Health benefits of Turnip Greens

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Turnip greens Quick Facts
Name: Turnip greens
Scientific Name: Brassica rapa (Rapifera Group)
Origin It is inherent throughout Europe, Central Asia, Russia and the Near East, with Europe projected as one center of origin.
Calories 18 Kcal./cup
Major nutrients Vitamin K (115.08%)
Vitamin A (45.43%)
Vitamin C (36.67%)
Vitamin B9 (26.75%)
Copper (21.44%)
Health benefits Antioxidant activity, Eliminate free radicals, Healthy heart, Bone health, Supports vision
Turnip greens are the leaves of plant turnip which is also known as turnip tops. Turnip plants are grown in wide range commercially. It is cultivated generally for its roots rather than leaves. Beside its roots, leaves could be used in variety of dishes.

Turnip officially belongs to the scientific species or genus known as Brassica rapa which consists of various subspecies that has been cultivated widely such as napa cabbage, turnip, turnip rape, cime di rapa and mizuna. This group consists of many varieties of turnip which is classified in terms of the color of root. Turnip with white roots includes varieties such as Egg White, Snowball and Tokyo Cross. Orange or yellow root includes Orange Jelly, Golden Globe and Petrowski. Red roots include Red Root, Scarlet Queen and Red Round. Purple root varieties include Royal Crown, Purple Top White Globe and Milan featuring lower white half and purple top half.

Turnips are vegetable that have been domesticated before 15th century BC. The wild forms of hot turnip and its relatives such as radishes and mustards are found over Europe and West Asia which suggest its domestication took place in that area. Romans and Greeks considered that the turnip is very highly and developed various new varieties. Early European settlers and colonists introduced turnips to North America. It cultivated well in South and was widely popular food in local cuisines of this region.

History of Turnip Greens

Turnips are a historical veggie which is considered to have been grown nearly 4,000 years back within the Near East. Both Greeks and also Romans believed extremely of the turnip and also created numerous brand new types. Its prevalent popularity in Europe continues, even though since the creation of the potato, it really is significantly less broadly grown than it was previously.

Turnips were launched into North America from the earlier European residents as well as colonists. They grew well within the South and have become a well-known food items in the local delicacies of the region. Turnip greens, that became a fundamental element of Southern African-American delicacies, are believed to have been used into this food culture due to the role they performed throughout the times of slavery. Apparently, the slave owners would reserve the turnip roots for themselves, leaving behind the leaves for the slaves. As Western African cuisine typically utilizes a wide selection of green leaves in the cooking, the African slaves used turnip greens as an alternative and included them in foodways.


Turnip is a biennial and herbaceous plant which grows upto 1 meter high. Stems are gray to blue, gray to green, glaucous and glabrous. It has thin taproot which measures 10 cm long. It has rarely 10 basal leaves. Leaves are smooth, soft hairy, deeply lobed and are upto 50 cm long. An upper leaves are subentire, sessile, oblong lanceolate in shape and is constricted above base. An inflorescence is an elongated raceme. Flowers form densely in clusters. Flowers are regular and bisexual. The blooming period occurs between late spring to early fall. Each flower measures 1/3 to ½ inches across and consists of four yellow petals, yellow sepals, stamens and a pistil with single style. Sepals are spreading, yellow to green measuring 5 to 8 mm long. Obovate petals are 0.5 to 1 cm long, clawed and are bright yellow in color. It has six stamens with cylindrical, superior ovary which is two celled. Flowers are replaced by a fruit which a linear silique is measuring 4 to 10 cm by 2 to 4 mm having tapering beak with 30 seeded. Seeds are globose in shape, finely reticulate, dark brown and are about 1 to 1.5 mm in diameter.

Types of Turnip plants

Gardeners all over the United States as well as Canada grow turnips within their home gardens. Turnips are probably the few crops which are cultivated for just two distinctive parts: roots and leaves. Several turnip varieties have been carefully bred particularly to create delicious leaves, while some create big. Delicious roots. Couple of varieties creates both, so when you intend to consume turnip greens, variety selection is an essential action.

