copper +70%
Contains more Iron +13.3%
Contains more Potassium +22%
Contains less Sodium -41.8%
Equal in Magnesium - 10
Equal in Zinc - 0.28

Bioactive compounds with pharmaceutical effects

Important chemicals present in turnips that have health importance are glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, phenylpropionitrile, brassica phenanthrene A, and flavonoid phenolics and arvelexin.

On the other hand, radish contains the following important compounds:

Flavonoids, phenols, polyphenols, pelargonidin, and isothiocyanates.

Health impacts

Cancer

Turnips have anti-carcinogenic and anti-tumor properties. The main components in turnips that provide these characteristics are glucosinolates, isothiocyanates. (1)

Radish has anti-carcinogenic properties. Radish metabolites like glucosinolates, isothiocyanates induce apoptosis and cancer cell death. This effect has been manifested in different cancers like liver cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and lung cancer. (2) (3)

Antioxidant

The flavonoids and phenolic compounds present in turnips have anti-oxidative characteristics. They are responsible for the scavenging effect of free radicals and reducing overall levels of oxidative stress. (4) (5)

On the other hand, radish also has anti-oxidative properties. Polyphenols provide high scavenging properties of free radicals, which in turn reduces oxidative stress. In addition to that, pyrogallol and vanillic acid present in radish have anti-oxidative properties. Radish anthocyanins have chemoprotective characteristics on overall stress-induced damages on normal body cells. (6)

Anti Inflammatory

Turnip has anti-inflammatory characteristics, which are due to the activity of arvelexin. (7)

Comparatively, radish contains anti-inflammatory compounds that have a bioactive effect similar to NSAIDs which suppress the activity of COX-2, a pro-inflammatory compound. It is important to note that these anti-inflammatory compounds are also present in radish leaves. (8)

Cardioprotective

In addition to their anti-inflammatory characteristics, arvelexin present in turnips has antihypertensive and hypolipidemic properties. The regulation of blood pressure and the decrease in blood lipid levels overall provide the cardioprotective role of turnips. (7)

Comparatively, radish is rich in nitrate, which has a cardioprotective property. In addition to that, it also protects vascular tissue and prevents platelet aggregation. Overall, these characteristics help maintain a healthy and normal cardiovascular homeostasis. (9)

Obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome

Ethanolic extracts present in turnips have anti-obesity properties. These compounds inhibit the accumulation of adipocytes; in addition to that, it stimulates lipolysis, which mobilizes the fat deposits in the body and metabolizes them. (10)

The ethanolic extracts in turnips also have anti-diabetic properties. It improves blood glucose levels and regulates glucagon and insulin ratios. These extracts regulate hepatic glucose regulating enzymes. Overall these extracts normalize blood glucose levels. It is important to note that a patient with type 2 diabetes cannot rely on these extracts to regulate blood glucose levels. Medications are necessary. (11)

Radish has anti-diabetic properties. It acts on the synthesis of adiponectin which is one of the factors in regulating lipids and glucose in the body. This is also responsible for fatty acid oxidation and mobilization from stored fatty acid deposits all over the body. (12) (13)

Analgesic properties

Alcoholic compounds present in turnips have analgesic properties when consumed in the correct dosage and time intervals. (14)

Antimicrobial properties

Turnip extract has antimicrobial properties against multiple pathogens like staphylococcus, bacillus, and vibrios. In addition to that, turnip extracts were tested against helicobacter pylori and have given beneficial results in treating helicobacter infections. (5)

Radish contains sulfur-containing compounds with antimicrobial characteristics on multiple pathogenic bacterial species, like E Coli and pseudomonas species. (15)

Cardiopulmonary enhancing properties

Consumption of turnips has been shown to improve hemoglobin levels in the blood, increasing overall oxygen levels. Consumption of turnips over seven days increased MCHC (mean hemoglobin concentration) in the blood. This can be used in hypoxic patients and people who live in high altitudes where the oxygen pressure is lower. (16)

Hepatoprotective properties

Flavonoids, anthocyanin, and sulfur-containing compounds have hepatoprotective roles. Turnip extracts reduce the level of liver enzymes and overall improve liver functioning and metabolism. (17)

On the other hand, radish bioactive compounds have protective properties towards liver tissues. The cytoprotective (cell protection) and antioxidant effects protect the liver. In addition to that, radish also decreases total cholesterol and triglycerides, which overall protects major organ systems, including the liver. (18) (19)

Nephroprotective properties

Turnip extract improves kidney functioning and filtration. In addition to that, kidney and overall urinary tract inflammation reduction. (20)

Diets and weight loss

Turnip and radish are low in carbs and rich in fibers. On a calorie deficit diet or overall healthy lifestyle, it is important to include both during daily meals to maintain a healthy digestive tract and add textural complexity to everyday meals.

