What is Rhubarb?
Rhubarb is a vegetable (it’s related to sorrel and dock) but its thick, fleshy stalks are treated as a fruit, despite their tart flavour.
The actual vegetable/fruit is part of the leaf, the petiole, of the rhubarb plant, which is the stem-like part, and it contains lots of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that provide some great health benefits, particularly for your bones.
Rhubarb grows in two crops. The first, which arrives early in the year, is forced, grown under pots, particularly in what’s known as the ‘rhubarb triangle’ around Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford. Its stalks are watermelon pink, with pale lime green leaves,
and it is the more tender and delicately flavoured of the two.
Health Benefits of Rhubarb
Support a healthy immune system: Rhubarb is one of the best sources of vitamin C that helps to boost immune system. During the spring season the immune system tends to be weaker so including some Vitamin C rich foods in your daily diet is a must. Moreover, vitamin C is a key nutrient in collagen production. This means, eating rhubarb may help you prevent premature aging and look and feel younger… longer.
Relieves Constipation and Diarrhea: Rhubarb is often referred to for its purgative properties, which are used to provide ease with bowel movements. It’s been known to help reduce strain during bowel movements and, in turn, can help ease the pain of hemorrhoids or tears in the skin lining of the anal canal, known as anal fissures.
As an herbal medicine, it can also help treat gastrointestinal discomfort that comes from constipation and diarrhea. This can be done through eating rhubarb, but it’s typically done through medicinal methods, such as tinctures, extracts and powders made from the roots and stalks of the plant. It’s crucial that you review these methods with your doctor since overconsumption can aggravate any ailment
Blood Circulation: The trace amounts of copper and iron found in rhubarb are enough to stimulate the production of new red blood cells, increasing the total RBC count in the body and increasing oxygenation of essential areas of the body, thereby improving their function and boosting the overall metabolism of the body.
Good for your bones and teeth: Due to its high calcium content, rhubarb helps to keep your bones and teeth strong and healthy all year round. Eating it regularly prevents tooth loss and the softening of bones. Calcium deficiency is a common problem these days so it’s very important that you incorporate more calcium-rich foods into your eating plan.
Uses of Rhubarb
Rhubarb is best remembered for its delicious pies.
Its crispy, juicy stalks can be used in the preparations of sauces, preserve, jellies, jams, syrups, sorbet, juice…etc.
It can also be used in the preparations of tarts, puddings, crumbs, pancakes, muffins, strudel,..etc.
Nutritional value of Rhubarb
Rhubarb is high in vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, manganese, and many other essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs to function at the highest level. Rhubarb also contains powerful antioxidants such as anthocyanin and lycopene, which are good for your overall health. As an added bonus, rhubarb is low in fat and calories, which makes it a great diet-friendly food.
Rhubarb is an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is important to help support a healthy immune system. It is high in dietary fiber which helps to maintain regularity within the digestive system, and is a good source of calcium which is essential for strong bones and teeth. Rhubarb is low in sodium and saturated fat which makes it a very good food to help prevent heart related diseases. It is also high in Vitamin K, which is thought to help prevent diabetes.