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Health Benefits of Turnip ‘Shalgam’

Finding its origin in middle and eastern asia, turnip commonly known as ‘Shalgam’ in Hindi are cruciferous root vegetables. Eaten raw in salads or pickled, and as a vegetable, turnips offer some potentially amazing health benefits for people suffering from cancer, blood pressure, eyes, bones etc. 

The common types of turnip are red, purple, or greenish externally with a creamy white-fleshed bulb. Turnips are conical root vegetables that have a pungent taste. Turnips have smooth skin without side roots or scars.

Nutritional facts of Shalgam

As per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, 1 cup of raw turnip contains 36.4 cal, 0.13 gm of fats, 8.36 gm of carbohydrates, 1.17 gm of proteins, 2.34 gm of fiber, 39 mg of calcium, 0.39 mg of iron, 14.3 mg of magnesium, 35.1 mg of phosphorus, 0.13 mcg of vitamin K, 87.1 mg of sodium, 0.351 mg of zinc, 27.3 mg of vitamin C, and 19.5 mcg of folates.

Possible Health Benefits of Turnips

1/5. Reduces cancer risk

1. Turnips contain several plant compounds which possess cancer-fighting properties. 

2. The high vitamin C content of turnips helps in preventing the spread and growth of cancer cells.

3. The high content of glucosinolates is linked with a lower risk of different types of cancers such as rectal, colon, and lung cancers.

4. The high amount of flavonoids present in shalgam has antioxidant properties with anticancer effects.

2/5. Promotes Weight Loss

1. The extract from turnips prevents lipid deposition in fat cells thus, reducing body weight. 

2. Turnips are low in calories and have a low glycemic index. 

3. The high dietary fiber present in shalgam increases satiety and thus, keeps hunger at bay. 

3/5. Lowers blood pressure

1. Shalgam is a good source of potassium which helps in reducing blood pressure by releasing sodium from the body and by enhancing dilatation of the arteries.

2. The dietary nitrate content offers several benefits towards the health of the blood vessels such as lowering blood pressure and preventing the sticking of platelets. 

4/5. Promotes bone health

1. The glucosinolate content of shalgam helps in bone formation thus, preventing osteoporosis. 

2. The calcium content of turnip helps promote bone health.

3. The vitamin K content helps in promoting bone metabolism, lowering the risk of fractures, promotes enhancing bone density, and promoting calcium absorption. 

5/5. Other possible health Benefits

Apart from the health benefits mentioned above, some of the other benefits produced by turnip are promotes liver health, improves heart health, maintains gut health, relieves intestinal problems, controls blood sugar levels, provides anti-inflammatory effects, protects against harmful bacteria, promotes eye health, possesses anti-diabetic properties, promotes healthy skin and hair, reduces anaemia, improves memory, and helps during pregnancy.

A superfood, turnips are a good source of vitamin B6, folate, calcium, potassium, copper, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and manganese. On the other sides, there are a few side effects of turnips, Being high in Vitamin K, they can lead to blood clot faster than normal. Also, being high in potassium, people who have kidney issues should consult their doctors before consuming turnip ‘shalgam’.

How to incorporate Turnips in the Diet?

Turnips can be consumed raw or cooked. They can be baked, grilled, or roasted. Some of the ways by which turnips can be added to the diet are as follows:

  • As salads.
  • Baked into chips.
  • As a side dish.
  • Added to mashed potatoes.
  • As turnip juice.

How to prepare Shalgam Masala? 

Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large pan. 

Add 1 large chopped onion. Cook and stir until soft for approximately 10 minutes. 

Stir in 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste and add 2 small green chile peppers, seeded and chopped. Cook for approximately 1 minute.

Add 2 chopped tomatoes, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, and salt into the saucepan; mix well. 

Add 2 cups peeled and cubed turnips and 2/3 cup of hot water; stir well. Cover it and bring it to a boil.

Reduce heat and simmer till the turnips are tender, approximately for 20 to 30 minutes. 

Add 1 teaspoon brown sugar and coarsely mash the turnips.

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