Kohlrabi is a round, bulb-like stemmed vegetable in the Brassica family. It is sometimes referred to as German turnip. Kohlrabi is a relative of cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. This solid fleshed vegetable stem produces leaves that are edible. It grows well in temperate and cool climates. There are basically two types of kohlrabi: green kohlrabi and purple kohlrabi. The main difference is in the color of the skin. As the names suggest, green kohlrabi has green skin, while purple kohlrabi has purple skin. Both are white on the inside. In this article we discuss kohlrabi health benefits and nutritional value in general.
Both the bulbous stem and the leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. Therefore, this vegetable offers quite a bit of nutritional value in the form of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Kohlrabi Health Benefits
The bulb and leaves are an excellent source of dietary fiber. Moreover, it is essential for proper digestion. Apart from that, it can aid in the relief of constipation, hemorrhoids, and bloat.
In addition to the dietary fiber that is very filling, kohlrabi has only 27 calories per 100 grams, zero cholesterol, and only .10 grams of fat. The dietary fiber boosts metabolism by speeding digestion. Therefore, this is beneficial in preventing weight gain.
Reduces Blood Pressure
The edible kohlrabi bulb is a good source of potassium. It has 350 mg of potassium per a 100-gram serving. Potassium functions as a vasodilator. It reduces strain on the cardiovascular system by easing tension and constriction of blood vessels and arteries, allowing for better circulation. Thus, among the kohlrabi health benefits we can count reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
Promotes Muscle Growth
The significant amount of potassium is also essential for optimal nerve and muscle function in the body. Potassium ensures the proper growth of muscle tissue. Also, it aids in muscle tone and strength. Moreover, this includes that of the heart muscle. This electrolyte is necessary for muscle recovery after exercise.
Assists with Nerve Function
The electrolytes in the stems help to boost nerve reflexes. This is how messages are transmitted throughout the body. As a result, muscles are able to contract and relax properly. Therefore, you can perform everyday activities efficiently.
100 grams of kohlrabi contains 6 percent of the RDA of iron. Also, it contains calcium. Therefore, consuming this vegetable may help with boosting the red blood cell count. They are necessary to prevent an iron deficiency. This can result in anemia. Anemia manifests in symptoms of fatigue, weakness, poor immunity, and headaches. As a result, the calcium in kohlrabi improves the uptake of iron in the body.
Kohlrabi Nutritional Value
The kohlrabi bulb and leaves are very low in calories. However, they both contain impressive amounts of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals. This vegetable does not contain any cholesterol or saturated fat. It is a great source of dietary fiber, some carbohydrates, and a little protein. Kohlrabi nutritional values play a major role in the kohlrabi health benefits mentioned earlier.
Vitamin B6: Also known as pyridoxine, in kohlrabi is 11.5 percent of the Recommended Daily Amount (RDA). B6 supports adrenal function and a healthy nervous system. It is necessary for the production of neurotransmitters and brain health. This vitamin is also essential in the process of breaking down and utilizing carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
Vitamin C: The fresh bulbs and leaves are a terrific source of vitamin C. The vegetable contains 62 mg of C per 100 grams. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It helps the human body maintain healthy connective tissue. Also, it protects from diseases and cancers that occur in the presence of free radicals. Vitamin C is helpful in boosting immunity.
Members of the Brassica family of vegetables contain beneficial dietary phytochemicals, such as isothiocyanates and sulforaphane. These have been studied and shown to be effective against the development of cancer cells, in particular, breast cancer.
Copper: Copper is the most abundant mineral in this edible plant at 14.5 percent of the RDA. Copper is an essential trace mineral that helps with the absorption of iron and the formation of collagen.
Iron: As discussed in the topic of anemia, iron is available in this vegetable to help with the formation of red blood cells.
Magnesium: There is as much magnesium as there is iron in a German turnip. Magnesium is essential for muscle growth. It is also a relaxing mineral that promotes restful sleep.
Manganese: The bulb and leaves provide 6 percent of the RDA of manganese. This mineral is a necessary cofactor of the enzyme called superoxide dismutase. This enzyme is essential for the prevention of damage to cells by free radicals.
Phosphorous: You will find a good amount of phosphorous, a key component in the formation of bones and teeth. It also assists the body in how it uses carbohydrates and fats. Phosphorus also aids in the production of ATP, a molecule the body uses to store energy.
In this section, we’re going to talk a little bit about how to eat kohlrabi. Both green kohlrabi and purple kohlrabi is a dietary staple in some European culinary preparations, most notably German cuisine. As it turns out, both the stem and leaves can be eaten raw, pickled, or cooked. Looking at the numerous kohlrabi health benefits, it’s not wonder why.
The round stem has an outer layer of tight leaves that can be peeled off. The inside flesh is somewhat of a cross between a broccoli stem and an apple, both in texture and taste. If you’re wondering what kohlrabi tastes like, you should know it doesn’t have an overpowering flavor. One of the most popular ways to prepare kohlrabi is to make a crunchy slaw with it or to pickle it. The bulbous kohlrabi stem stores well for a few weeks.
Some wonder whether you can eat kohlrabi leaves as well. Kohlrabi leaves have a bitter or spicy flavor similar to turnip greens. Therefore, you can toss them into salads or cook them like any other leafy green. Generally, kohlrabi leaves are sautéed, steamed or braised in soups and stews.
Crunchy Kohlrabi Slaw
- 1 medium kohlrabi bulb, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
- 1 firm apple, sliced into matchsticks
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 TBS fresh lemon juice
- Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
- Whisk together the EVOO and lemon juice in a large glass bowl.
- Add the vegetable and fruit slices.
- Toss and season with salt and pepper.
Asian Style Greens
- 2 bunches of kohlrabi leaves, washed
- Pot of boiling water with a pinch of salt
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 TBS soy sauce
- a pinch sea salt
- Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
- Blanch the kohlrabi leaves in boiling water until just wilted, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Drain and chop.
- Drizzle with sesame oil and soy sauce.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Top with toasted sesame seeds for garnish.
It is really a treat when you can utilize all parts of a vegetable. The kohlrabi bulb, or stem, is versatile, delicious, and nutritious. Kohlrabi leaves are also very nutritious, yet taste quite different from the bulb. You can use them in any recipe where turnip greens, collard greens, or kale is called for. If you haven’t yet tried German turnip, look for it at your local farmer’s market this spring and in the fall.
If you have any questions about kohlrabi health benefits or nutritional value, feel free to ask! Let us know your favorite kohlrabi recipes or if you know any alternative kohlrabi uses!