Why is Rutabaga splendid for our gut?
Rutabaga is a root vegetable that is a member of the cruciferous family. It is round and brown-white in color and looks similar to a turnip. Raw rutabagas are mildly bitter, similar to a turnip; whereas when cooked it develops a savory, nutty, yet slightly sweet flavor. Rutabagas have a similar texture to potatoes with a significantly lower starch content, and are great boiled, roasted, or baked; it can also be used instead of a potato to bulk up soups and stews in your favorite dishes. This hearty vegetable is a great alternative to high starch vegetables such as potatoes as it is lower in carbs and calories as well as a rich source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants.
Rutabaga is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. They also contain a decent amount of folate, a B vitamin that is important for metabolism, protein synthesis, and DNA replication. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, as well as plays a key role in immune health, iron absorption, and collagen synthesis. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that also fights cell damage and helps maintain a healthy cell membrane. Interestingly, vitamins C and E work hand in hand. After vitamin E is depleted, vitamin C helps regenerate it, allowing for these antioxidants to continue protecting your cells. Some vitamins are actually synthesized in the gut, alluding to the importance of these compounds in the body. However dietary consumption is still crucial in maintaining levels in the body and supplying microbes in the gut. Increasing the amount of dietary fiber is very important as it impacts the whole gastrointestinal system. In 1 cup of Rutabaga there is 3.2 grams; this is #goodgut fuel where it acts as a prebiotic for microbiota, and increases fecal mass, which promotes regular bowel movements.
For those who suffer from IBS, as a cruciferous vegetable, rutabagas contain raffinose, a complex sugar that can cause bloating, abdominal pain and flatulence in some people; consider eating them in smaller amounts until tolerated. Rutabagas also contain high amounts of glucosinolates, which are compounds with antioxidant properties. These compounds have been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially even your risk of heart disease and colorectal, prostate, and breast cancer. If you haven’t yet tried rutabagas and are now curious, consider trying this Married to Health #goodgut recipe!
Ways to eat it
While rutabaga can be eaten raw, usually, they are roasted, cooked, and mashed. The entire thing is edible, but store-bought rutabagas usually have a wax coating that should be peeled off before eating. When eaten raw, it can be eaten in a salad or with a dip! Mashing rutabagas with potatoes or other vegetables is a popular way to enjoy them!
Recipe: Roasted Rutabaga and Apples
Ingredients (Makes 4 Servings):
2 lbs rutabaga, peeled
2 honeycrisp apples, peeled and cored
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 stalks fresh rosemary, minced
1 lemon, juiced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lightly coating it with cooking spray.
Cut rutabagas and apples into equal sized cubes. Place cubed vegetables in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Whisk until well combined.
Pour mixture onto rutabagas and apples. Toss until all the rutabagas and apples are evenly coated.
Spread rutabagas and apples in a single layer onto a baking sheet. Roast for 45 to 60 minutes until rutabagas are soft and golden, tossing vegetables every 15 to 20 minutes.
After roasting, add lemon juice and toss vegetables one last time.
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