Properties and Benefits of Turnip: The white turnip, or simply turnip, is a round root vegetable similar in taste to radishes. Turnips are a good source of carbohydrates, copper, B vitamins and vitamin C, having a slightly pungent taste. They are related to cabbage, broccoli, mustard and Brussels sprouts and are very popular in salads or baked as home-made crisps.
Eating turnips not only contributes to good energy levels and improves digestion, but also helps reduce inflammation and offers antibacterial protection.Turnip leaves, also known as turnip greens or turnip tops, are rich in vitamins A and K and thus promote eye health and strong bones and help prevent atherosclerosis and inflammation by lowering interleukin-6 levels.
The term turnip generally refers to the white, round-oval principal root of the turnip plant (Brassica rapa). Turnips grow well in temperate regions and are usually planted and harvested in colder spring or fall months due to the vegetable’s lack of tolerance to warm weather. While most of the root is white both on the inside and on the outside, if a turnip is not harvested prematurely, it grows until its upper part comes above-ground.
The part exposed to sunlight turns a pale purple, yellow, orange or light green, while the underground root remains white. When harvested prematurely, turnips are considerably more tender and more palatable (sweet) when eaten raw. If left to mature, the vegetable can grow up to 1 kg and will develop a harder, woody flesh. Both the turnip root and its leaves are edible.
Turnip root goes well in salads or as a side dish. It can be cut in cubes and baked, boiled and added to soups to thicken them or cut into thinner strips or round slices and baked as crisps. Turnip leaves, also known as turnip greens or turnip tops, go well as a side dish. However, they may be a bit too bitter so it’s best to bring them to a boil, then change their water in order to take off some of the bitterness. Both turnip root and turnip greens are nutritious and highly versatile.
Benefits of turnip root. Turnips are low in calories: they contain about 30 kcal/100 g of root. This makes them ideal if you are looking to either lose a few kilograms or maintain a steady weight. The secret to a healthy weight loss diet isn’t to starve yourself, but to eat wisely. Choose nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits and cereals so your body gets a maximum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and dietary fiber, not empty calories from processed food. Turnips, for example, are a great choice because of their good B vitamins and dietary minerals content and low energetic value.
In addition to this, they provide great amounts of vitamin C: 35% of the recommended daily intake. This means that eating turnip root will help reduce inflammation, increase resistance to bacterial infections and provide antioxidant protection. Also, the vitamin C in turnips stimulates the production of collagen, a protein which, among other things, maintains our youthful appearance.
Collagen basically prevents our skin from becoming saggy by maintaining its flexible structure. This, in turn, contributes to a better aspect and a more youthful appearance. In addition to this, vitamin C helps maintain the integrity of blood vessels, skin and bones. Eating vitamin C-rich foods, such as turnips, is the best way to preserve a youthful appearance and keep in good health.
Turnip roots also supply the body with small amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B9, contributing to increased energy levels. Moreover, they contain copper, a mineral which prevents premature aging in the form of gray hair and discolored eyes (iris). Manganese boasts and antioxidant function and, together with vitamin C, ensures cell repair and prevents cell damage due to free radical action. Although found in small amounts (5%), potassium contributes to healthy blood pressure levels.
I prefer my turnip roots sliced, sauteed and served with a drizzle of olive oil, but I don’t discard the greens either. Turnip greens go well as a side dish to any meat or rice dish and give a pleasant bitter flavor to more satiating salad recipes.