Kohlrabi, also known as the German turnip, is a vegetable not so commonly known in the US but one that should be a part of your daily diet. Famous in the German and North Indian regions, this veggie is either purple or whitish-green in color and belongs to the cabbage family, along with broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Once you remove the first two layers and the root, kohlrabi has a sweet, mild taste, something along the lines of a broccoli.
Kohlrabi is a rich source of vitamin C and minerals like calcium and potassium, all of which help ward off sicknesses and keep you healthy. Its rich levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals further contribute to its antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties, among others. Not convinced if you should be picking this veggie in the market? Read on to know just why you need to eat kohlrabi for a long, healthy life.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cancer is the second leading cause of death in the USA, claiming nearly half a million lives each year.1 With such an epidemic probably right around the corner for anyone, it makes sense to do all that you can to not succumb to it. This is where you need kohlrabi.
In general, the vegetables in the cabbage (Brassicaceae) family, when eaten in high quantities, are known to significantly reduce the risk of different types of cancer.2 Kohlrabi, in particular, specifically prevents prostate and colon cancer by reducing inflammation and supplying the body with the phytochemicals: isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol.3
Diabetes is predominant in families for generations and might be there for generations to come. An extremely common illness, diabetes can completely wreck your lifestyle. So, what can you do? Eat healthy foods like kohlrabi, which can keep diabetes at bay in many ways.
- Obesity is one of the major risk factors for diabetes. Eating kohlrabi helps you maintain a healthy weight, thereby keeping you healthy and safe.
- Oxidative stress is a major player in the progress of diabetes. If your body does not have enough antioxidants, the free radicals get a free reign and cause diseases like diabetes. Kohlrabi, which is rich in antioxidants and phenolic compounds, will keep your safe from all types of diabetes with its antioxidant content.4
3. Weight Loss
While it is nutrient-rich, the vegetable contains very few calories (1.5% of the RDA) and almost no fat or cholesterol and a moderate amount of dietary fiber (10% of the RDA) and water (91 g).5 The latter two ensure that you remain full for a long period, and this helps you avoid snacking every few hours.
Kohlrabi is a rich source of vitamin C, satisfying more than the required dietary intake of vitamin C (102% of the RDA) in just a 100-g cup. This vitamin, a potent antioxidant, fights and scavenges free radicals, prevents any oxidative damage, and thus boosts your immunity.6
5. Blood Pressure And Heart Disease
Potassium is a great vasodilator – when infused into the blood, it reduces tension in the arteries and blood vessels and increases the blood flow.7 An increased blood flow supplies oxygen to the entire body and thus reduces the risk of high blood pressure, hypertension, and even cardiovascular issues like heart attacks, stroke, and other heart diseases. Just a 100 g of kohlrabi every day can regulate your blood pressure as the veggie contains 350 mg of potassium (7% of the RDA).
Excess fiber intake can result in your stool becoming too bulky. This affects your bowel movements. However, kohlrabi contains a level of fiber content that gives the right amount of bulk to your stool, treats and prevents constipation, reduces any bloating, and makes you poop at regular times, thus keeping your digestive system healthy.
7. Bone Health
One cup of kohlrabi gives you 24 mg of calcium, about 2.5% of the RDA, which isn’t much but contributes to your bone health along with its bountiful minerals. Eating kohlrabi as part of a healthy diet, along with a good fitness regime, can help you prevent issues like osteoporosis.
8. Eye Care
Kohlrabi contains 36 IU of vitamin A and 22 μg of beta-carotene, both of which contribute to keeping your eyesight healthy. Although these levels are minimal, the two nutrients can prevent cataracts and any degeneration in and around the eyes by fighting free radicals.8
Are we making kohlrabi sound like a superfood? Well, it does come close, so do all you can to eat enough of this veggie. The best time to buy kohlrabi is from fall to spring. Buy ones with unblemished skin. Store the leaves in a plastic cover in a dry place and the actual vegetable in the refrigerator. Add to a salad, eat raw with a little bit of olive oil, boil, saute, or roast it, make a curry… the possibilities are many. Eat tasty but healthy with this amazing vegetable to keep your health in check.
|↑1||Statistics for Different Kinds of Cancer. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑2||Verhoeven, Dorette T., R. Alexandra Goldbohm, Geert van Poppel, Hans Verhagen, and Piet A. van den Brandt. “Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk.” Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers 5, no. 9 (1996): 733-748.|
|↑3, ↑4||Jung, Hyun Ah, Subash Karki, Na-Yeon Ehom, Mi-Hee Yoon, Eon Ji Kim, and Jae Sue Choi. “Anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects of green and red kohlrabi cultivars (Brassica oleracea var. gongylodes).” Preventive nutrition and food science 19, no. 4 (2014): 281.|
|↑5, ↑8||Basic Report: 11241, Kohlrabi, raw. USDA.|
|↑6||Warne, L. G. G. “Kohlrabi as a source of vitamin C.” British medical journal 1, no. 4237 (1942): 387.|
|↑7||Haddy, Francis J., Paul M. Vanhoutte, and Michel Feletou. “Role of potassium in regulating blood flow and blood pressure.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 290, no. 3 (2006): R546-R552.|