“Grandfather planted a turnip. And the big turnip turned up big ”- this is how the famous folk tale begins, familiar to everyone from childhood. Indeed, earlier in every garden or garden it was possible to find turnips, because people have long known that this is a very healthy root crop! Known for its many health-improving properties, turnip is a worthy product to become part of the weekly menu in your healthy diet.
Turnip is a versatile vegetable, aromatic, tasty and full of many essential nutrients that the body needs. Turnip has some pretty impressive health benefits, ranging from what contributes to weight loss and even to cancer prevention.
Turnips, like any vegetable, can be prepared in a variety of ways: cook soups with it, make sandwiches, add to salads, stew and cook or bake. But nevertheless, our article is about how exactly turnip is useful for health. Therefore, from this material you will learn what constitutes turnip, health benefits and harm.
What is a turnip?
Turnip has the scientific name Brassica rapa var. Turnip is a type of root crop grown in temperate climates around the world. Usually turnip has a white peel, sometimes with a purple or red tint, as well as white flesh. Greens grow above the fruit, which can also be eaten instead of other leafy vegetables, such as spinach or cabbage.
Turnips can be eaten raw, pickled, boiled, fried, grilled or stewed. The taste of turnip is soft, but bitter. Often in recipes, turnips are also used as potatoes .
Turnip contains few calories, but a lot of fiber and a large number of other important trace elements. The benefits of turnips include improved immunity, heart health, getting rid of excess weight, and well-functioning intestines. According to some studies, turnips also contain anti-cancer compounds and are even associated with a reduced risk of cancer.
Nutrition value of turnip and its nutritional properties
Turnip is a nutritious and dense food, which means that it has a low amount of calories, but contains a lot of dietary fiber and trace elements such as vitamin C and potassium.
One cup of cooked turnip (about 150 grams) contains approximately:
Calories : 34.3 kcal
Carbohydrates : 7.9 gr.
Protein : 1.1 gr.
Fat : 0.1 gr.
Fiber : 3.1 gr.
Vitamin C : 18.1 mg (30%)
Potassium : 276 mg (8%)
Manganese : 0.1 mg (6%)
Vitamin B6 : 0.1 mg (5%)
Calcium : 51.5 mg (5%)
Folic acid : 14 mcg (4%)
Magnesium : 14 mg (4%)
Phosphorus : 40.6 mg (4%)
Iron : 0.3 mg (2%)
Riboflavin : 0.5 mg (2%)
Pantothenic acid : 0.2 mg (2%)
In addition to the nutrients listed above, turnips also contain small amounts of other trace elements, including thiamine and zinc.
Health benefits of turnips
Scientists have discovered and proved that the use of turnips: enhances immune function, promotes good bowel function, fights cancer cells, strengthens heart health, helps to lose weight. Let’s consider each of these useful properties in more detail.
1. Boosts immune function
Turnip is an excellent source of vitamin C. Only one cup (150 gr.) Of cooked turnip contains 30% of the daily norm of this vitamin. Increasing your intake of vitamin C, an important water-soluble vitamin, is key to improving your immune health. According to a review from Switzerland, getting enough vitamin C with food can help reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of infections like the common cold. Vitamin C can also prevent and improve outcomes for other conditions such as malaria, pneumonia, and diarrhea.
To really boost your immunity, eat not only turnips, but also other foods rich in vitamin C (citrus fruits, berries, and herbs). Some of the best sources of vitamin C food include guava, black currant , red bell pepper, and kiwi.
2. Promotes regular bowel function
One small plate of turnip contains 3.1 grams of fiber, which is enough to make your intestines work perfectly. As it passes through the digestive tract, dietary fiber adds mass to the forming stool in order to empty the intestines in time and not provoke constipation. In a review published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology , the results of five studies were collected and it was actually found that dietary fiber is able to effectively increase stool frequency in people with constipation ( 1 ).
Although turnips can definitely supply some of the fiber you need every day, it is best to combine this vegetable with other high fiber foods. Berries, figs, artichokes, avocados and rhubarb are just a few examples of some other fiber-rich fruits and vegetables that you can use to keep your intestines healthy.
3. Helps fight cancer
From a botanical point of view, turnips are considered cruciferous vegetables, which means that other superfoods of this family, such as white cabbage , broccoli , cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, are also “relatives” of turnips. In addition to the high content of fiber, vitamins and minerals, all cruciferous vegetables contain important compounds that have an antitumor effect – these are glucosinolates and indole-3-carbinol.
Studies show that increasing consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as turnips, can have a powerful effect when it comes to cancer prevention. For example, one review, consisting of 31 studies, showed that those who consume the largest amount of cruciferous vegetables have a 23% lower risk of developing lung cancer than those who have the lowest consumption of vegetables in this group ( 2 ) . Other studies show that eating more cruciferous vegetables can also protect against colorectal cancer, breast and stomach cancer ( 3 , 4 ).
