Turnis : nutrition, shocking medical use & 1 adverse effects


See also Greens.

Turnis Nutritional Profile

• Energy value (calories per serving): Low
• Protein: Moderate
• Fat: Low
• Saturated fat: Low
• Cholesterol: None
• Carbohydrates: High
• Fiber: High
• Sodium: Moderate
• Major vitamin contribution: Vitamin A, vitamin C
• Major mineral contribution: Calcium

How Many Nutrients in This Food

• White turnips and rutabagas (which are members of the same plant family) are taproots of plants belonging to the cabbage family (cruciferous vegetables).

• The white turnip is a creamy globe, tinged with a rose at the top and capped with greens that may be used on their own as a rich source of calcium (see greens). The rutabaga is a large globe with bumpy tan skin and a yellow interior.

• The outside of the rutabaga is usually waxed to keep the vegetable from drying out on the way to market.
Both turnips and rutabagas are moderately good sources of fiber, pectin, and sugars. They have no starch, some protein, a trace of fat, and no cholesterol.

• One-half cup mashed boiled turnips has two grams dietary fiber and 13 mg vitamin C (17 percent of the RDA for a woman, 14 percent of the RDA for a man). One-half cup mashed boiled rutabaga has 2.2 g dietary fiber and 22.6 mg vitamin C (30 percent of the RDA for a woman, 25 percent of the RDA for a man).

How To Serve Nutritious Food

White turnips.

Raw or steamed, to preserve the vitamin C. The peeled
raw turnip may be grated into a salad or eaten like an apple.


Steamed as quickly as possible, to protect the vitamin C.

Diets That May Restrict or Exclude Turnis

• Low-fiber diet
• Low-sodium diet (white turnips)

How To Buying This Food

Look for:

Firm, smooth, medium-sized white turnips with fresh green leaves on top. Choose smoothly waxed, medium-sized rutabagas with smooth, unscarred skin.


White turnips with wilted greens or rutabagas with mold on the surface.

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How To Storing This Food

Pull all the leaves off a white turnip, wash them, and store them separately in a plastic bag. (For information about preparing turnip greens, see greens.) Refrigerate the turnips in the vegetable crisper. Waxed rutabagas may be stored in a cool, dark cabinet.

How To Preparing Turnis Food

White turnips.

Wash the turnips under cool running water and peel to just under the line that separates the peel from the flesh.


Cut the vegetables into quarters (or smaller pieces if necessary) and then cut away the waxed rind.

What Happens When You Cook turnis

• When turnips and rutabagas are cooked, the pectins in their cells walls dissolve and the vegetable softens.
Like other cruciferous vegetables, turnips and rutabagas contain mustard oils bound to sugar molecules.

• These compounds are activated when you cook a turnip or rutabaga or cut into it, damaging its cell walls and releasing enzymes that separate the sugar and oil compounds into their smelly components (which include hydrogen sulfide, the chemical that makes rotten eggs smell rotten).

• Compared to the mustard oils in cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli, the ones in turnips and rutabagas are very mild. They produce only a faint odor when these vegetables are cut or cooked, but the longer you cook a turnip or rutabaga, the more smelly chemicals you will produce and the stronger the taste and odor will be.

• Cooking white turnips in an aluminum or iron pot will darken the turnips or discolor the pot. The turnips contain pale anthoxanthin pigments that interact with metal ions escaping from the surface of the pot to form brown or yellow compounds.

• Rutabagas, which get their color from carotenes that are impervious to the heat of normal cooking, stay bright yellow in any pot.

How Other Kinds of Processing Affect Turnis


Crisp fruit and vegetables like apples, carrots, potatoes, turnips, and rutabagas snap when you break or bite into them because their cells are so full of moisture that they pop when the cell walls are broken.

• When these vegetables are cooked and frozen, the water inside their cells turns into ice crystals that tear cell membranes so that the moisture inside leaks out when the vegetable is defrosted and the cells collapse inward, which is the reason defrosted turnips and rutabagas, like defrosted carrots and potatoes, have a mushy texture.


Medical Uses and/or Benefits Of Turnis

Lower risk of cancer.

Naturally occurring chemicals (indoles, isothiocyanates, glucosinolates, dithiolethiones, and phenols) in cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, 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.

Adverse Effects Associated with Turnis

Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter).

• Cruciferous vegetables, including turnips, contain goitrogens, chemicals that 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 thyroid disorders. The goitrogens in turnips are progoitrin and gluconasturtin.

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Food/Drug Interactions In Turnis

False-positive test for occult blood in the stool.

The active ingredient in the guaiac slide test for hidden blood in feces is alphaguaiaconic acid, a chemical that turns blue in the presence of blood.

• Alphaguaiaconic acid also turns blue in the presence of peroxidase, a chemical that occurs naturally in turnips. Eating turnips in the 72 hours before taking the guaiac test may produce a false-positive result in people who do not actually have any blood in their stool.


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