Turnips resemble potatoes in texture and appearance but exude a bitter flavor that pairs well with sweet meat like pork. This root vegetable can be found year-round in the produce section but is in season from October through March in most areas. Adding turnips to your diet provides you with a number of vitamins and minerals to benefit your overall health.
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One cup of mashed turnips contains about 27 mg of vitamin C, an antioxidant. Adults should consume between 75 and 90 mg of vitamin C daily -- for women and men, respectively -- to support tissue repair and immunity. Turnips also provide most of the B vitamins, including riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. One cup also has 0.2 mg of the 1.3 mg of vitamin B6 you need daily. The B vitamins help with fat, carbohydrate and protein metabolism; nervous system function; and healthy skin, hair, eyes and liver.
Turnips have 76 mg of calcium per mashed cup – about 8 percent of the recommended daily value. You also get 407 mg of potassium, essential to healthy blood pressure and fluid balance, per cup. You need about 4,700 mg of potassium daily. Turnips also contain small amounts of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, manganese and selenium.
Fiber and Calories
With just 51 calories per mashed cup, turnips are a lower calorie choice than an equivalent amount of boiled potatoes, with almost 200 calories. The cup of turnips provides almost 5 g of fiber -- a significant amount, considering women need 25 grams each day and men need 38 grams daily. Fiber can help you feel full, especially helpful if you are watching your calorie intake. In addition, fiber promotes a healthy digestive tract and low cholesterol.
Buy turnips with their tops intact, as the greens contain a wealth of nutrients. The dark leafy greens offer more than a day’s worth of vitamins A and K. In addition, the greens provide folate and vitamin C. Turnip greens are a source of calcium, with 197 mg per boiled cup. They'll also boost your intake of dietary fiber and iron, as well as carbohydrates for energy.