are turnip greens healthy
Turnip greens are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Learn about 10 health benefits of this cruciferous vegetable

Turnip greens are the leafy part of turnips and belong to the cruciferous vegetable family, along with cabbage, kale, and broccoli. Turnip greens are healthy and rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. 

Turnip greens can be eaten raw and added to salads, but since the fiber content is high, it is better to eat them cooked. Turnip greens have a spicy flavor similar to mustard seeds.

What is the nutritional value of turnip greens?

One cup of chopped, raw turnip greens (55 grams) contain:

  • Calories: 18
  • Total fat: 0.2 grams
  • Sodium: 22 mg
  • Total carbohydrates: 3.9 grams
  • Dietary fiber: 1.8 grams
  • Sugar: 0.5 grams 
  • Protein: 0.8 grams
  • Vitamin A: 6,372.9 IU
  • Vitamin C: 60 mg
  • Calcium: 104.5 mg
  • Iron: 0.61 mcg
  • Potassium: 163 mg

10 health benefits of turnip greens

  1. May lower cancer risk: Turnip greens contain phytochemicals, glucosinolates, and antioxidants that may help fight against cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) and remove toxins from the body, particularly the liver. These compounds suppress the growth of cancer cells and combat free radical damage.
  2. Boosts immunity: Antioxidants in turnip greens help eliminate free radicals and protect the cells from oxidative damage, improving the health of immune cells. Dietary fiber in turnip greens can also reduce inflammation and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity.
  3. Promotes weight loss: Turnip greens are low in calories but high in fiber, which aids in weight loss. Turnip greens may improve metabolism while eliminating excess fat.
  4. Improves digestion: The fiber and water content in turnip greens promote gut health and help with constipation. Glucosinolates provide a suitable environment for the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, which prevents digestive disorders.
  5. Prevents osteoporosis: Vitamin K increases calcium absorption and the calcium, magnesium, and vitamin A content in turnip greens improve bone density and help prevent osteoporosis.
  6. Boosts eye health: The vitamin A concentration of turnip greens is quite high, meaning that it is good for maintaining eyesight. Vitamin A plays a role in preventing problems related to vision loss, such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
  7. Boosts skin and hair health: Vitamin C in turnip greens promotes the production of collagen, which is an essential protein that maintains healthy skin and hair. Iron content can also help treat iron deficiency anemia, which is one of the main causes of hair loss.
  8. Helps treat anemia: Turnip greens may help treat anemia because they are high in iron, which plays a role in increasing the red blood cells and hemoglobin levels.
  9. Helps manage asthma: Anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants in turnip greens may improve asthma symptoms and prevent asthma attacks.
  10. Sleep and mood: Turnip greens contain choline, a nutrient that helps with sleep. They also contain folate, which may help with depression.

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What are possible side effects of turnip greens?

  • Turnip greens are rich in vitamin K, which promotes blood clotting, and may therefore interfere with medications (such as warfarin). So patients who are on blood thinners should avoid excessive consumption of turnip greens.
  • Turnip greens may interfere with thyroid hormones, so patients with thyroid problems or who are on thyroid medicines should avoid turnip greens.
  • Turnip greens are rich in nitrates, which eventually may convert to nitrites in the body. Patients who are on nitrate therapy for chest pain should avoid a diet high in nitrates.

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Medically Reviewed on 11/19/2021
References
Image Source: iStock Images

NutritionValue.Org. Turnip greens, raw. https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Turnip_greens%2C_raw_nutritional_value.html?size=1+cup%2C+chopped+%3D+55+g

Heart of Wellness. Turnip Greens: A Powerhouse for Good Health. https://heartofwellness.org/turnip-greens-a-powerhouse-for-good-health/