Kohlrabi, sometimes called a German turnip, is a bulbous root vegetable that falls under the cruciferous umbrella. It isn’t very common in American households, but people in European countries and northern India consume it regularly. It is a hearty vegetable that exhibits an impressive nutritional profile, offering several surprising health benefits. Including it in your diet may help to increase circulation, improve digestion, optimize immune function, strengthen bones, and more.
What Is Kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi can grow in very harsh conditions and has a similar flavor profile to broccoli. Some say that kohlrabi exhibits a sweeter, more pleasant flavor profile than broccoli, offering a similar consistency to an apple at times. You can incorporate raw kohlrabi into slaws or salads, treating it similar to carrots. You can also boil and mash kohlrabi, or you can cube and roast it, using it as a substitute for potatoes. The leaves that stem from the kohlrabi bulb can be treated similarly to kale leaves.
Kohlrabi Nutrition Facts
Research shows that kohlrabi exhibits an impressive phytochemical content, making it a powerhouse for fighting off cancer and high cholesterol. Kohlrabi consists of vitamins A, C, B-complex, and K, iron, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. It also contains lots of dietary fiber, phytochemicals, and various carotenes. According to research, kohlrabi exhibits the following health benefits.
May Reduce Inflammation
A 2014 report in an issue of Preventative Nutrition and Food Science focused on the health benefits of both red and green kohlrabi. The report determined that red kohlrabi exhibited stronger anti-inflammatory compounds than green kohlrabi. Because of this, the researchers concluded that red kohlrabi may be more useful as an anti-inflammatory agent. The research used kohlrabi extracts, so more research is necessary on the actual vegetable itself.
Helps Fight Cancer
The cruciferous vegetable family is full of cancer-fighting properties. Several components of these vegetables have demonstrated an ability to slow or prevent the growth of certain cancer cells. The sulfur-containing compounds, glucosinolates, support detoxification and the production of indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates, which help to reduce the risk of breast, colon, and lung cancer. According to several studies, there are several compounds in kohlrabi that may work to fight cancer. These compounds enhance the body’s ability to eliminate carcinogens before they can damage DNA or alter cell-signaling pathways.
Promotes A Healthy Gut
Containing both soluble and insoluble fiber, kohlrabi is an excellent choice for promoting a healthier gut. Water-soluble fiber works to maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, while insoluble fiber is not broken down inside the intestine. This actually adds bulk to your stool and encourages regular bowel movements. Fiber is the primary fuel source for gut bacteria, including Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria. Producing short-chain fatty acids, these bacteria work to nourish the cells in the gut and may offer protection against obesity and heart disease. Nourishing gut bacteria also enhances immune function and may lower the risk of bowel disease.
May Regulate Blood Pressure
Kohlrabi is an excellent source of potassium, with one cup containing 16% of the recommended daily intake. One study from Harvard University found that potassium acts as a vasodilator, reducing the strain on the cardiovascular system by easing the tension of blood vessels. In doing so, potassium may increase circulation throughout the body, oxygenating essential areas. This helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular episodes like stroke or heart attacks. Lastly, low levels of vitamin C are associated with high blood pressure and other heart-related issues. Kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C, which is another reason why it may regulate blood pressure.
Supports A Healthy Immune System
As detailed throughout this article, kohlrabi exhibits various nutrients that work to improve many areas of your health. By lowering inflammation and enhancing gut bacteria, kohlrabi may work to improve immune function. Additionally, kohlrabi is rich in vitamin B6, a necessary vitamin for protein metabolism, red blood cell development, and immune function. Vitamin B6 aids the production of both white blood cells and T-cells, two types of immune cells that fight off foreign invaders. Deficiency in these cells has been linked to weak immune function. The high vitamin C content of kohlrabi also helps to encourage optimal white blood cell function.