Rutabaga – Nutrition, Benefits

September 11, 2014 | 0

Rutabagas, also called Swedish turnips, yellow turnips, or neeps, are root vegetables that trace their origin as specie between cabbage and turnip. The roots of these veges are prepared for consumption by humans in different ways. The leaves can be consumed as leafy vegetables. Roots and tops can also be feed to livestock, either directly or by allowing livestock to forage them from the fields. They are called rutabagas only in the US but in the rest of the world, they have different names but the most common one is Swedes.

Botanically, they are called Brassica napus and they are thought to have originated from Bohemia, in the 17th century. These plants are larger than turnips and cabbage, with partly white and purple area. The part near the stem is called the ribs and is usually creamy orange. This is a major differentiation feature as turnips are white with a purple red upper part and a peppery taste when consumed.

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Rutabagas are grown primarily in cold areas of the northern United States, Europe, Great Britain, and Canada. They usually take 3 months to mature fully. Light frost enhances their flavor, this may explain how they got European popularity, being grown mostly in Sweden. They can be prepared by roasting, frying, boiling, mashed or by adding them to soup and stews.

You can also take them raw or grate them into salads or coleslaw. You can also mix them with potatoes, onions, and carrots, especially when mashed, to make a very warming dish that is also very healthy.

Rutabaga picture

What do Rutabagas contain?

Apart from enjoying their delicacies, rutabagas have a lot of health benefits. Their nutrient content cannot be compared to ordinary vegetables. These plants are loaded with almost everything that your body needs to stay healthy. Nutrients range from macronutrients to fiber to micronutrients, all of which are important for your body growth and functioning. Vitamins, which are important antioxidants in your body are also present among the nutrients that rutabagas provide, especially vitamins A and C.

Macronutrients in Rutabagas

These plants have been shown to contain low levels of macronutrients. Macronutrients are comprised of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. For example, is you take 100 grams of rutabagas, you enjoy 1.3 grams of proteins, approximately 9 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fat. Cholesterol, which is associated with a lot of heart problems, is not found in rutabagas. This makes them more nutritious.

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To increase the protein content in your meal, pair these vegetables with lean steak or fish. Brown rice or quinoa will significantly increase the carbohydrate content in your meal. This additions help you obtain a more balanced diet.

Fiber in Rutabagas

The effects of having diet without fiber content can be disturbing and even cause some near fatal health conditions. Less fiber in your diet will cause constipation. This is because fiber normally enhances the peristaltic activity of your gut muscles. If the movements are inhibited by whatever reasons, food will stay in your tummy for extended periods giving you this uncomfortable bowel condition.

Rutabagas have a moderate content of dietary fiber. For example, 100 grams will usually contain approximately 2 grams. This is sufficient for you to prevent conditions such as hemorrhoids, and more commonly, colorectal carcinomas. It also reduces weight loss in certain disease conditions thus helping you to grow as you recover. Because the recommended daily intake of fiber is 20 grams, supplementing it with other foods in your diet is highly valuable.

Antioxidants content of Rutabagas

The major metabolic antioxidants in your body are vitamin A, and E. Vitamin C, which is also found in rutabagas, is a major requirement for normal growth of your gums and other components of other body systems such as wound healing, connective tissue strength, and immunity. Rutabagas have a high content of this vitamin approximating 19 milligrams in a meal of 100 grams.

The daily requirement in women is about 75 milligrams and the same milligrams in men. Serving rutabagas with broccoli and cauliflowers increases the content of this vitamin. You need vitamin A for normal eyesight and the antioxidant effects that it provides. These vegetables contain moderate amount of this essential micronutrient. Its activities will enhance killing of organisms by your immune system and prevent the development of many diseases.

Do rutabagas contain potassium?

Potassium is an important element in your body for normal functioning of your nervous system.  Low level of this element is called hypokalemia and is associated with many medical conditions including arrhythmias and other heart problems. This is because this mineral is used for muscle contraction, nerve conduction, and normal heart functioning. Supplementing rutabagas with other foods in your diet significantly increases the content of potassium.

Rutabaga can fight anemia and iron deficiency

Normal blood cell maturation in your bone marrow requires set levels of iron. If your body iron stores are low, you may develop a condition called anemia. This is because you will not be able to produce enough red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout your body. Your red blood cells may also be abnormal in structure and you may develop a defect in oxygen carriage even with normal numbers of cells. To avoid this common condition, use rutabagas in your meal, and when supplemented with any type of animal meat will boost your body iron content significantly.

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