1. All-Top Turnip Greens

This particular variety creates a higher yield of leafy greens, yet doesn’t generate delicious roots. All-Top is actually a rapid grower, maturing in approximately 35 days and is also versatile to the wide selection of environments. The majority of areas can hold both spring and also fall crops. Seven-top is really a comparable variety displaying sufficient, dark-green leaves which mature in 40 days. All-top is resistant against mosaic, a typical illness affecting greens.

2. Alamo Turnip Greens

Alamo Turnip GreensAlamo is actually a crossbreed turnip green variety. Suitable for processing by the University of Delaware, Alamo is extremely flexible as well as grows as well in Texas since it does in New England. This particular variety doesn’t create delicious roots.


3. Topper Turnip Greens

Topper Turnip GreensTopper produces a energetic crop of heavy, green leaves which regrow rapidly as soon as the first harvest. Maturation in 35 days, this particular variety in addition creates delicious, pale-green roots. Topper is probably the most cold-tolerant types and is also resistant against aphids, mosaic and downy mildew.


4. Shogoin Turnip Greens

Shogoin Turnip GreensMaturation in 42 days, Shogoin creates soft, mild-tasting leaves. The white roots are also delicious whenever younger; however turn out to be inedible as the plants mature. Shogoin is resistant against mosaic and downy mildew, and is also an excellent variety for fall planting.


Health Benefits of Turnip greens

Turnip greens are loaded with impressive amounts of antioxidants such as glucosinolate which helps to counteract many diseases. Glucosinolate is a large group of sulfur which contains glucoside molecules and is well known for its ability to counteract cancer as it production of healthy cells and stimulate cell death within cancerous human tumors. Turnip greens have two vital glucosinolates. Glucotropaeolin and Gluconasturtiian are responsible for various health benefits. These greens are an excellent source of minerals and vitamins such as Vitamin A, Vitamin K, calcium and Vitamin C. It contains 10 times more amount of Vitamin A in comparison to cabbage and 10 times more calcium in comparison to cauliflower.

  1. Antioxidant activity

Leaves contain high content of antioxidants. The studies shows that diet rich in antioxidants which assist in counteracting various illness such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disease and Parkinson’s disease. It has antioxidants such as quercetin, beta carotene and myricetin which fight with free radical damage and slows down aging. These greens promotes immune function and lower the chances of oxidative stress which is caused by free radicals.

  1. Eliminate free radicals

The damage caused by free radicals increases the risk of development of cancerous cells. Turnip greens have high content of glucosinolates found in studies having inverse relationship with rectal and colon cancers. Animal studies shows that intake of food rich in glucosinolates is related with lower enzyme activities that leads to cell mutation and DNA damage which results in growth of cancerous tumor. Other studies show that turnip greens have high content of Vitamin C and Vitamin A that prevents the body from cancer. According to studies leafy greens helps to prevent breast cancer, bladder cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

  1. Healthy heart

An intake of cruciferous vegetable is related with lowering the chances of heart disease in men and women. It is associated with lowering the chances of cardiovascular disease mortality. Turnip greens have high content of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, folate and various phytochemicals that have positive affect on heart health through various biological pathways. Oxidative damage and bad cholesterol is the major factor for the development of heart disease. Turnip greens help to lower the level of LDL cholesterol, oxidative stress, homocysteine, inflammation and lowers high blood pressure which are the contributing factors of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Fiber and folate found in turnip greens that helps to protect cardiovascular health. Fiber lowers the level of LDL cholesterol and Vitamin B prevents buildup of homocysteine in arteries.

  1. Bone health

One cup of cooked turnip greens contains 600 percent of daily intake of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is vital to maintain bone health and prevent breaking of bones. Deficiency of Vitamin K is related to increase in chances of hip fractures in women and men. An intake of leafy greens is associated with bone mineral density. Study found out the women with low intake of Vitamin K had considerably low bone mineral density. The aged people have thin bones due to which consumption of ample amounts of whole foods as well as exercising is essential to lower the chances of osteoporosis, bone breaks and pain.

