Small, young turnips called “baby turnips” are harvested early in the growing stage. They are delicate, sweet and best eaten raw in salads. Mature turnips have a more pronounced flavor with a firm and woody texture.
An integral part of a variety of cuisines across Europe, Asia, and Eastern America, turnips are closely related to nutritious vegetables like kale, collards, cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. No surprises then that they’d make a healthy addition to any diet. Here’s a reckoner of all the benefits you can reap by loading up on turnips.
1. May Lower Blood Pressure And Promote Cardiovascular Health
If you suffer from high blood pressure, don’t forget to grab some turnips on your next grocery trip. One study found that foods containing nitrates, like turnips, lower blood pressure, inhibit platelet aggregation, and preserve or improve endothelial dysfunction.1 Turnips also contain 124 mg of potassium (3.54% recommended daily intake) which has been shown to decrease blood pressure by releasing sodium out of the body and helping arteries dilate.2 3 That said, further research is needed to fully validate this benefit.
2. May Strengthen Bones
A cup of turnip offers 20 mg of calcium (2% recommended daily intake), which supports bone health and prevents diseases such as osteoporosis.4 5 In addition to this, the potassium in turnips may neutralize acids that remove calcium from the body. That said, since these are trace amounts of the said nutrients, adding more nutrient-rich foods to your diet is ideal.6 Studies have also found that glucosinates in turnips can strengthen the integrity of bones and play an important role in their formation.7 8
3. Aid Digestion And May Prevent Digestive Disorders
If you’ve got a weak stomach, add turnips to your diet. A cup provides 1.2 g of fiber (4.8% of the recommended daily intake) which support the body’s digestive process.9 It also contains glucosinolates which have also been found to help bacteria like Helicobacter pylori which slow down or prevent the development of duodenal ulcers and stomach cancer.10
id="4">4. Protect Vision And Prevent Vision Disorders
As we age, so does our vision. Eating a nutritious diet goes a long way towards keeping your vision healthy and vision disorders at bay. Turnips contain lutein, a carotenoid (antioxidant) that filters out harmful high-energy blue wavelengths of light and helps protect and maintain healthy cells in the eyes.11 It also prevents age-related macular disease, which is the leading cause of blindness and vision impairment.12 13
5. May Prevent Cancer
Turnips contain high levels of antioxidants, phytochemicals, and glucosinolates- that break into two phytonutrients, indoles and isothiocyanates. These help the liver process toxins, fight the effects of carcinogens, and can inhibit the growth of tumor cells in lung and colorectal cancers.14 15
|↑1||Lidder, Satnam, and Andrew J. Webb. “Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate‐nitrite‐nitric oxide pathway.” British journal of clinical pharmacology 75, no. 3 (2013): 677-696.|
|↑2||Basic Report: 11564, Turnips, raw.
|↑3||Aburto, Nancy J., Sara Hanson, Hialy Gutierrez, Lee Hooper, Paul Elliott, and Francesco P. Cappuccio. “Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses.” Bmj 346 (2013): f1378.|
|↑4, ↑9||Basic Report: 11564, Turnips, raw. United States Department Of Agriculture.|
|↑5||Flynn, Albert. “The role of dietary calcium in bone health.” Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 62, no. 4 (2003): 851-858.|
|↑6||Zhu, K., Amanda Devine, and R. L. Prince. “The effects of high potassium consumption on bone mineral density in a prospective cohort study of elderly postmenopausal women.” Osteoporosis International 20, no. 2 (2009): 335-340.|
|↑7||Jeong, Jaehoon, Heajin Park, Hanbit Hyun, Jihye Kim, Haesung Kim, Hyun Il Oh, Hye Seong Hwang, Dae Kyong Kim, and Ha Hyung Kim. “Effects of Glucosinolates from Turnip (Brassica rapa L.) Root on Bone Formation by Human Osteoblast‐Like MG‐63 Cells and in Normal Young Rats.” Phytotherapy Research 29, no. 6 (2015): 902-909.|
|↑8||The pros and cons of root vegetables.
|↑10||Dhingra, Devinder, Mona Michael, Hradesh Rajput, and R. T. Patil. “Dietary fibre in foods: a review.” Journal of food science and technology 49, no. 3 (2012): 255-266.|
|↑11||Vegetables: Have you tried Turnips? Michigan State University.|
|↑12||Koushan, Keyvan, Raluca Rusovici, Wenhua Li, Lee Ferguson, and Kakarla Chalam. “The role of lutein in eye-related disease.” Nutrients 5, no. 5 (2013): 1823-1839.|
|↑13||Buscemi, Silvio, Davide Corleo, Francesco Di Pace, Maria Petroni, Angela Satriano, and Giulio Marchesini. “The effect of lutein on eye and extra-eye health.” Nutrients 10, no. 9 (2018): 1321.|
|↑14||Nechuta, Sarah, Bette J. Caan, Wendy Y. Chen, Marilyn L. Kwan, Wei Lu, Hui Cai, Elizabeth M. Poole et al. “Postdiagnosis cruciferous vegetable consumption and breast cancer outcomes: a report from the After Breast Cancer Pooling Project.” Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers 22, no. 8 (2013): 1451-1456.|
|↑15||Murillo, Genoveva, and Rajendra G. Mehta. “Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention.” Nutrition and cancer 41, no. 1-2 (2001): 17-28.|