A relative of the cabbage, kohlrabi is a vegetable that you might not find too frequently in the United States, but is extremely common in certain parts of Europe and Asia. The actual kohlrabi name is actually derived of two German words that mean cabbage turnip, because this vegetable looks just like a combination of the two. However, people have described the taste of kohlrabi to be closer to that of broccoli with a hint of radish.
Like many of the vegetables that kohlrabi has been compared to, there is a lot of things to like when it comes to your health. Packed with certain nutrients that benefit you in a wide range of ways, you should consider adding kohlrabi into your diet. For those that have never had kohlrabi before, you’ll be pleased to learn what it can do for you. To prove it, let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value and proven health benefits that you get from kohlrabi.
Nutrition of Kohlrabi
For each cup of raw kohlrabi, you’ll find some solid nutrition at a low calorie count. With just 36 calories per serving, more than five of those are from protein, giving you a nice little boost. Fiber really stands out here, as you get about 20 percent of your daily recommendation, with very few carbohydrates. In the vitamin department, vitamin C stands out as you get more than 140 percent of your daily recommendation.
For other vitamins, vitamin B6 checks in at 10 percent of your daily value, while kohlrabi is also a significant source of thiamin, niacin, folate and vitamin E. The biggest mineral is potassium in kohlrabi with 14 percent of your daily value, with copper and manganese around 10 percent. Magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and iron can also be found in smaller amounts in kohlrabi, and there’s almost no fat with zero cholesterol in kohlrabi.
If you’re looking to drop a few pounds, you probably already know that you should be eating more vegetables (especially green ones) as opposed to processed junk food. To give you an idea of how much weight you could lose, eating one cup of kohlrabi is just 36 calories, compared to 160 calories in one ounce of standard potato chips. If you make that switch everyday for a year, that adds up to more than 45,000 calories. In other words, that’s nearly 13 pounds of fat each year from one snack.
Outside of the fact that kohlrabi is very low in calories, the nutrients can also help you burn fat. One of the main ones is fiber, which can give your metabolism a boost and help you feel more full throughout the day. Kohlrabi might not satisfy your sweet tooth cravings, but at least you won’t be feeling as hungry throughout the day, and can end up losing a lot of weight over time.
Fiber won’t just help you lose weight, but it also gives a huge boost to your digestive system. With about one quarter of your daily recommendation for fiber, your body will get more probiotics (helpful bacteria) that eliminates a lot of problems. Harmful bacteria in your digestive system will be eliminated, and you can alleviate certain symptoms of a bad diet such as constipation and indigestion.
It’s estimated that a majority of people aren’t getting their recommended daily amount of dietary fiber, with most getting less than half. Once you’re getting the suggested amount of a regular basis, you’ll feel much better and have a lot more regularity. It’s not an issue that many people are willing to talk about, but go through on a near daily basis.
With more than 140 percent of your daily recommendation for vitamin C, you can probably guess the type of benefit that kohlrabi has for your immune system. Vitamin C works as an antioxidant, getting rid of many of the free radicals that can cause serious damage. Free radicals attack the DNA of your cells, which can cause cancer and other chronic diseases.
Going back to the digestive health aspect, getting enough fiber can help you prevent colon cancer. As for the everyday illnesses that we face from being out in public (such as the common cold), your body produces more white blood cells when you get enough vitamin C. Unfortunately, many of us don’t realize that we need vitamin C until we’re already sick, so it’s important to get the necessary amount before it’s too late.
Good For the Heart
Kohlrabi is a good source for potassium, which we commonly associate with the banana and what it can do for muscle cramps. Not many people know that potassium is one of the better minerals for heart health, though. Potassium eases the strain on your heart, allowing your blood to flow more efficiently and strengthen the arteries.
Overall, people who get enough potassium in their diet drop their chances of ischemic heart disease by nearly half compared to those that don’t. These same people also experience a drop in blood pressure in studies for those that were diagnosed with high blood pressure before. While it’s not quite clear yet what effect kohlrabi specifically has on cholesterol, it’s believed almost unanimously that there’s a positive effect.
If you want to avoid having to get new glasses prescriptions every year (or you don’t want glasses at all), you need to be getting certain antioxidants in your diet. Two of these are vitamin A and beta-carotene, which dramatically increase your vision health. Studies have shown that these two work in unison to prevent many age-related vision problems that include cataracts or macular degeneration. Even if you have cataracts already, there’s an increased chance that you could slow down their development to a halt or even eliminate them.
Summing it Up
One of the big reasons that people gravitate toward eating cruciferous greens like kohlrabi because of the health benefits and lack of drawbacks. One of those minor problems is that kohlrabi and similar foods have high concentrations of certain vitamins, so you might be lacking in other departments. It’s important that you get a wide range of nutrients when eating a healthy diet, but kohlrabi makes for a good part of that diet.
As long as you’re getting nutrients from other sources such as varied foods or supplements, you’ll get all of the health benefits. One other thing you’ll want to know in advance is the increased amount of fiber. If you aren’t getting enough in your diet right now, adding a solid amount of fiber can cause some temporary discomfort. This passes within a couple days, and is a sign that your digestion is actually improving. With all of that said, getting kohlrabi into your diet is a great way to live healthy, and you can start today!