Rhubarb is commonly eaten in pies and other desserts in the United States. But rhubarb or rheum rhabarbarum has inherent health benefits that outweigh its tastiness in pies or crumbles. Rhubarb health benefits are many, and here we will discuss them in detail. It’s a nutritional powerhouse packed with nutrients, vitamins, and fiber. Not only that, it is easily grown outside year-round in mild climates. In climates where it gets colder in winter rhubarb will start to produce edibles in the early spring. The part of rhubarb that is eaten is the stalk. Rhubarb leaves are inedible.
Rhubarb Health Benefits
Weight Loss Aid
Rhubarb is a great food to include in your diet if you’re trying to lose weight. It is one of the most nutritionally dense and low-calorie foods out there, so it will have little to no impact on your weight. Rhubarb’s extremely high fiber content also makes it key for aiding digestion. In fact, rhubarb is famous for its stomach soothing properties. Many use rhubarb to cure mild constipation. And the fibers in rhubarb can help you avoid constipation and keep your colon healthy. On top of that, the fiber in rhubarb can help you maintain a healthy weight.
Prevent Heart Disease
Rhubarb health benefits don’t stop at the stomach. It is a vegetable, so of course, it is good for you, especially when it comes to preventing heart disease, but one of the lesser-known rhubarb health benefits is the fact that it can increase good cholesterols. Because of its high fiber content, it is capable of removing excess cholesterol from the walls of arteries and blood vessels. Rhubarb is also full of antioxidants, which fight free radicals that can cause heart disease and a whole host of other diseases.
Boosts Bone and Brain Health
Rhubarb is extremely high in vitamin K. Not only is vitamin K fairly difficult to get from most foods, but it is also vital for brain, nerve and bone health. Vitamin K prevents oxidation of the brain’s cells, which can help delay or possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin K encourages what is called osteotrophic activity. This means that vitamin K is an important player in stimulating bone growth and healing. Because rhubarb also has high levels of calcium, this makes rhubarb one of the best bone enriching foods out there.
Nutritional Value of Rhubarb
Rhubarb is native to Siberia. However, nowadays people grow rhubarb all over the world. It’s no wonder why with its incredible nutritional properties. Rhubarb is chock full of vitamins, minerals, organic compounds and other nutrients that help us stay healthy. Rhubarb specifically contains high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, and B complex vitamins. As discussed in the previous section rhubarb has many health benefits. This is not uncommon for fruit and vegetables of this type. But it is quite rare to find food that has such high levels of all of these vitamins.
Rhubarb health benefits don’t end there. It’s also has high levels of fiber, calcium, potassium, manganese, and magnesium. These minerals are vital to a healthy body and are especially important for growing children, those recovering from an injury or most importantly, pregnant women. This balance of salts can benefit your body in many ways; one way is that, combined with its high fiber and water content, it’s a great food for hydration.
Rhubarb also has many organic compounds, like beta-carotenes, luteina and zeaxanthin. Beta-carotenes are either converted into vitamin A, or into an antioxidant. So this is yet another layer of benefits and nutritional value that rhubarb adds to your diet.
When we talk about preparing rhubarb, we’re talking about the stalks. You should never try to eat rhubarb leaves, even if you cook them. The leaves of the rhubarb plant are poisonous. Some popular ways to eat rhubarb are in desserts like strawberry rhubarb pie, crumbles, smoothies or in baked goods or salads. Here we’ll look at a few recipes and suggestions for ways to get more of rhubarb health benefits into your diet.
You can use rhubarb much like you would any fruit. This means that after washing and trimming the stalks into half-inch pieces, you can make rhubarb into:
- Pies, crumbles or tarts
- Jams, jellies or preserved fruits
- Muffins, pancakes or quickbreads
- Mixed with blueberries, raspberries or strawberries
You can also eat rhubarb raw, if you don’t mind the tart-sweet flavor. Rhubarb’s distincive flavor can be a little overwhelming to some. Combining rhubarb with sugar, maple syrup or agave can lessen this impact. You can chop rhubarb and use it much like you would use cranberries. Sprinkle it on top of cereals and combine it with other fruits to take some of the edge off. Rhubarba medicinal benefits are best felt when consuming raw rhubarb.
Rhubarb juice obtained from raw rhubarb can also be an interesting addition to smoothies and even alcoholic cocktails. If the tang is an issue, you can mix rhubarb juice with honey or sugar, or syrup, as mentioned above. Just blending rhubarb and ice will make a tart, pink drink. This rhubarb ice smoothie makes a fun and fascinating mix for iced tea at a late spring garden party. You can use this rhubarb juice mixture as the base for a rhubarb margarita. Juicing rhubarb may make it easier to incorporate in recipes than chopped raw rhubarb.
You can also make rhubarb jam or jelly. In this way, you can preserve the vitamins and minerals in the rhubarb, and also make sure that you have a way to eat it year round. Try canning it with peaches or blueberries to make a distinctive preserve.
Overall, rhubarb health benefits cannot be denied. It’s great for your bones, teeth, digestion and cardiovascular health. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds it’s a nutritional powerhouse that we should all include in our list of superfoods. Traditionally, rhubabr is baked into pies with sweet berries to counteract its naturally tart taste. However, there are many other ways to consume rhubarb, including jams, jellies and even in smoothies. Do you like rhubarb? How does your family eat it? Would you try a rhubarb margarita? Let us know in the comments!