There are several benefits that make turnips a popular food, which some people even consider a healthier alternative to the potato. This small root vegetable contains fewer calories than potatoes, but is still abundant in several minerals, vitamins and antioxidants per serving. The edible green leaves of the turnip also provide more than the recommended daily amounts of certain vitamins and minerals. It may possibly prevent certain cancers and diseases. Turnips also offer more choices for consumption over the potato.
One of the primary turnip benefits is the fewer calories it contains compared to a white potato. On average, one portion of turnips contains 51 calories, while a white potato may have around 200 calories per portion. As the taste and consistency of a turnip is similar to a potato, several nutritionists suggest eating turnips as a healthier alternative, especially while dieting.
Turnips contain a significant concentration of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants per portion. There is approximately 76 mg of calcium and 407 mg of potassium as well as magnesium, phosphate, iron, seleniom and lutein found in turnips. They also contain almost every essential B vitamin including folate, riboflavin and niacin. About 27 mg of vitamin C is also found in turnips as well as 5 grams of fiber.
Unlike some root vegetables, the leafy part of the turnip is also edible and often served as an additional side with turnips. This part of the turnip is just as nutritious as the root as it contains over the recommended daily amount of vitamins A and K. Additional amounts of folate, calcium and vitamin C are also found in this part of the turnip, widening the number of turnip benefits.
High levels of vitamins and minerals suggest there is a wide range of turnip benefits for health issues, such as immunity, liver and nervous system function, and cataracts. Several people also believe turnips may be useful in preventing more serious conditions, such as cancers in the bladder, pancreas and stomach. It may also aid in preventing diabetes, cardiovascular and lung diseases, and high blood pressure. Anti-inflammatory properties found in turnips also suggest they may be beneficial for treating asthma.
The ways in which turnips may be eaten could also be considered as one of the many turnip benefits. It may be eaten the same ways as a white potato, which means it may be roasted, boiled or even fried; however, they may also be eaten raw. If purchased in a grocery store, a waxy layer may be on skin of the turnip, but the meat inside may be eaten as it is. Some people also recommend extracting the juices from the turnip and adding it in drinks or trying it on its own. The green of the turnip may be eaten raw, sautéed or steamed much like other green leaves, such as spinach.