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Benefits of Turnips
Turnips are starchy vegetables belonging to theBrassicaceaefamily which also includes cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts etc. Though we usually refer to the bulbous roots as turnips, their sprouts and leaves are also edible and highly nutritious, and are used in European, Asian and Eastern American cuisines. Their bulbous roots are often diced or chopped and pickled whereas its greens are used in stews and soups. Baby turnips are quite delicious, tender and sweet and thus, can be added to salads and eaten raw. As a turnip matures, its flavor becomes more pronounced and its texture firm and woody. The inner flesh of this vegetable is white in color with tinges of purple to pink to red whereas the skin color of the root bulb depends on the amount of sunlight it receives and is usually white. These vegetables are generally conical in shape but sometimes they can also be round shaped. Their maximum weight can reach up to 1 kg. Their leaves taste somewhat like mustard whereas the roots have a mild pungent flavor with a hint of bitter sweetness. The peak season for turnips is fall or winter months.
All cruciferous vegetables provide integrated nourishment across a wide variety of nutritional categories and provide broad support across a wide variety of body systems as well. Turnip greens are the leaves of the turnip plant, better known for its tasty root. Turnip, which scientifically known as Brassica rapa, belongs to the Cruciferae family, a cousin to other healthprotective giants including kale, collards, cabbage, and broccoli. Turnip leaves are smaller and more tender than their cousin, collards. Their slightly bitter flavor is delicious. Turnip greens are an important vegetable in traditional Southern American cooking.
Turnips are an ancient vegetable that is thought to have been cultivated almost 4,000 years ago in the Near East. Both the Greeks and Romans thought highly of the turnip and developed several new varieties. Its widespread popularity in Europe has continued, although since the advent of the potato, it is less widely cultivated than it once was. Turnips were introduced into North America by the early European settlers and colonists. They grew well in the South and became a popular food in the local cuisine of this region. Turnip greens, which became an integral part of Southern AfricanAmerican cuisine, are thought to have been adopted into this food culture because of the role they played during the days of slavery. Supposedly, the slave owners would reserve the turnip roots for themselves, leaving the leaves for the slaves.
4. The leafy green vegetables
The leafy green vegetables that come from the tops of turnip bulbs are known as turnip greens. These can be added to salads or sauted and served as a side dish. Though the root is most widely used, its top fresh greens are much more nutritious, being several times richer in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. All in all, turnips can be a perfect replacement for potatoes as it contains only 1/3rdcalories in comparison to those in potatoes. Rutabagas are a cross between turnips and cabbage which are larger, more round, have yellow color flesh and are sweeter than turnips.
5. Cancer Prevention
These cruciferous vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which reduce the risk of cancer. Presence of glucosinolates prevents as well as reduces the effect of cancer. These are natural plant chemicals that break into two compounds while digesting i.e. indoles and isothiocyanates. They help the liver process toxins, fight the effects of carcinogens and can inhibit the growth of tumor cells. Inclusion of this vegetable in your daily diet can reduce the risk of breast cancer as well as colon and rectal tumors.
6. Cardiovascular Health
Turnips possess great antiinflammatory properties due to the presence of large amount of vitamin K. These help in preventing heart attacks, heart strokes and other heart ailments. Turnip greens aid in digestion by absorbing more amount of bile which uses up the cholesterol present in the body. This results in the reduction of cholesterol. Turnips are also excellent sources of folate, which further helps to boost up the cardiovascular system.
7. Bone Health
Turnips are an important source of calcium and potassium which are vital for healthy bone growth and maintenance. Regular consumption of turnip inhibits joint damage, risk of osteoporosis and the incidence of Rheumatoid Arthritis. It is also an excellent source of calcium, a mineral that supports the bodys production of connective tissues.
8. Lung Health
The carcinogens present in cigarette smoke cause vitamin A deficiency, resulting in lung inflammation, emphysema and other lung problems. The vitamin A contained in turnip greens helps in maintaining healthy lungs by counteracting this defect.
9. Aids in Digestion
The high fiber content in turnip greens supports the bodys digestive system. Research has proved that glucosinolates may also help the stomach process bacteria likeHelicobacter pylori. Turnips are nutritious root vegetables sought after in a variety of cuisines across Europe, Asia, and Eastern American regions. It is one of the coolseason vegetables belonging within the broad Brassicaceae family, which also includes cabbage, kale, brusselssprouts, etc. The roots have been cultivated as staple food during ancient Greek and Roman periods. Although, its bulbous root which is widely popular, it is its top fresh greens rather more nutritious, several times richer in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
10. Prevents Atherosclerosis
Too many free radicals in the body cause oxidation of bad cholesterol and clumping of platelets in our body, thus leading to atherosclerosis, a condition that damages the blood vessels. Vitamins E, C and beta carotene in turnip roots and greens are excellent antioxidants that fight free radicals in the body. Thus, regular consumption of turnips prevents the development and progression of this condition.
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