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Turnip Health Benefits, Nutritional Value and Uses

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What is Turnip?

A turnip is a white-skinned root vegetable that has become globally popular both for human consumption and livestock feed. Scientifically known as Brassica rapa, turnips are commonly grown in temperate areas across the globe, and is cultivated for the nutritional value and taste of the root. Turnip greens are also consumed in some parts of the world as a cruciferous vegetable, and there is a slightly different nutrient profile between the leaves and the root. These leaves, however, are often bitter and must be boiled down to be palatable, much like mustard greens. The root part of the vegetable is commonly boiled or eaten raw, and has been known as an important part of the human diet for the better part of two thousand years. Countries from Brazil, England and Japan to Iran, the United States and Norway all have their own culinary takes on turnips, and have made them a mainstay in their cultural meals for centuries.

Health Benefits of Turnip

Cardiovascular Health: Turnips possess great anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of large amount of vitamin K. These help in preventing heart attacks, heart strokes and other heart ailments. Turnip greens aid in digestion by absorbing more amount of bile which uses up the cholesterol present in the body. This results in the reduction of cholesterol. Turnips are also excellent sources of folate, which further helps to boost up the cardiovascular system (3).

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Strengthens the Immune System: Turnip root plays an important role in the proper functioning of the body’s immune system. The beta-carotene content in turnips helps the body in producing healthy membranes.

Eye Health: Turnip greens are a rich source of lutein, a carotenoid that promotes eye health and prevents ocular diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Benefits of Antioxidants: Turnips are rich in antioxidants including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, manganese and beta-carotene. The roots are particularly rich in vitamin C whereas the leaf-greens are full of all these antioxidants. They also contain complex phytonutrients which stimulate antioxidant activity, thus increasing their ability to combat free radicals and preventing DNA damage to cells.

Bone Health: Turnips are an important source of calcium and potassium which are vital for healthy bone growth and maintenance. Regular consumption of turnip inhibits joint damage, risk of osteoporosis and the incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is also an excellent source of calcium, a mineral that supports the body’s production of connective tissues.

Lung Health: The carcinogens present in cigarette smoke cause vitamin A deficiency, resulting in lung inflammation, emphysema and other lung problems. The vitamin A contained in turnip greens helps in maintaining healthy lungs by counteracting this defect.

Aids in Digestion: The high fiber content in turnip greens supports the body’s digestive system. Research has proved that glucosinolates may also help the stomach process bacteria like Helicobacter pylori.

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Prevents Atherosclerosis: Too many free radicals in the body cause oxidation of bad cholesterol and clumping of platelets in our body, thus leading to atherosclerosis, a condition that damages the blood vessels. Vitamins E, C and beta carotene in turnip roots and greens are excellent antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Thus, regular consumption of turnips prevents the development and progression of this condition .

Treatment of Common Ailments: The curative power of turnips is beneficial in preventing several common illnesses such as lack of hunger and hemorrhoids. Regular consumption of turnip can even cure kidney stone if it is small enough.

Beneficial for Weight Loss: Turnips are low in calories and hence, can form part of an effective weight loss program. Their high fiber content on the other hand regulates metabolism, controls body weight and supports a healthy and active colon.

Cures Asthma: The anti-inflammatory properties of turnips can be attributed to their high content of vitamin C which is a powerful antioxidant. These properties are effective in curing asthma and curbing the symptoms of asthma. Studies have proved that giving turnips to asthmatic patients can lessen wheezing.

Prevents Body Odor: Body odor is a common problem, particularly in the summer months. Turnip juice is quite beneficial in getting rid of body odor. Drinking turnip juice is generally good for health and also helps to avoid body odor.

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Nutritional value of Turnip

  • Turnips are very low calorie root vegetables; carry just 28 calories per 100 g. Nonetheless, they are very good source of anti-oxidants, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber.
  • Fresh roots indeed one of the those vegetables that are rich in vitamin C. 100 grams of fresh root provides about 21 mg or 35% of DRA of vitamin C. Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant required by the human body for synthesis of collagen. It also helps the body scavenge harmful free radicals, prevention from cancers, inflammation, and helps boost immunity.
  • Turnip greens indeed are the storehouse of many vital nutrients. The green tops compose of many minerals and vitamins several times more than that in the roots. The greens are very good source of antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, carotenoid, xanthin, and lutein. Further, the leafy-tops are an excellent source of vitamin K.
  • In addition, its top greens are also a very good source of B-complex group of vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and thiamin and also an excellent source of important minerals like calcium, copper, iron, potassium, and manganese.