Top 5 Health Benefits of Rutabaga!

Rutabaga is a root vegetable, also known as swede and is a relative to the more commonly known turnip, originating from Russia and Scandinavia. In European cooking is it typically baked, boiled and mashed or roasted. It’s also commonly used in Asian dishes such as ‘Japanese root vegetable stew’ and ‘Ginger and coconut rutabaga stew’ – so basically to bulk-out soups and stew-type dishes. It has half the number of calories of a sweet potato so you could eat twice the amount of rutabaga fries for the same amount of calories; does that shout weight loss to you? Then you’ll want to read on for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Rutabaga!

1. High in Vitamin C
Rutabaga contains around 40% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential part of your diet and plays many roles but doesn’t store in your body so it’s important to obtain it through what you eat. It contributes to your healthy skin, bones, blood vessels and cartilage, as well as the healing of injuries, so you can see how this root is a valuable food source.

2. Good source of dietary fibre
Dietary fibre is something you can often overlook with a large proportion of the UK and other Western populations not getting enough of it in their diets. Fibre contributes greatly towards healthy digestion and regular bowel movements which are key to your optimal physical functioning. Its intake has clearly been shown to reduce the risk of bowel cancer. Dietary fibre can also contribute to weight loss, as it keeps you feeling fuller for longer, making you less likely to reach for snacks throughout the day.

3. Low-calorie alternative
As mentioned above, there are many ways in which you can cook rutabaga, just as you would potatoes. A huge plus is that rutabaga contains half the calories of white potatoes, so using rutabaga as a potato alternative can certainly aid in weight loss or help you maintain a healthy weight.

4. Helps to regulate blood pressure
Too much dietary salt can increase your blood pressure by putting a strain on your heart and blood vessels. This increases the risk of hypertension (high blood pressure) and heart disease. Consuming rutabaga can help regulate and maintain a healthy blood pressure due to its potassium content at 309mg per 100g.

5. Helps reduce calcium losses
The abundant amount of potassium in rutabaga also contributes to healthy bone mass. When potassium is digested, it helps reduce your loss of bodily calcium. Calcium maintained within your body means there is more of it available to support healthy bone mass. Ensuring healthy bone mass early on in life is essential for healthy bones in later life. Osteoporosis is a condition that develops due to weak bones and menopausal women are the highest risk group. Adding more potassium-rich foods to your diet can help maintain calcium levels and reduce the risk of bone fractures.

Why not try rutabaga? Get online and check out the vast variety of different recipes for soups, fries, stews, mash, curries and much more! It’s low calorie, cheap, pretty cheerful and packed with a host of solid nutrients, what’s not to like about this great veggie! Big fan? Let us know what you think about this diet-friendly food by commenting below, joining in the conversation on Facebook and following us on Twitter and Instagram. (Check out these other root veggies: beetroot, yacon, daikon  and celeriac to help you get and Keep YOUR Fit ON!) 

Sumaiyah Karim

Sumaiyah's passion for health and fitness has come from her BSc in Public Health Nutrition. She's currently finishing her MSc in Nutrition in Practice and is a registered nutritionist with the Association for Nutrition and works with clients alongside her studies. She loves helping people to live a healthier life and to keep fit by regularly attending the gym and enjoys weight lifting to keep active and toned. She's also aware of the impact that social media has so you can also find her on Instagram: @nutrition.with.sumaiyah - yep, that's her with the headscarf!

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