Turnip greens: A powerhouse of nutrition and healing

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turnip greens(NaturalHealth365) Over and over again, studies show that diet and lifestyle choices are instrumental in creating the ideal foundation for a healthy life. Chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease can all be offset and even prevented with consistently healthy lifestyle choices.

So, now it’s time to get specific about the healing power of plant foods. From osteoporosis prevention to cancer prevention, turnip greens are proving to be a powerhouse of nutrition and healing for a range of health issues.

The surprising nutritional content inside turnip greens

Turnip greens are a less well-known member of the cruciferous family, which includes health staples like broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, rutabagas and cabbage. These vegetables are low-calorie but packed with powerful nutrients, and should be eaten daily.

When it comes to Aggregate Nutrient Density (ANDI) score, a measure of nutrition of foods in relation to their calories, turnip greens earn a top score of 1,000 (along with kale, mustard, Swiss chard and collard greens). For instance, one cup boiled turnip greens has just 29 calories and 660% of your daily vitamin K requirement, 66% of vitamin C, 220% of vitamin A along with impressive levels of dietary nitrate, fiber, calcium, folate, iron and vitamin E. (Of course, uncooked greens will provide even greater nutritional content)

Although, there is a warning, people taking blood thinners should consult with an experienced naturopath before increasing the intake of foods rich in vitamin K.  Having said that, let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of turnip greens:

1. Reduce your risk of anemia. Turnip greens are an excellent source of vegetarian iron as well as vitamin C to help with iron absorption.

2. Prevent osteoporosis. Both vitamin K and calcium are key to strong bones, and turnip greens are rich in both.

3. Anti-cancer nutrition. As you may know, cruciferous vegetables are well-known for their cancer-fighting properties; sulfur-containing compounds such as sulforaphane give cruciferous vegetables that slightly bitter taste and are believed to also give them their cancer-fighting powers.

In addition, the high vitamin C content in turnip greens fights free radical formation, and they also contain large amounts of chlorophyll – which blocks the carcinogenic effects of grilled or charred foods.

4. Improved digestion. Turnip greens’ high fiber content aids in optimal digestive tract health and may also help to regulate blood sugar levels.

5. Better sleep and mood. Turnip greens contain choline, which helps sleep patterns, learning, memory, muscle movement, and nerve and cellular membrane health. It also assists in fat absorption and reducing inflammation.

The folate in turnip greens may help to ease depression by lowering homocysteine levels in the body, which can interfere with serotonin, dopamine and other feel-good hormones.

6. Healthier skin and hair. The vitamin A and C in turnip greens are vital for sebum production – which keeps skin and hair healthy and moisturized.

What is the best way to eat more turnip greens?

Turnip greens can be eaten raw in salads, sandwiches or wraps. They can also be boiled, braised, sautéed or cooked in soups, stir-fry dishes and casseroles. A simple side of turnip greens, fresh garlic and minced onions lightly sautéed with a touch of raw olive oil (for flavor) can be a delicious side dish.

So, if you’re looking to add variety to your diet plus give a boost to your daily nutrition – add turnip greens and try other dark, leafy green vegetables like, kale and collard greens. Enjoy!


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  • Sandy Roth

    Good article on turnip greens. This is a neglected source of nutrition. It’s easy to add to your diet. I really enjoy adding turnips to stews and soups, but can’t always find turnip greens at the local supermarket.

  • Faith Parson

    At one time turnip greens were a staple at dinner time. It is just one more thing that changed when processed foods took over our food supply.