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Rutabaga

Nutritional Content

One cup of this cruciferous vegetable contains 66 calories, 15 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 0 g fat, and 3 g fiber. Rutabagas are rich in vitamin C, with 53% of the daily value. They are also a good source of a variety of other vitamins and minerals, including potassium, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus [i].

Health Benefits

The relationship between cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention has been widely studied. Cruciferous vegetables contain active components including isothiocyanates and indole-3-carbinol. Results show that these influence carcinogenesis during the initiation and promotion phases, and thus are associated with cancer prevention [ii].

A 2013 animal study focused specifically on seeds, roots, and sprouts of rutabagas. The authors studied total phenolic concentrations, total flavonoid concentrations, and total antioxidant activity. They found antiproliferative and proapoptotic potential in tumor cells, particularly in rutabaga sprouts. As this is one animal study, it calls for more research on rutabaga-specific influence on cancer cells [iii].

With rutabagas containing primarily insoluble fiber, they may help promote bowel regularity and may decrease risk of diabetes. Fiber also increases satiety, may help maintain a healthy weight, and may be associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.

Ways to Eat

When using rutabagas in the kitchen, you can consider them similar to potatoes. Roast them, mash them, create rutabaga fries, or soup. As always, don’t miss our Savor Cook’s recipe of the month, featuring rutabagas!

References:

[i] Rutabagas, cooked, boiled, drained, without salt. Retrieved from https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2611/2

[ii] Murillo G & Mehta RG. (2001). Cruciferous vegetables and cancer prevention. Nutr Cancer, 41(1-2):17-28. doi: 10.1080/01635581.2001.9680607

[iii] Pasko P, Bukowska-Strakova K, Gdula-Argasinska J, Tyszka-Czochara M. (2013). Rutabaga (Brassica napus L. var. napobrassica) seeds, roots, and sprouts: a novel kind of food with antioxidant properties and proapoptotic potential in Hep G2 hepatoma cell line. J Med Food, 16(8):749-59. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2012.0250

Jenna Koroly, MS, RD, CDN

Jenna is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s of Science in Nutrition and Exercise Physiology from Teachers College, Columbia University. She has been a part of the Savor Health team since October 2016, and gained further clinical knowledge in oncology while performing nutrition assessments at Northern Westchester Hospital and Amsterdam Nursing Home as a dietetic intern. Jenna provides nutrition counseling for patients in Medical Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery settings at Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston. She is passionate about nutrition therapy and exercise for oncology patients.

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