4. Strengthens heart health
The health benefits of turnips are also manifested in the fact that it is very beneficial for the heart. Due to its fiber and antioxidant content, turnip is an excellent product for people who want to keep their heart strong and healthy. A massive study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition involving nearly 135,000 adults found that higher levels of consumption of vegetables – and especially cruciferous vegetables such as turnips – are associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease ( 5 ). Other studies have shown that increasing fiber intake can also lower the levels of total and “bad” LDL cholesterol, two major risk factors for heart disease ( 6 ).
To further reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, add turnips to your balanced diet and start practicing some healthy habits every day, for example, exercise regularly, do not smoke or worry about nothing!
5. Turnip helps to lose weight
Few people know about the benefits of turnips for weight loss. However, the fact that 150 grams of turnip contains only 34 calories and a lot of fiber makes turnip the right product for you if you want to lose weight. Dietary fibers move slowly through the digestive tract, slowing down the emptying of the stomach to increase satiety and not provoke a feeling of hunger for a long time. In 2009, a study examined 252 women for 20 months and found that eating 1 gram of fiber each helped to lose 500 grams of body weight from body fat ( 7 ). Another study published in 2015 showed that each daily serving of cruciferous vegetables was associated with 600 grams of weight loss over four years ( 8 ).
In combination with proper nutrition and regular exercise, adding a serving or two turnips to your diet can lead to weight loss. If you want to maximize the benefits of losing weight by eating turnips, then add a few more fat-burning foods to it, for example: apple cider vinegar, chia seeds, coconut milk and butter.
The use of turnips in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine
The healing properties of turnips have been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine.
Turnip comes with an Ayurvedic diet that emphasizes the consumption of large amounts of fruits and vegetables, as well as seasonal nutrition. Turnip in Ayurveda is a nutritious winter vegetable that can help cleanse and can be especially useful for those who have kapha dosha.
In traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand, turnips are well known for their ability to promote proper digestion. They are most often used to facilitate blood coagulation, stimulate bowel movement and remove sputum from the body.
Where to find and how to cook turnips
Due to its growing popularity, turnips are widely available in most grocery stores and farmer’s markets. Check in the vegetable department next to other root vegetables such as potatoes or radishes , and look for turnips that are small in size, hard and without spots. You can also find on sale turnips that still have their green tops, which can also be used as green leafy vegetables.
You can use turnips in almost any recipe instead of potatoes. Try mashed turnips or bake, cook or steam for a tasty and nutritious side dish. You can even enjoy raw turnips. Turnip will also complement soup, roast and stew.
If your turnip still has bright greens attached to the top of the root, you can save it and use it in a salad instead of cabbage and spinach. Boil or fry them a little, add a spoonful of olive oil and seasoning to really get a rich aroma of herbs.
Some historical facts about turnips
It is believed that turnip has been cultivated since the 15th century in India, where it was originally grown for the consumption of its seeds. Despite some uncertainty about the origin of turnips due to the lack of archaeological evidence, it is assumed that turnips were also widely grown during the Roman Empire.
Today, turnips are used all over the world in a variety of dishes. In Turkey, turnips are used in a popular vegetable drink called şalgam, while in Italy the usual side dish is made using chopped turnips marinated in grape juice. Turnip is also often found in many other cuisines around the world, including dishes from India, Pakistan and Japan.
Besides culinary use, turnips also play a role in some traditions. For example, during Halloween celebrations in Scotland and Ireland, turnip lights are cut and used with candles. During Samhayn, the Gaelic festival, at the end of the harvest season (April 30), faces are cut out on large turnips and placed in windows to scare away evil spirits.
Possible Turnip Health Damage, Side Effects and Contraindications
In rare cases, some people may be allergic to turnips. If you experience symptoms of a food allergy, such as a rash, itching, or swelling after consuming a turnip, stop using it immediately and consult a doctor.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as turnips, are also considered goitrogenic, which means they can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones. Although you will probably need to eat a huge amount of raw turnips or other cruciferous vegetables to experience hypothyroidism. But those who have thyroid disease should not “lean” on turnips. Eat one or two servings of turnip per day and eat it cooked rather than raw to minimize potential health hazards.
Finally, it is worth noting that a sudden increase in fiber intake can cause flatulence for some people. It is better to increase your intake of foods high in fiber, such as turnips, slowly, drink plenty of water and think about reducing your intake if you begin to experience any adverse side effects.
So, we examined what turnip is, its benefits and harms to human health. Summarize:
- Turnip is a root vegetable that can be prepared and consumed in various ways.
- Turnip is a low-calorie vegetable that contains a lot of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and manganese.
- Health benefits of turnips include: improving immunity, improving bowel function, losing weight and improving heart health. Turnips may also contain anti-cancer compounds that can help protect against several types of cancer.
- In Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, turnip is used to stimulate digestion, stimulate bowel movement and help cleanse.
You can confidently include turnips, as well as