Kohlrabi : nutrition, shocking 3 medical uses & adverse effects

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Kohlrabi Nutritional Profile

• Energy value (calories per serving): Low
• Protein: High
• Fat: Low
• Saturated fat: Low
• Cholesterol: None
• Carbohydrates: High
• Fiber: High
• Sodium: Low
• Major vitamin contribution: B vitamins, vitamin C
• Major mineral contribution: Calcium, iron, phosphorus

How Many Nutrients in This Food

• Kohlrabi (“cabbage-turnip”) is a cruciferous vegetable, a thick bulb-like stem belonging to the cabbage family. It is high in dietary fiber, especially the insoluble cellulose and lignin found in stems, leaves, roots, seeds and peel.

• Kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, with small amounts of iron.

• One-half cup cooked, sliced Kohlrabi has 0.9 g dietary fiber, 45 mg vitamin C (60 percent of the RDA for a woman, 50 percent of the RDA for a man), and 0.3 mg iron (2 percent of the RDA for a woman, 4 percent of the RDA for a man).

How To Serve Nutritious Kohlrabi Food

• Steamed just until tender, to protect the vitamin C.

Diets That May Restrict or Exclude Kohlrabi Food

• Antiflatulence diet
• Low-fiber, low-residue diet

How To Buying This Food

Look for:

Small vegetables with fresh-looking green leaves on top.


Very mature kohlrabi. The older the stem, the more cellulose and lignin it contains. Very old kohlrabi may have so much fiber that it is inedible.

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How To Storing This Food

Cut off the green tops.

Then, store kohlrabi in a cold, humid place (a root cellar or the refrigerator) to keep it from drying out. Save and refrigerate the kohlrabi’s green leaves. They can be cooked and eaten like spinach.

When You Are Ready to Cook kohlrabi Food

• Wash the kohlrabi under running water, using a vegetable brush to remove dirt and debris. Then peel the root and slice or quarter it for cooking.

What Happens When You Cook Kohlrabi Food

• Cooking softens kohlrabi by dissolving its soluble food fibers. Like other cruciferous vegetables, kohlrabi contains natural sulfur compounds that break down into a variety of smelly chemicals (including hydrogen sulfide and ammonia) when the vegetables are heated.

• Kohlrabi is nowhere near as smelly as some of the other crucifers, but this production of smelly compounds is intensified by long cooking or by cooking the vegetable in an aluminum pot.

• Adding a slice of bread to the cooking water may lessen the odor; keeping a lid on the pot will stop the smelly molecules from floating off into the air.


Medical Uses and/or Benefits Of Kohlrabi

Protection against certain cancers.

Naturally occurring chemicals (indoles, isothiocyanate, glucosinolates, dithiolethiones, and phenols) in kohlrabi, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables appear to reduce the risk of some cancers, perhaps by preventing the formation of carcinogens in your body or by blocking cancer causing substances from reaching or reacting with sensitive body tissues or by inhibiting the transformation of healthy cells to malignant ones.

• All cruciferous vegetables contain sulforaphane, a member of a family of chemicals known as isothiocyanates. In experiments with laboratory rats, sulforaphane appears to increase the body’s production of phase-2 enzymes, naturally occurring substances that inactivate and help eliminate carcinogens.

• At the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, 69 percent of the rats injected with a chemical known to cause mammary cancer developed tumors vs. only 26 percent of the rats given the carcinogenic chemical plus sulforaphane.

• In 1997, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that broccoli seeds and three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain a compound converted to sulforaphane when the seed and sprout cells are crushed.

• Five grams of three-day-old broccoli sprouts contain as much sulforaphane as 150 grams of mature broccoli. The sulforaphane levels in other cruciferous vegetables have not yet been calculated.

High in antioxidants

Kohlrabi contains a wide array of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, anthocyanins, isothiocyanates, and glucosinolates. These are plant compounds that protect your cells against free radical damage that may otherwise increase your risk of disease.

Diets high in antioxidant-rich vegetables like kohlrabi are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, metabolic disease, and premature death.

The skin of purple kohlrabi is particularly high in anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that gives vegetables and fruit a red, purple, or blue color. High intake of anthocyanins is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and mental decline.

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Promotes a healthy gut

Kohlrabi is high in fiber. In fact, you can get about 17% of your daily fiber needs from a single cup (135 grams) of this vegetable.

It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.

The former is water-soluble and helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. On the other hand, insoluble fiber isn’t broken down in your intestine, helping add bulk to your stool and promoting regular bowel movements .

What’s more, fiber is the main fuel source of healthy gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which nourish the cells of your gut and may protect against heart disease and obesity

Adverse Effects Associated with Kohlrabi Food

Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter).

Cruciferous vegetables, including kohlrabi, contain goitrin, thiocyanate, and isothiocyanate. These chemicals, known collectively as goitrogens, inhibit the formation of thyroid hormones and cause the thyroid to enlarge in an attempt to produce more.

• Goitrogens are not hazardous for healthy people who eat moderate amounts of cruciferous vegetables, but they may pose problems for people who have a thyroid condition or are taking thyroid medication.


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