The amazing health benefits of turnips

From promoting skin radiance to supporting gut health, these humble root vegetables pack a powerful nutritional punch


The amazing health benefits of turnips

3 minute read

Turnips derive from the brassicaceae family, which includes veggies such as cauliflower, kale, cabbage and broccoli. While several of the latter have had some rather extensive PR and nutritional accolades in more recent times, it could be said that the turnip has somewhat missed out. As it happens, this seemingly unassuming root veg is something rather triumphant after all. Turnips have some pretty impressive nutritional stats. They are a great source of vitamin C, which is important for skin health and managing inflammation, and they provide an excellent amount of fibre which supports gut health. If we include the tops, we add vitamin K and calcium for bone and cardiovascular health. Like other brassica veggies, turnips contain antioxidants, which help manage inflammation and protect against cellular damage.

They are one of our most abundant indigenous veggies and, with their vibrant violet bottoms, are unmistakable. They tend to be seasonal, and prime harvests happen during autumn and spring months as they thrive in colder climes. Depending on their size and variety, you can use the baby versions finely sliced raw in salads, or simply cut into chunks and roasted in the oven. They’re also delicious boiled and blended into a puree with seasoning and a hint of Parmesan cheese to soften the bitter flavour. Another way is to finely slice, drizzle with oil and make into vegetable chips.

Don’t discard the leaves – they are packed with nutrition and flavour. In Italy, they grow a specific type of turnip for its leaves – the cima di rapa variety literally means ‘turnip top’. It is simply heavenly wilted and then tossed in liberal amounts of cold-pressed olive oil and garlic. In Puglia, this is traditionally served with orecchiette pasta, as well as eaten as a delicious side dish. Bellissimo!

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Image: Getty