La turnip is the large and fleshy root of the Brassica rapa L. plant, belonging to the brassicaceae family. Rich in vitamins C, B and folic acid, it is useful for her detoxifying and antioxidant properties. Let's find out better.
> 1. Properties of the turnip
> 2. Turnip, ally of
> 3. Description of the plant and variety
> 4. Curiosities about the turnip
Properties of the turnip
Turnips, belonging to the Cruciferae or Brassicaceae family (which also includes other vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, mustard, rocket, radish, horseradish, etc.), are foods rich in vitamins, in particular of vitamin A and β-carotene, vitamin C, vitamins of group B and folic acid. In particular, as far as vitamin C is concerned, it seems that they contain much more than oranges.
They are also rich in mineral salts such as phosphorus, calcium (crucifers are the main source of vegetable origin), iron useful in anemia and potassium useful in controlling blood pressure.
The edible part is the root which, growing underground, directly absorbs the iodine and nitrogen of the soil and therefore, while retaining the therapeutic-nutritional indications of the other members of the family, is contraindicated in subjects with heart and / or kidney problems due to large electrolytic load.
They are rich in chlorophyll which helps the production of hemoglobin by counteracting anemia, mucilages and fibers useful in the intestine in inflammations e phytonutrients details that are not present in any other food such as phenolic compounds called thiocyanates which have been attributed antitumor properties (breast, lung and stomach cancer).
Studies have shown the effectiveness of these molecules in the counteract the proliferation and spread of cancer cells.
100 gr of turnips have about 90% water, while the rest is divided between carbohydrates, proteins and mineral salts for this reason, they are low-calorie foods (about 20 Kcal per 100g) and therefore suitable for all those who want to follow a correct lifestyle.
Not containing gluten they are suitable for feeding patients suffering from celiac disease.
Rapa, ally of
Turnips have always been known for therapeutic properties, a statement that was considered valid until the beginning of the last century, when doctors still prescribed turnip as a very effective medicine.
Among the various properties of the turnip we find:
- property detoxifying since rich in sulfur (deriving from thiocyanates), mineral used in natural medicine and Chinese medicine for its deep detoxifying action;
- property antioxidants thanks to the richness of flavonoids such as quercetin. These compounds play an important role in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Studies also report an important role in the fight against cancer by acting with a mechanism similar to vitamin C;
- property inflammatory useful for abscesses, pharyngitis, cystitis and, thanks to the presence of gerfarnate (substance also used in ulcer medicines), useful for strengthening the mucous membrane of the stomach and protecting it from acids;
- action rebalancing against menstrual pains;
- exert a power of prevention and mitigation of the carcinogenic risk thanks to the oxidation-reduction process of free radicals carried out by the considerable quantity of phytochemicals (such as polyphenols and isothiocyanates) present. It is not yet clear what are the mechanisms through which this is achieved, but probably the phytonutrients of cruciferous plants perform these functions by increasing the production of enzymes that fight some carcinogens (especially those that act synergistically with hormones). In addition to reducing the chances of contracting some types of cancer, it has been seen that the compounds present in crucifers have other properties useful for our health such as neutralizing toxins, lowering cholesterol levels and contributing to the proper functioning of the immune system.
However, it must be remembered that thiocyanates however also have secondary negative effects since if consumed in excess and for long periods they can slow down the metabolism since inhibit the secretion of thyroid hormone thyroxine and bind to iodine making it less available. They can also increase abdominal swelling and lead to diarrhea and flatulence in predisposed individuals.
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Description of the plants and varieties
Poor relative of the already humble Cruciferae, the turnip (Brassica rapa L.) is the biennial form of Brassica campestris, genus Brassica (the same as cabbage, broccoli, mustard, etc.).
With its large and fleshy root, cylindrical-conical or flattened spherical shape, with white or purple skin, and white or yellow pulp, turnips have been for millennia one of the sources of survival for man farmers already in the time of the Greeks and of the Romans, since, since it could be kept until the next harvest, it allowed the accumulation of stocks for the months when the land did not produce much.
Both the fleshy root and the leaves of this type of vegetable, which is consumed mainly in winter, are used and in some regions it is also used for feeding livestock.
Countless varieties of turnip are grown, among the best known are:
- Brassica rapa L. subsp. turnip (o common turnip, grown for the root)
- Brassica rapa L. subsp. sylvestris (commonly known as turnip top)
- Brassica rapa L. subsp. campestris (known as rapeseed)
Curiosities about the turnip
The turnip is widely used in human nutrition in the Nordic countries while in the southern and insular country it is rarely used or even unknown although it represents the protagonist of a very widespread preserve, the gardener.
It is the main ingredient of several traditional recipes, including brovada, a Friulian dish that is obtained by macerating turnips in pomace and cooking them in a pan, but is also used to prepare soups, soups and risottos.
It can also be boiled and eaten in salads, baked au gratin or fried after being thinly sliced, fried in boiling oil and added melted butter and sugar.
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Other articles on turnips:
> September turnips
> Turnip greens, simple and healthy recipes
> Black turnips, properties and benefits