Last updated November 26, 2017 by Lisa Richards, CNC

Radish: A Natural Antifungal


Beating a Candida overgrowth is about much more than simply taking supplements – you need to choose the right diet too. Antifungal foods can play an important role in fighting off fungal pathogens like Candida, and I’ve created a list of the best anti-Candida foods that you can use just for this purpose.

Foods like garlic, rutabaga and coconut oil are natural antifungals that you probably already know. But today I’m going to add another antifungal food to the list. Delicious in salads or stir-fries, this crunchy root vegetable packs a powerful punch when it comes to fighting off fungal pathogens. I’m talking, of course, about the humble radish.

Radish As An Antifungal

There has been an increasing amount of research into radish as an antifungal, particularly over the last 10 years or so. This is a result of the deepening crisis in emergency wards, where fungal pathogens like Candida can have life-threatening implications for those with depleted immune systems. The universe of antifungal drugs is much smaller than that of antibiotics, so researchers are constantly looking for promising new antifungal compounds.

Some of this research has focused on a plant defensin known as RsAFP2, which is found in radishes. Defensins are simply proteins found in animals and plants that have antimicrobial qualities. Plants are regularly threatened by fungal pathogens, just like we are, and the antifungals that they use to protect themselves often work for us too.

So what exactly does this antifungal protein do when it meets a fungus like Candida? According to a Belgian research team in 2009, “antifungal protein 2 (RsAFP2) from radish induces apoptosis [cell death] … in the human pathogen Candida Albicans.” Another research team in 2012 discovered the reason for this – RsAFP2 interacts with the Candida Albicans cell wall, damaging it and effectively destroying the cell.

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It has also been shown that this particular antifungal protein acts to prevent Candida’s transition from its yeast form to its more virulent fungal form. This is a very useful property, and one of the reasons that Candida albicans is just a difficult opponent. When Candida morphs into its fungal form it grows hyphae which enable it to spread along your digestive tract much more rapidly. Any compound that prevents it from doing so will help to slow down the spread of a Candida overgrowth.

Separately, researchers have also managed to identify two different antifungal proteins in radish seeds. The seeds need these antifungals to protect themselves during the time before germination, and during the early part of their growth when they are particularly vulnerable to microbial infection. Research is continuing on both the antifungal protein RsAFP2 and those antifungals found in the radish seeds. Here are a few of the most recent studies:

Using Radish In Your Recipes

Radish is a surprisingly versatile vegetable. You can steam it, roast it, pan-fry it and eat it raw, so there are still plenty of ways to add it to your diet. Here are just a few for you to try:

  • A zesty spring salad with sliced radish, egg, lettuce and a citrus dressing made from olive oil and lemon juice. Here’s a Spring salad with a delicious mustard dressing
  • Use raw radish slices as crudités to munch on your favorite dips.
  • A no-sugar Candida-safe coleslaw
  • Sautéed radish with chives, a delicious side dish to enjoy at dinner.
  • A tasty dip made from radish, plain yogurt, salt, pepper and dill.
  • Juiced radish is a great addition to your green juices. Trying combining it with juiced vegetables like kale, cucumber, zucchini and celery.

For more recipe ideas and tips on antifungal foods, check out the Ultimate Candida Diet program that I created with Dr. Eric Wood.

Filed under: Antifungals, Diet Tips
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  1. Eva Lonborg says:

    Do you have recipes on fried radish or boiled radish or baked radish?

    1. Hi Eva, not right now but I will try to work on some!

  2. Denise says:

    Does white radish (daikon) have properties similar to the red radish?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Denise, the daikon radish is actually just a variety of the same Raphanus sativus plant (that’s the biological name for radish). Daikon radish is also known as winter radish, or oriental radish. The antifungal research has been conducted on the regular spring radish that is usually grown in the US, however they are biologically very similar so I imagine that the daikon would have just the same antifungal properties!

  3. Kathy says:

    Thanks for this info! Do you know if Daikon radishes are antifungal as well?

    1. See my answer to Denise!

  4. Vivian says:

    Hello Lisa, do you have this book in Spanish language. I would like my relatives in South America can read this wonderful book.

    1. Hi Vivian, I’m sorry but it’s only published in English right now. I do have plans to create a Spanish language version at some point but unfortunately it won’t be within the next 6 months.

  5. June McCathie says:

    Via endoscope I was diagnosed with intestinal Candida over three years ago and since then have regularly have mild to severe attacks. Every 3-4 months I have to take Fluconazole to keep it under control. I have purchased your book and my plan for 2014 is to prevent future attacks if possible. Are there any tests (blood or swab) that can detect the growth of Candida prior to becoming systematic or measure the severity of the attack?

  6. Flora says:

    Hello Lisa,
    I started your diet in June 2013. I was almost crying when I took the decision as I felt this was the end of my “normal healthy” life (I am vegetarian). It was hard to say goodby to fruits, pizza, wine and other things. But I had been suffering from candida in my vagina for years and that was destroying my sex life. Your diet was my last attempt before a long Fluconazole cure.
    Well after almost 2 months, I didn’t had any severe attacks. Now, more than 6 months later, I am still doing good! I still take some of the supplements you advise. And I still haven’t been eating a pizza for 6 months. I am afraid of having a comeback, and every time I’m in front of a cake, I always remind myself that I have chosen sex instead of food!!
    I also use “bacterie tubes” to put in the vagina and Carnosin patch for Lifewave, in my underpants. It does the rest of the treatment when I can feel unbalance.
    Thanks for the support and good recipes.

  7. June says:

    Just a note here. And do NOT rule out rectal itching. It is also a source of Candida!! Not your laundry detergent or lazy hygiene. I had to go to 2 doctors. Firts my primary giver and then passed the rest to a protologist. He didn’t “see” anything wrong. I, with some research discovered it myself!! Itching gone!

    Just thought someone will find this useful.

    1. Jess Johnston says:

      Did the radishes rid you of the Candida itching by any chance?

  8. DixieRaeSparx says:

    I have a large garden, & I’m currently inundated with radishes. I’m not sure if the radish greens have the same properties as the root (I would presume so). But if anyone is in my boat of abundance of radish greens, they can be sautéed like other greens (mixed with something mild, like chard, if you please), and I made a lovely pesto too.

    1. Meg says:

      ooo sounds so yum! ya the leaves of radishes are highly nutritious

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