Are Turnips Good For You? Turnips aren’t the most popular vegetable out there, but they’re making a comeback – mostly because of their use in healthy and delicious paleo recipes. While these veggies are high in fiber and protein, some people still wonder if turnips are good for you or not. Here’s what you need to know about eating turnips, including how many calories they have, how to cook them, and if they can be bad for your health when eaten regularly…’
History of turnips:
Turnip resembles potato and beetroot; however, it is a member of the family Brassicaceae, commonly known as the mustard family.
The mustard family has members like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale in it as well. Turnips have been known for about 4000 years. They originated in Eastern and Middle Asia and later widely spread worldwide. Now, these are widely cultivated and eaten in temperate zones of the world.
Turnips are usually two-tone colors, the creamy-white bottom with a purple top. However, they can come in other colors and sizes too. The most common ones are white, green, pinkish purple, and heirloom amber.
Commonly grown turnip varieties include:
- Scarlet Queen Turnips
- Baby Bunch Turnips
- Purple White Globe Turnips
- Gold Ball Turnip
- White Lady Turnip
- Tokyo Cross Turnip
- White Egg Turnip
- Royal Crown Turnip
- Orange Jelly Turnip
- Top Star Turnip
What do turnips taste like?
You will find slight spiciness in young fresh turnips, a taste somewhere between potato and radish. However, the older mature ones sometimes have a mustard taste. To make them palatable, spice them up with a strong flavor like ginger when cooking.
Are you wondering about the nutritional benefits of turnips? You will be shocked to know that turnips are rich in fiber and vitamins. Not only this, but this veggie is also loaded with minerals like Iron, Calcium, Potassium, Copper, and Manganese.
Turnips are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids and proteins. The best thing is turnips are low in calories as they are mainly fiber and water.
Why are Turnips Good for You?
Regular consumption of turnips has undeniable positive effects on human health. Some of its top benefits includes:
1. Improves vision
Turnips contain dietary antioxidants that improve vision health. These antioxidants help protect the eye from free radical damage, which can lead to age-related vision problems such as macular degeneration. One study found that people who ate turnip greens had a 29% reduced risk of developing macular degeneration compared to those who didn’t eat them. Additionally, turnips contain vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy eyesight.
Another study found that seniors who ate a cooked turnip every day for six months had an increase in visual acuity compared to those who didn’t eat turnips. This was attributed to the high carotenoid levels in turnips.
2. Fights inflammation
If you’re looking for a way to reduce inflammation in your body, adding turnips to your diet may be a good option. Turnips contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds like sulforaphane and glucosinolates. These compounds can help decrease the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body. Turnips are also rich in antioxidant vitamins like vitamin A and C, which besides fighting free radicals can help fight inflammation in the body.
3. Promotes skin health
Skin is the external protective covering of the body. It helps keep us cool in summer and warm in winter and protects us from harmful UV radiation. One way to ensure healthy skin is to include turnips in your diet.
Turnips are a great source of vitamin C, which is essential for skin health. Vitamin C helps keep the skin barrier healthy and protects against oxidation. Additionally, turnips contain folate, which is important for helping to form healthy red blood cells. These nutrients work together to promote healthy and young-looking skin.
4. Boosts cancer prevention abilities
Turnips are a vegetable that many people might not think to include in their diet when it comes to fighting cancer. However, research has shown that turnips have many properties that can help fight the disease.
They contain natural chemicals that may inhibit tumor growth or promote the development of cancer-fighting cells.
They also contain antioxidants that can protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
Additionally, turnips can help reduce the risk of cancer by limiting the number of carcinogens in the body, and by supporting the immune system. Turnips are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
5. They can lower cholesterol
Cholesterol is a type of lipoprotein that is found in the blood. It is a key component of cell membranes and helps carry fatty acids and other substances around the body.
There are two different types of cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein) and HDL (high-density lipoprotein). LDL helps transport cholesterol from the liver to other parts of the body; however, high levels of LDL can cause health problems, including increasing your risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
Turnips are a good source of potassium and vitamin C, both of which have been shown to help lower cholesterol levels. Turnips also contain natural compounds that may help block the activity of LDL cholesterol in the body. For instance, it contains a compound called alliin, which has been shown to lower cholesterol levels by blocking the absorption of bad cholesterol from the intestines.
6. Promotes bone health
Bone health is the status of bones in a person’s body. It can be determined by measuring the levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood. A healthy bone has enough calcium and phosphorus to maintain its shape and function.
Turnips are a vegetable high in vitamin C, which is important for bone health. Turnips also contain minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc which helps to keep your bones strong and healthy.
7. Promotes a healthy digestive system
Turnips are a great source of fiber and vitamins, and they promote a healthy digestive system. As the foundation of traditional diets, turnips play an important role in keeping your gut healthy. In addition to promoting regularity, turnips have been shown to improve digestion and reduce the risk of colorectal cancer.
