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Turnips are an excellent source of Vitamin B6 which is essential for a healthy immune system as well as central nervous system. Turnips are very high in Vitamin C and may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. An excellent source of fiber

Where are Turnips Grown and How to Grow Them?

The turnip was a very established crop in Roman and Hellenistic times and it is assumed that it originates further back than that; however there are no records to indicate that.  Turnips are close relatives of the radish which were found in Europe and Asia in that area and it is thought that is when they became domesticated.  The greens of the turnip are as edible as the root itself is; the turnip is a versatile vegetable and has many uses.
 

Turnips are generally grow best in colder climates, specifically the colder parts of Europe, where they can be grown and stored for many months after they are harvested.  A great portion of turnips are grown in Canada and Mexico which are then exported to the United States to be sold as a food item, however they are grown quite well in the average garden, planted in mid-June.

The first step to growing turnips is deciding upon the variety of turnip you wish to grow; the most popular are the white globe with purple top turnips which are medium in size.  Most people start with plant beds for turnips using a mixture of sand and soil to start the seeds and begin the rooting process.  They are planted in the ground six inches apart and in rows at least twelve inches apart.  Weeding is essential to keep the weeds from choking out the turnip plants.  Turnips are harvested when they are approximately four to five inches around; if they are allowed to get any larger they take on a woody taste and are not suitable for eating.  Turnips can be stored for several months if they are kept in a cool, dry area.  The greens of the turnip can be cut and cooked or refrigerated for several weeks.
 

Nutrients Found in Turnips

Turnips are an excellent source of Vitamin B6 which is essential for a healthy immune system as well as central nervous system.  Turnips are very high in Vitamin C; in a study performed by Harvard Medical School, it showed that increasing dietary antioxidants, such as Vitamin C may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).  Turnips are an excellent source of fiber which is essential in maintaining a healthy digestive system and can help prevent colon cancer.
 

Healthy ways to Prepare Turnips

Turnips can be prepared and served many healthy ways; eating them raw, most certainly will give you the highest amount of vitamins offered by the vegetable; grating them thinly into a salad is one way to get the most out of the turnip.  Steaming or boiling turnips until they are tender is the most popular way turnips are served; once cooked they can be mashed or served in chunks, as you would a potato.  Roasting turnips with a bit of olive oil and seasoning is also a healthy way to prepare them; the flavor of the turnip is sweetened while the vitamins are still quite potent. 
 

Read More: The Anti-Cancer And Other Properties Of Carrots

Health Benefits of Turnips

The high Vitamin C content in turnips, which is a natural antioxidant, is especially beneficial in promoting a strong immune system by helping to fight off free radicals that damage cells and cause infections and are linked to many cancers.  Turnips are low in cholesterol and saturated fats; this food is quite helpful in preventing heart related diseases.  They are an excellent source of dietary fiber which is helpful in maintaining a healthy colon and digestive system.  In an article published by the Harvard Medical School states that increasing dietary fiber in your diet helps to lower cholesterol naturally.

Turnips are not only a healthy choice of food, but they are also versatile and can be served many ways to satisfy your taste.  

  • Jonny Bowden Ph.D. (2007). The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth: The Surprising, Unbiased Truth About What You Should Eat and Why. Fair Winds Press. Gloucester.
  • Photo courtesy of Daryoush on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/daryoush/185277/.