From soups and salads to sandwiches and beyond, there are endless ways to incorporate turnips into your diet. Not only do turnips provide a distinct, peppery flavor, but they also exhibit impressive health benefits. According to research, turnips may improve gut health, enhance heart function, benefit the immune system, and even aid with cancer prevention. In this article, we detail what you need to know about turnips and why you should get your daily dose.
What Are Turnips?
Turnips are a type of root vegetable grown in temperate climates worldwide. Generally, they have a white skin with a purple or red hue and a bright white flesh. Turnips also have greens, which you can consume in place of other leafy greens like kale or spinach. Just keep in mind that turnip greens have a more pronounced, peppery flavor than other leafy greens. You can eat turnips in their raw form, but you can also pickle, grill, boil, roast, or sauté them. Turnips are low in calories, high in fiber, and provide a host of micronutrients that contribute to better overall health. Continue reading to learn more about their health benefits.
They Promote Regularity
Turnips provide 3.1 grams of fiber per cup, so adding them to your diet can help get things moving, so to speak. Fiber adds bulk to stool as it moves through the digestive tract, helping you avoid constipation. One review compiled results of five studies and found that dietary fiber was able to increase stool frequency in constipated patients. Turnips supply a decent amount of fiber, but consuming them with other fiber-rich foods will benefit digestion and promote regularity.
They Boost Heart Health
One study consisting of almost 135,000 adults revealed that higher intake of vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables like turnips, reduced the risk of death by heart disease. As previously mentioned, turnips contain a lot of fiber, which works to lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. Turnips also contain antioxidants that exhibit heart-promoting activity. Cut down your risk of heart disease even more by minimizing stress, exercising regularly, and quitting smoking.
They Enhance Immune Function
One cup of cooked turnips fulfills 20% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin C. Increasing your intake of this water-soluble vitamin can help enhance immune function. A new study found that sufficient vitamin C intake can help reduce symptoms and shorten the duration of infections like the common cold. Additionally, increasing vitamin C intake may help prevent or improve outcomes of malaria, pneumonia, and other infections. Don’t just rely on turnips for your vitamin C, though. Consume other vitamin C-rich foods like kiwis, oranges, guavas, bell peppers, and more.
They Aid Weight Loss
Low in calories and rich in fiber, turnips make an excellent addition to any weight loss diet. Fiber moves slowly through the digestive tract, which slows the emptying of your stomach, helping you feel fuller for longer. A human study from 2009 followed 252 women over the course of 20 months. For every one-gram increase of fiber intake, they experienced half a pound of weight loss. The women also experienced a significant reduction in body fat. Another study from 2015 found that eating cruciferous vegetables, such as turnips, was associated with 0.68 pounds of weight loss over four years. Turnips will not solely make the weight fall off. You have to maintain a healthy lifestyle, control your portions, and eat a balanced diet to encourage weight loss.
They May Fight Cancer
Cruciferous vegetables, which include turnips, broccoli, cabbage, kale, and more, are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and cancer-fighting compounds. Glucosinolates and indole-3-carbinol, for example, exhibit anti-cancer properties, with scientific research summarizing their preventative potential towards gastrointestinal cancers. That said, these compounds from cruciferous vegetables undergo modifications in gastrointestinal conditions, which reduces their activity and availability. Researchers have been able to stabilize these compounds in nanoencapsulation methods, so expect to see chemotherapeutic agents derived from cruciferous vegetables in the future.