  1. Supports vision

Turnip greens possess carotenoid antioxidants such as lutein, beta carotene and zeaxanthin that help to protect eyes. Zeaxanthin and Lutein are the two carotenoids in retina and human macula which is natural pigments usually found in colored fruits as well as green leafy vegetables. Antioxidants prevent the development of eye diseases such as macular degeneration as it absorbs damaging blue light which enters the eye. Though the effects are unclear, research shows that antioxidants block light damage when once absorbed which helps to lower effects of light scatter on visual performance an protect from photochemical reactions that damages the eye.

  1. Diabetes treatment

The studies show that high consumption of antioxidants from various fruits and vegetables helps to manage diabetic complications. Antioxidants help to defend body from diabetes and lower the chances of complications such as heart disease and eye disorders. The high presence of free radicals results to damage of cellular enzymes which lead to the development of resistance of insulin becoming the main cause of diabetes and metabolic syndrome. In diabetic patients, free radicals are formed by oxidation of glucose and have increase in level of free radicals. Diabetic people suffer from cataracts, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and also struggle with weight gain and inflammation. Antioxidants help to control these health problems by reducing oxidative stress.

  1. Enhance cognition

Oxidative damage of fatty nerve tissue is related with increase in chances of various forms of brain disorders and nervous system such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Sulforaphanes is an antioxidant which protects brain health and cognitive function as it possess cyto-protective effects for oxidative stress. The animal studies shows that cruciferous vegetables having sulforaphane provided neuro protective effects in oxidative stress.

  1. Mood and sleep

Choline is present in Turnip greens which are a vital nutrient that assists muscle movement, sleep, memory and learning. It maintains structure of cellular membranes, assist fat absorption, supports transmission of nerve impulses and lower chronic inflammation. It has folate which assists depression with the prevention of excess homocysteine from forming in the body. Homocysteine prevents the nutrients and blood from reaching the brain. Excess presence of homocysteine hinder with the production of good hormones serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. These hormones regulate sleep, mood and appetite.

  1. Treat atherosclerosis

High presence of free radicals in the body causes oxidation of bad cholesterol and platelets in body that leads to atherosclerosis which is a condition of blood vessel damage. Beta carotene, Vitamin C and Vitamin E are found in turnip a green which acts as antioxidants that counteracts free radicals in the body. The daily intake of turnips prevents the progression and development of atherosclerosis.

  1. Treat torn feet

Use turnip externally to treat torn feet. Boil 12 turnips with leaves in water and soak feet in this boiled water with turnips for about 10 minutes before going to bed and rub turnips on torn skin of foot. Use it regularly for three days to make the feet soft and repair skin. Leaves of turnip assist in elimination of wrinkles on feet.

Traditional uses

The decoction prepared from leaves or stems of Turnip is used to treat cancer.

How to Buy Turnip Greens

  • In case the greens are connected to the turnips, choose the ones that seem fresh, dark green and crisp. They appear much like spinach leaves.
  • However, it really is recommended that you simply buy turnip greens which are sold individually. As the big roots may have bitter leaves, the smaller ones may have better leaves, ideal for ingesting.
  • Avoid turnip greens which are yellow or even wilted since they are a sign of older stock. In addition, don’t buy greens which have spots and therefore are wilted.

Turnip Greens Storage Tips

  • In case you’ve bought greens with their roots connected, split them through the roots.
  • Wrap the greens in the moist towel and put them in a plastic material bag. Squash out just as much air as you possibly can through the bag and keep them within the very coldest section of the refrigerator exactly where they’ll continue for as much as four days.
  • Never keep turnips as well as turnip greens with each other.
  • For best flavor as well as taste, take in the greens as quickly as possible since they have a tendency to lose their nutrition rapidly.

How to Eat         

  • Since prehistoric times, in Europe, it is consumed as greens which resemble the flavor of mustard flavor.
  • Add leaves to salads.
  • Sautéed turnip greens with lemon juice, soy sauce and cayenne pepper.
  • Cook turnip greens and serve it with rice and beans.
  • Sauté sweet potatoes, turnip greens and tofu. Serve with favorite grain.
  • Make vegetarian lasagna by adding turnip greens and spinach.


  • Allergic people should avoid its consumption.
  • Consume it in moderate amounts.
  • Turnip greens contains oxalates so the people with gall bladder or kidney problems should prevent its frequent usage.






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