by Jenna Koroly, MS, RD, CSOWM, CDN
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].
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!
[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