You might not think much about turnips and beets, but these simple root veggies can do wonders for your health. As more people seek healthier food options, root vegetables like turnips and beets are gaining popularity.
In this article, we’ll break down what’s good about turnips and beets so you can see which one might be a better fit for your diet. We’ll help you understand the basics of these root veggies and how they can boost your health.
So, let’s dive in and find out which wins the turnip vs beet health benefits battle.
Beets And Turnips
Beets and turnips are two root vegetables available in most grocery shops and frequently used in cuisines. These edible greens can be eaten raw, but they are usually cooked.
Despite having somewhat overlapping applications and a similar appearance, the two have several significant differences.
Like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, arugula, and kale, turnips are a member of the Brassicaceae family. They have white flesh and a slightly sweet, earthy flavor but can be improved by cooking. Stews, soups, and roasted foods frequently contain turnips.
On the other hand, beets are also members of the Amaranthaceae family, like spinach and Swiss chard. Their flesh is a rich shade of crimson or purple and tastes sweet but earthy. Beets are frequently roasted, boiled, or pickled in salads, soups, and desserts.
Some varieties of beet turnips include Chioggia beets, baby beets, and golden beets.
Beets and turnips are low in calories and fat, making them a good choice if you watch your calorie intake. They are also a good source of carbohydrates, particularly dietary fiber, which aids digestion and helps maintain a feeling of fullness.
One raw cup of turnip greens has 36.4 calories, 8.6g of carbohydrates, 2.34g of fiber, and 19.5 mcg of folate1. In contrast, one cup of raw beet greens has 58.5 calories, 13g of carbohydrates, and 2.19g of protein2.
Turnips are rich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that supports the immune system and skin health. They are also a good source of Vitamin K, which plays a crucial role in blood clotting and bone health. Additionally, turnips contain folate, which is essential for cell division and DNA formation3,4.
Beets are known for their high vitamin C content. They also contain Vitamin B6, which is necessary for brain development and function5.
Turnips are high in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and muscle function. They also contain magnesium necessary for various bodily functions, including muscle and nerve function.
In parallel, beets are also rich in potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and maintain proper heart function. Additionally, they also provide a notable amount of iron, which is crucial for forming red blood cells and oxygen transport in the body.
Health Benefits Of Turnip
1. Blood Pressure Reduction
Foods containing dietary nitrates, such as turnips and collard greens, may have several advantages for the health of the blood arteries6. These include lowering blood pressure and preventing platelets in the blood from clumping together.
However, it’s worth noting that the long-term risks of a high-nitrate diet and its effects on cardiovascular health are still unknown.
2. Reducing the Risk of Cancer
Turnips, cauliflower, and cabbage are cruciferous vegetables which have been associated with a reduced risk of cancer. These vegetables contain various compounds that are believed to possess anti-cancer properties, and one of these compounds is 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM)7.
Foods containing the chemical sulforaphane may also be crucial in the fight against cancer. Sulforaphane is present in high concentrations in cruciferous vegetables.
Sulforaphane may interfere with the activity of histone deacetylase, an enzyme involved in the growth of cancer cells8.
3. Alleviating Gastrointestinal Issues
Episodes of inflammation or infection in the diverticula, which are small pouches or pockets that can develop in the lining of the colon (large intestine), can be reduced by consuming turnips and other fiber-rich foods. These foods promote water absorption in the colon, facilitating smoother bowel movements.
It is advisable to consult with a doctor before incorporating high-fiber foods into your diet. According to a 2012 study, if diverticulitis is asymptomatic, a high-fiber diet has little effect on a person’s chance of developing it9.
4. Aids in Weight Management
Turnips and other cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, which helps you feel satiated for longer. Eating meals high in fiber also helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
Turnips include fiber, which may help maintain regularity and prevent constipation for a healthy digestive system.
Health Benefits Of Beet
1. Blood Pressure and Heart Health
In 2015, a study of 68 people with high blood pressure tried drinking 250 milliliters of beetroot juice daily. The results showed that this lowered their blood pressure notably10.
The researchers think it’s because beet juice has lots of nitrate. They advise eating veggies with high nitrate content as a cheap and effective way to help with high blood pressure.
Beet greens are rich in an antioxidant known as alpha-lipoic acid, which can potentially reduce glucose levels and enhance insulin sensitivity.
In a comprehensive review conducted in 2019, various studies assessed the impact of alpha-lipoic acid on diabetic neuropathy symptoms. The findings revealed that oral and intravenous consumption of alpha-lipoic acid supplements reduced peripheral and autonomic neuropathy symptoms among individuals with diabetes11.
3. Increased Oxygen During Exercise
According to certain research, beetroot juice supplementation may increase the quantity of oxygen that muscles take in while exercising. In a 2019 study12, high amounts of beetroot juice helped experienced cyclists perform better in time trials.
4. Cancer Prevention
Beets contain certain substances that can prevent malignant cell mutations. Among these compounds are betalain, an antioxidant and the pigment that gives beets their characteristic red or yellow hue13.
Possible Downsides Of Turnips And Beets
It’s essential for people with a history of kidney stones or those at risk to consume beets in moderation and stay hydrated to reduce the risk of stone formation.
Beets contain oxalates14, compounds that can contribute to the formation of kidney stones. Cooking beets can help reduce oxalate content, making them safer for those concerned about kidney health.
Beets have a relatively high sugar content, primarily in the form of natural sugars. When consumed in large quantities, it may cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels15.
Turnips are a good source of dietary fiber, which can benefit digestion in moderate amounts.
However, excessive consumption of turnips, primarily when not used to a high-fiber diet, can lead to digestive discomfort, including gas and bloating.
Turnip vs Beet Health Benefits: Final Thoughts
In the world of root vegetables, beets and turnips both bring unique health benefits to the table. They are rich in vitamin C, which supports a healthy immune system. Beets offer antioxidants and vitamin B6 for heart and brain health, while turnips and greens provide vitamin K for bones and fiber for digestion.
However, it’s essential to consume them in moderation. Beets’ oxalates may concern those prone to kidney stones, and their sugar content can affect blood sugar. On the other hand, turnips’ high fiber can cause digestive discomfort if overindulged.
Incorporate both into your diet for a diverse range of nutrients, and enjoy the health benefits they offer while maintaining balance. Root for your health with turnips and beets!
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12 Rokkedal-Lausch T, Franch J, Poulsen MK, Thomsen LP, Weitzberg E, Kamavuako EN, Karbing DS, Larsen RG. Chronic high-dose beetroot juice supplementation improves time trial performance of well-trained cyclists in normoxia and hypoxia. Nitric Oxide. 2019 Apr 1;85:44-52. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2019.01.011. Epub 2019 Jan 24. PMID: 30685420.
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