According to Columbia University, low-fiber diets have been shown to be linked with an increased risk for colon cancer, whereas higher levels of fiber consumption have been associated with lower incidences of colon cancer and other forms of gastrointestinal disease.
Fiber helps keep you regular by adding bulk to your stool and helping it pass more quickly through your intestines. Fiber has also been shown to help feed good gut bacteria, which increases their population and further enhances digestive health.
8. Lowers blood sugar levels and controls diabetes
Turnips can be beneficial in controlling blood sugar levels. They are high in fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates and helping control appetite.
Fiber has also been shown to improve blood sugar control in those who are diabetic or prediabetic by slowing down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream after a meal. This helps stabilize blood sugar levels and reduces insulin spikes in response to food intake.
Additionally, turnips are a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A. All of these nutrients play a role in controlling blood sugar levels.
9. Turnips can lower blood pressure
According to a study published in “The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,” people who ate turnips had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t eat them. The study participants who ate turnips had an average decrease of 3.5 mmHg in their systolic blood pressure and 2.6 mmHg in their diastolic blood pressure.
Furthermore, turnips contain potassium, which helps control blood pressure by helping regulate the amount of fluid that is excreted by the kidneys. Additionally, turnips are a good source of magnesium, which has been linked with a decrease in blood pressure.
When are turnips in season?
You can find this fresh vegetable throughout the year. However, if you are looking for the best yield, wait for fall because it is the time when turnips are freshly matured. You can still find these in spring and spring turnips are usually sweet and petite.
The mature larger ones have tough skin and a strong flavor; you can use them for soups and stews. Moreover, turnips are readily available, inexpensive, and handy.
How to cook turnips?
You don’t necessarily need to always cook them before you eat. Turnips can be consumed raw. If you think of making something delicious from turnips, there are several ways: you can add these to your salads to give them an extra tangy and crisp flavor.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Cut turnips into thin slices and spread on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme (if desired). Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until tender.
Make Turnip Soup
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Stir in sliced turnips and salt to taste. Cook until the turnips are soft.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Sauté until the vegetables are tender. Stir in sliced turnips and salt to taste. Add water or vegetable stock as needed to cover the turnips. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Make Turnip Curry
To make it, first cut the turnips into small pieces. Then, heat some oil in a pan and add the pieces. Cook them until they are soft. Next, add the Curry Powder and spices to the pan and cook for a few minutes more. Finally, serve it hot with rice or chapati.
Still, can’t find any good ideas or recipes that you can try with turnips? Here is an idea! Think of potatoes, and try all those recipes for them A bonus tip is if you boil both potato and turnip together, the bitterness of turnip goes away.
What to look for when buying turnips?
If you are going to buy groceries and thinking of buying turnips, what should you look for while buying the turnips? The standard rule is to go for healthy, crispy, and blemish-free veggies.
If you find them loose or rubbery by holding them in your hands, they are not of good quality. The tops of young spring turnips should be fresh, green, and bright. Conversely, the tops of mature fall turnips can be woody and bitter.
Always search for bright-colored tubers with healthy bulbs. Tiny baby turnips are primarily white, just like spring radish. The freshly harvested ones are the best. You can find them in most supermarkets and most food stores.
When to plant turnips?
If you plan for the late spring harvest, you should sow the seeds about 14-21 days before last spring frost. You can also sow the seeds in late spring or early autumn for the autumn harvest.
How to plant turnips?
If you are thinking of planting turnips in your kitchen garden, here is a quick guide for you to follow:
- The best time to plant turnips is early spring when the soil is still cool.
- To plant turnips, choose a sunny spot in your garden with well-drained soil and prepare the ground by turning over the topsoil and removing any rocks or roots before planting.
- Mix some organic fertilizer into the soil to increase fertility
- Plant turnips 2-3 inches deep and space them 2 feet apart. Thin them to 12 inches apart once they reach 6 inches in diameter.
- Fertilize your turnips with a balanced compost or manure mixture twice during the growing season (in early spring and late fall). Be sure to water them well after applying fertilizer.
- Be on the lookout for aphids, whiteflies, and other pests. Use organic pesticides sparingly if needed.
- Once they have grown to 6 inches in diameter, you can harvest them and store them in a cool area for up to 3 weeks.
How to Store Turnips?
When you get fresh turnips home, remove their green leaves as soon as possible. If you keep them as they are, they will take nutrition from the root of the Turnip. You don’t necessarily need to waste these green leaves, as the leaves can separately be used in cooking if you want.
Wash them out to clean the turnips and store them by wrapping them in a plastic bag. Make sure to provide a dark, dry but cool environment for storage purposes, and they will stay fresh for a long time. You can keep them in the fridge or even at the kitchen seller.
Other root vegetables:
- Ratalu (Ube)
- Sweet Potato
- Celery Root
- Malanga Coco
- Watermelon Radish
- Yellow Yam
- Fennel Bulbs
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