Turnips, as well as cabbage and broccoli, are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. Cultivated over 4,000 years ago in Asia, turnips increased in popularity throughout Medieval Europe, until the more popular potato was introduced in the 18th century. Turnips were introduced to North America by early European settlers, and began to thrive in the South. Today, turnips are an integral part of regional Southern cuisine.
- · Turnips are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins C, folic acid, pantothenic acid, manganese, and copper.
- · They also contain thiamine, niacin, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, and riboflavin.
- · Turnip greens are many times more nutritious than the root, and are a source of vitamins A, C, E, and B6, as well as folic acid, calcium, copper, fiber and manganese.
- · Although considered a starch vegetable, turnips provide one-third the amount of calories as an equal sized serving of potatoes.
- · Turnips have only 22 calories per 3½ ounce serving.
- · As a member of the cruciferous family, turnips contain more phyochemicals than any other vegetable family, making them immensely effective at preventing cancer.
- · Turnips contain glucosinolates with anticancer properties such as indole-3-carbinol, sulforaphane, and di-indolmethane.
- · Studies have shown that higher intake of cruciferous vegetables can lower rates of cancer by increasing antioxidant defense mechanisms, allowing the body to better detoxify harmful chemicals and hormones.
Turnips are a unique vegetable, as both the root and the greens can be consumed. Try using boiled turnips intermixed with (or instead of) potatoes when making mashed potatoes. Turnip greens can be added to any salad, as a way to enhance nutritional benefits. Another simple, yet tasty idea is to simply steam turnips and coat them in honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg to taste. With such a versatile vegetable, and its anticancer properties, turnips are hard not to love.