Vegan

Radish and turnips can be eaten by people who are following vegan diets. They are also recommended to be consumed if that is not the case due to their overall health benefits and multiple usages.

Keto

Turnips are a good alternative replacement for potatoes in keto diets. Fried, boiled, mashed, roasted turnips are a low-carb alternative to potatoes. However, the mustardy flavor might be overpowering for people who don’t like mustardy flavors.

Although fried turnips can replace fried potatoes, it is important to mention that if someone wants to follow a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended to avoid eating fried foods, which means that fried turnips are not a healthy alternative to fried potatoes.

Radishes are also recommended to be consumed in the keto diet and can be a good alternative to potatoes. However, turnips are more versatile in cooking compared to radishes.

Downsides

Drug interaction

Turnips can interact with medications dedicated to high blood pressure by increasing their activity and causing severe hypotension. In moderation, turnips wouldn’t cause these overreactions. However, it is best to take advice from your doctor.

Radishes decrease blood sugar levels. If taken in high amounts in association with anti-diabetic drugs, it might cause hypoglycemia, which means it decreases sugar levels below the normal levels.

Allergies

It is important to take into consideration turnip allergies. If it’s the first time someone is consuming turnips, it is advised to consume it in lower amounts the first two times if that person is allergic to turnips.

Radish allergies also exist; however, it is rare.

General Highlights

Turnips can cause bloating and gas. It is best to boil, cook, or bake turnips before consuming them if bloating and gas cause discomfort.

Moderate consumption of radish doesn’t cause any discomfort. However, consuming radish in high amounts causes stomach irritation.

Radish consumption increases bile flow from the liver and gallbladder. In patients who suffer from gallstones, the flow might cause the stones to block the bile path and cause a painful gallbladder shock.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9751619/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17616135/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24510468/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10956123/
  5. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Amira-Beltagy/publication/287409006
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17935293/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21434881/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5383142/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5986475/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20132043/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17996336/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25685286/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16936205/
  14. https://hms.gmu.ac.ir/article-1-1713-en.html
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5066007/
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27856303/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17420605/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23434765/
  19. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/13987499/
  20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22069563/
Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: July 09, 2021

Infographic

Turnip 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.
Turnip Radish
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Turnip Radish Opinion
Net carbs 4.63g 1.8g Turnip
Protein 0.9g 0.68g Turnip
Fats 0.1g 0.1g
Carbs 6.43g 3.4g Turnip
Calories 28kcal 16kcal Turnip
Starch g 0g Radish
Fructose g 0.71g Radish
Sugar 3.8g 1.86g Radish
Fiber 1.8g 1.6g Turnip
Calcium 30mg 25mg Turnip
Iron 0.3mg 0.34mg Radish
Magnesium 11mg 10mg Turnip
Phosphorus 27mg 20mg Turnip
Potassium 191mg 233mg Radish
Sodium 67mg 39mg Radish
Zinc 0.27mg 0.28mg Radish
Copper 0.085mg 0.05mg Turnip
Vitamin A 0IU 7IU Radish
Vitamin E 0.03mg 0mg Turnip
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 21mg 14.8mg Turnip
Vitamin B1 0.04mg 0.012mg Turnip
Vitamin B2 0.03mg 0.039mg Radish
Vitamin B3 0.4mg 0.254mg Turnip
Vitamin B5 0.2mg 0.165mg Turnip
Vitamin B6 0.09mg 0.071mg Turnip
Folate 15µg 25µg Radish
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 0.1µg 1.3µg Radish
Tryptophan 0.009mg 0.009mg
Threonine 0.025mg 0.023mg Turnip
Isoleucine 0.036mg 0.02mg Turnip
Leucine 0.033mg 0.031mg Turnip
Lysine 0.036mg 0.033mg Turnip
Methionine 0.011mg 0.01mg Turnip
Phenylalanine 0.017mg 0.036mg Radish
Valine 0.03mg 0.035mg Radish
Histidine 0.014mg 0.013mg Turnip
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.011g 0.032g Turnip
Monounsaturated Fat 0.006g 0.017g Radish
Polyunsaturated fat 0.053g 0.048g Turnip

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Turnip Radish
Low Fats diet Equal
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
Turnip
10
Radish
Mineral Summary Score
13
Turnip
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
5%
Turnip
4%
Radish
Carbohydrates
6%
Turnip
3%
Radish
Fats
0%
Turnip
0%
Radish

Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Turnip
Turnip is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.021g)
Which food is cheaper?
Turnip
Turnip is cheaper (difference - $0.3)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Radish
Radish is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.94g)
Which food contains less Sodium?
Radish
Radish contains less Sodium (difference - 28mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Radish
Radish is lower in glycemic index (difference - 41)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
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.
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. Turnip - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170465/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.