Turnip (botanical name Brassica rapa) is a root vegetable belonging to the mustard family that is cultivated extensively worldwide for food. The color of this root varies from white to yellow and can be eaten fresh as well stored, while the leaves of this plant are consumed in the same manner as spinach. Farm animals also graze the greens, which also form a cover crop. Several grocers sell turnips, which can be cultivated without difficulty, because they have the aptitude to endure drought and frost. In the past, turnips have been used in the form of an important source of food by people inhabiting the northern countries, as they remain well throughout the winter, supplying people with vital nutrients in vegetable form.
Fresh new turnips as well as the turnip greens possess a highly spiced flavor because they are a member of the mustard family. It is believed that the turnip is native to Asia, but introduced to the West several centuries back. This root vegetable was grown by people in ancient Rome and Greece and its cultivation also spread to Northern Europe. Turnip is a very durable crop and it grows well in the harsh climatic conditions of Northern Europe, where it is a very popular vegetable.
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Turnips can be consumed in various ways. While it is occasionally eaten as a raw vegetable, subject to the individual's taste, this vegetable can be boiled, roasted, fried and mashed. Consumers prefer young turnips, provided they can avail them, because they contain more juice and are tastier. When the turnip matures and grows bigger in size, it turns out to be woody. The same thing happens when turnips are stored for a prolonged period. Similar to other different root vegetables, turnips remain extremely well when stored in a root cellar away from heat and light. However, you can also store turnips in a refrigerator for a relatively brief period - roughly two weeks or so.
Besides being a very valuable element of our diet, historically, the turnip has also been utilized as a food source for farm animals. In fact, herds of animals are able to graze turnip greens nearly throughout the year, as turnips can be planted in different batches at different times for harvesting all through the year. Turnips are a wonderful resource of several vitamins and vital minerals. They enclose vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate, in addition to calcium, copper and manganese.
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In ancient times, the Greeks and the Romans loved to eat turnips. Even today, many people consume the turnip leaves. Experts are of the view that the turnip leaves provide us with numerous health benefits. These leaves are loaded with various vitamins, including vitamins A, B2, B6, B9, C and K, in addition to containing significant levels of iron, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper and dietary fibers.
Turnips are generally grown from their seeds, which are directly sown into the beds and watered properly. When the young turnips begin to emerge, you can thin them from time to time with a view to let the tubers have sufficient space for growth. You can harvest turnips within 45 days to 65 days of sowing the seed and store them in root cellars, consume them or even preserve the turnips in pickling jars or cans. Remember, the smaller a turnip is, the tastier it will be. This is the reason why several gardeners favour harvesting turnips while they are young and regularly replant seeds at the harvested site with a view to maintain an unhindered supply of this root vegetable.
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It has been found that people inhabiting different regions of the world cook turnips in different ways. In addition, some people prefer turnip juice, since it contains high amount of nutrients and dietary fibers. On the other hand, some people peel the turnip, make small slices of the vegetable and prepare it in extremely low heat, adding oil as well as a number of interesting spices. When you include turnips in your meal, it helps to perk up your health as you derive numerous benefits from this flavourful root vegetable.
Since turnips do not contain any calories, you need not be concerned about ingesting too much fat while eating this vegetable. Hence, you are able to sustain a robust health and also help you keep yourself in excellent shape. As turnips contain elevated amounts of antioxidants and vitamin C, it is effective in restraining the detrimental free radicals as well as the disparaging oxidation reactions. Turnip is like a magic potion for people enduring high blood pressure (hypertension) and diabetes. In addition, consumption of turnips also helps in diminishing the chances of developing some forms of cancer, including those of the stomach and pancreas.
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Therefore, it can be said that turnips are useful for development of our body in every respect. This root vegetable is loaded with several nutriments that facilitate the body to function appropriately. What is more is that as turnips contain high levels of lutein, they are useful in putting off cardiovascular diseases and cataracts.
