Kohlrabi is a nutrient-rich vegetable of Eastern European origin. In the German language, it means “cabbage turnip.” This aptly describes the family it came from–cabbage. Kohlrabi’s appearance is almost a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. It has a turnip-shaped overgrown stem–the commonly eaten part–with leaves sprouting from it. There are several ways to prepare a kohlrabi. It can be eaten raw, grilled or stir-fried. Regardless of how it is prepared, kohlrabi has numerous health benefits.
1. Kohlrabi is Nutrient Dense
Kohlrabi is a nutrient dense food. It has a high nutrient-to-calorie ratio. The higher the nutrients are per calorie, the healthier the food. Nutrients are the good stuff that the body needs in order to perform its several processes. The trade-off in getting these nutrients is the calories. The best way to understand nutrient density is to compare it to value and cost. To be able to get valuable items (nutrients), at less than the cost (calories) is an excellent deal. A cup of raw kohlrabi only has 36 calories. Eating kohlrabi is a good way to get some of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamins and minerals, without going overboard in calorie intake. Excess calories that are not burned results to a weight gain.
2. Good for the Circulatory System
Kohlrabi is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. This translates to a healthier heart and circulatory system. Saturated fats are known for being “bad fats.” High levels of saturated fats increase the harmful cholesterol level in the blood. This can lead to several cardiovascular diseases such as a heart attack or a stroke.
3. Maintains a Healthy Immune System
Kohlrabi’s immunity boosting capabilities can be attributed to its vitamin C content. A cup of raw kohlrabi contains approximately 140% of the RDA for vitamin C. A strong immune system is vital in preventing all kinds of diseases–from the common cold to cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Not only does vitamin C contribute to a healthy immune system, but it also assists in improving iron absorption and helps in regenerating the vitamin E supply.
4. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Kohlrabi is an excellent source of dietary fiber. For a 1-cup serving size, it has approximately 5 grams of dietary fiber, which is 19% of the required RDA. Dietary fibers help promote bowel regularity by maintaining healthy intestines and colon. Fibers are also important in preserving the population of good bacteria. All these functions help contribute in lowering the risk of digestive problems, hemorrhoids and colon cancer.
5. Assists in Proper Muscle and Nerve Functions
A cup of raw kohlrabi contains 14% of the RDA for potassium. Potassium’s main role is associated with muscle and nerve functions. It assists in storing carbohydrates, which are used as fuel by the muscles. Nerve transmissions and nerve excitability relies heavily on an adequate level of potassium in the body.
When doing grocery shopping, it may be a good idea to include kohlrabi in the shopping list. With all the health benefits, it may just be the perfect addition in every family meal.