Turnip is a vegetable cultivated from the ancient times. The popular vegetable is widely grown in Egypt, Russia, Rome, Greece, USA, India, Japan and China.
Turnip is essentially a root vegetable that is member of the cruciferae family. Brassica Rapa is the scientific name of the turnip. The small and tender varieties are for human consumption while the bigger lot are fed to live stock. Turnips are usually white in colour from the bottom till halfway and towards the top they become light purple, red or green according to the sunlight that has fallen on them. The leaves of turnips are also eatable and are eaten as turnip green. There are over 30 varieties which differ in size, colour, flavour and usage.
Purple top turnip: This most common variety has crisp white inner flesh with a mild, slightly sweet flavour. Flavour becomes milder when cooked.
Scarlet turnip: They are a vibrant red colour and look like large red radishes.
Baby turnip: This special variety can be white gold pink or purple topped and best eaten raw.
Turnips are cooked differently in different parts of the world. They can be steamed, roasted, boiled, mashed, souped, hashed brown and can be consumed raw if they are small and young. This highly nutritional root vegetable is not only delicious but has several health benefits too.
Turnips give you immense health benefits:
- High quality of Vitamin C and antioxidants help curb free radicals and distractive oxidation reactions
- Lower risk of obesity, high BP, diabetes and cancers of the stomach and lung diseases
- Rich source of calcium, phosphorus, folic acid and magnesium, essential for all-round development of human body
- Help and prevent cataracts and cardiovascular disease due to large amount of lutein
- Excellent for bone health, turnips have essential nutrients that can prevent bone disease including osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis
- Have high fibre content, which promote strong metabolism and are effective in weight loss
- Strengthen of gastric juice to improve absorption of food
- Ascorbic acids makes root vegetable useful for smokers. It has a beneficial effect on the condition of the lungs
- Strengthens immunity
- Promotes metabolism
- Improves the functioning of the nervous system
- Activates healthy growth of hair and nail, and is good for the skin
- Beneficial to the elderly
- It helps to strengthen the teeth
The nutritional value of turnips for human can be summarised as low in fat and calories but high in Vitamin C and fiber. The root of the turnip is where the Vitamin C potassium and fiber are found. The greens have Vitamin A and K in addition to the Vitamin C folate, and beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin which are common antioxidant
This perfect root plant has unlimited uses due to its multiple edible parts and its nutritional benefits are of great value to mankind
(Anand K Singh – Principal of Hotel Management and catering technology Institute at Bhopal)