Turnips are especially beneficial for people who smoke, because it helps to provide relief from the consequences of smoking, but also aids them in maintaining a robust health. People who smoke actually speed up the process of depleting their body's vitamin A content, as tobacco contains a carcinogenic substance. It is important to consume plenty of vegetables containing loads of vitamin A, such as turnips, to maintain the health of your lungs. However, people with kidney stones should stay away from consuming the leaves of turnip. In addition, people with thyroid gland problems should also keep away from eating the leaves of this vegetable.
Since turnips also contain lots of vitamin C, they possess potent anti-inflammatory properties that help in curbing the progress of symptoms related to asthma. Absence or deficit of vitamin C may also result in several ailments, for instance, easy bruising and scurvy. Latest researches have revealed that ingesting vitamin C on a regular basis facilitates the body in combating specific tumours and cancers, such as rectal cancer and colon tumours.
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Besides vitamin C, the leaves and roots of turnip contain vitamin E as well as beta-carotene and all these are excellent resources of antioxidants that help to significantly reduce the detrimental free radicals in our body. When there is an excess of free radicals in our body, it leads to oxidation of LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol, also called 'bad cholesterol' and cohesion of platelets within the body, which, in turn, results in atherosclerosis - a health condition that causes harm to the blood vessels. Consuming turnips helps the body to prevent the development as well as progression of atherosclerosis.
Eating plenty of turnips also helps in slowing down the damage caused to the joints, the chances of developing osteoporosis as well as occurrence of rheumatoid arthritis. Besides containing high levels of calcium, turnips also enclose excellent amounts of copper, an essential mineral for our body to produce connective tissues.
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Eating turnips also provides us with one more vital health benefit. It ensures that our immune system functions as usual. As turnips also contain high amounts of beta-carotene, consuming this root vegetable helps the body to produce strong membranes.
Advantages of drinking turnip juice: You may blend turnip juice with additional vegetables, which are also excellent resources of the vital mineral magnesium. It may be noted that vegetables that contain magnesium enable our body to make use of the calcium present in turnip juice further effectively. Alfalfa sprouts, cabbage, dandelion greens, sweet peppers and parsley are some of the vegetables that contain magnesium and can be ideally blended with turnip juice. Turnip juice is valuable for curing an assortment of health conditions like skin disorders, including acne, arthritis, anemia and problems related to the bladder. In addition, drinking turnip juice in combination with lemon juice also helps to alleviate cough and cold. When blended with watercress, turnip juice is also helpful in treating hemorrhoids. Drinking a blend of carrot juice and turnip juice is believed to be helpful in fortifying the teeth as well as bone structures. You can also blend turnip juice with carrot juice and celery as it is highly beneficial for your health.
Advantages of consuming turnip greens: While root or flesh of the turnip is regarded as the edible part of the plant, the leaves of turnip (also called turnip greens) are generally discarded. Consuming one cup of turnip greens contains just 20 calories, but are very high in vitamin and mineral content. Usually, turnip greens are sold along with the roots. However, specific turnip varieties like Shogoin and Seven Top are cultivated mainly for their leaves. While buying turnip greens you should ideally opt for crunchy, dark green and flawless leaves.
Before using the turnip greens, you should wash them thoroughly to get rid of all dirt and dust. Turnip greens are cooked exactly in the same manner as spinach. These leaves are an excellent resource of several vitamins, folate, dietary fiber and essential minerals, such as calcium, manganese and copper. The nutritional profile of turnips also comprises protein, omega-3 oils and phosphorus. The leaves of turnips offer us numerous health benefits, including antioxidant benefits, promoting detoxification, digestive and cardiovascular support as well as anti-inflammatory benefits. Antioxidants present in turnip greens are said to lessen the chances of developing problems related to the heart. Moreover, it is very simple to steam or boil turnip greens. Besides, cooked turnips are also an excellent side dish. As a vegetable, the best part of turnip greens is that they can be combined with any vegetable, rice preparation or casserole. The crispy and deep green leaves of turnips not only supply us with tremendous dietary advantages, but they also add shades to different foods.