Rutabagas belong to the brassica family, and its scientific name is Brassica napobrassica. Rutabagas, also known as Swede turnips, originate from hybridridization between a turnip and wild cabbage, most probably in Bohemia in the 17th century. Rutabagas are considered hardy plants that grow well in Russia and Northern Europe. European colonists brought turnips to America in 1609, and rutabagas soon followed. (1)
Rutabagas are grown for the consumption of human and animal needs due to their high nutritional value. In the early 1900s, researchers in the U.S. identified that roots of rutabagas are a valuable source of energy, especially for young livestock. Researchers determined the potential of the root brassicas as forage crops in the late 1970s. (2)
Nowadays, rutabaga is considered a separate vegetable and a cool-weather crop and is mainly grown in the northern parts of the U.S. and Europe, especially in Canada and Great Britain. (1, 2)
Studies indicate that a 100g serving of rutabagas contains 38 calories, including 0.2g fat, 1.1g protein, and 9g carbs. In addition, rutabagas contain vitamins and minerals in a sufficient amount. Vitamins present in rutabagas are vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B-6, and iron for the proper functioning of the body. Minerals include 12mg of sodium, 305mg of potassium, and 0.04g of calcium.
Furthermore, rutabagas also contain B-carotene, and this compound is effective for eye health and prevents eye diseases. (3)
Protein, Fats, and Carbs
One medium rutabaga contains 4g of proteins, 0.5g of fats, and 33g of carbohydrates.
One medium rutabaga contains 9g of fibers, which helps in the maintenance of healthy GIT.
Vitamins and Minerals
Rutabagas are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. It contains 107% of the Daily Value of vitamin C, 7% of the DV of vitamin E, 35% of the DV of potassium, 18% of the DV of magnesium, and 17% of the DV of calcium.
Moreover, phosphorus and selenium are also present in rutabagas in trace amounts. Folate, which is a B vitamin is also present in moderate amounts in rutabagas. B vitamins help in DNA and protein synthesis and metabolism. (3)
Rutabagas contain an adequate amount of antioxidants such as vitamin C and E. Oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals can be overcome by vitamin C. Free radicals are harmful substances that cause oxidative stress and damage to the body’s cells
In addition, vitamin E present in rutabagas also serves as an antioxidant molecule and fights against cell damage. Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds that also possess antioxidant effects and reduce inflammation, and prevents different cancer types (4).
Rutabagas are effective against osteoporosis due to their calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium content. It helps in the maintenance of bone density. Furthermore, rutabagas are an excellent option for vegetarians and provide protein for those who do not want to eat meat. Proteins present in rutabagas helps in the development and growth of the body and improves metabolic functions. (5)
Vitamin C in rutabaga protects the body from oxidative damage and plays an integral role in the absorption of iron, boosts the immune system, and collagen synthesis. (6)
In addition, vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that fights against cell damage and maintains a healthy cell membrane. Collectively, these two vitamins protect the body and maintain healthy cells. Furthermore, rutabagas also contain glucosinolates, which also show antioxidant effects. These compounds reduce inflammation, risk of heart diseases, prostate, colorectal, and breast cancer. (7)
Rutabagas also help in the prevention of premature aging. Because rutabagas contain high amounts of antioxidants, it reduces inflammation, protects you from UV radiation, and delays aging (8).
Rutabagas also contain a sufficient amount of insoluble fiber. This type of fiber adds bulk to the stool and promotes bowel health. Fiber also helps in the feeding of beneficial gut bacteria and promotes a healthy microbiome in the GIT. In addition, rutabagas also help in the management of type-2 diabetes due to their fiber content. (9)
Studies reported that rutabagas are helpful in weight loss. This vegetable gives the feeling of fullness and takes longer to digest, which may prevent overeating and weight gain. This a low-calorie food and helps in the maintenance of healthy body weight. (10)
Moreover, rutabagas are high in potassium, and this mineral plays a vital role in maintaining heart health. It also helps in the nerve signaling and contraction of muscles. It maintains healthy blood pressure in individuals and electrolyte balance along with sodium. Those diets which contain rutabagas reduces the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. (11)
To date, there are no well-known side effects of rutabagas reported. However, some allergies are reported due to the consumption of rutabaga. Allergies include rashes on the skin, watery eyes and itching, and inflammation caused by rutabagas.
In addition, raffinose, a complex sugar present in rutabaga, may cause abdominal discomfort such as bloating and gastric pain. (12)
Conclusively, we should focus on overall diet and eating patterns rather than focusing on individual foods. This way, we can improve our diet and bring variety into our meals and promote good health.
The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for one 1 cup (140g) of cubed raw rutabaga.
Vitamin C: 35mg
The 12 grams of carbs and 6.2 grams of sugar found in one cup of rutabaga could feed Candida yeast in the gut. But, you can't cut off all carbs on the Candida diet either because the red and white blood cells need some carbs, 50 to 60 grams daily, to function correctly. Those white blood cells are part of your immune system so you want to keep them healthy and performing at their best.
However, the glycemic index for rutabaga is 72, which is above the generally accepted level of 50, which is the high limit of low on the scale. Because of the high glycemic index rutabaga should probably be avoided or consumed in ½ cup servings or less. You could in its place occasionally consume 1 cup or less of yam, which has 28 grams of carbs and a glycemic index of 51. If you did this, I would not consume any other carbs at that meal.
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1. Pasko, P., Bukowska-Strakova, K., Gdula-Argasinska, J., & Tyszka-Czochara, M. (2013). Rutabaga (Brassica napus L. var. napobrassica) seeds, roots, and sprouts: a novel kind of food with antioxidant properties and proapoptotic potential in Hep G2 hepatoma cell line. Journal of medicinal food, 16(8), 749-759.
3. Carlson, D. G., Daxenbichler, M. E., VanEtten, C. H., Tookey, H. L., & Williams, P. H. (1981). Glucosinolates in crucifer vegetables: turnips and rutabagas. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 29(6), 1235-1239.
4. Stefanucci, A., Zengin, G., Llorent-Martinez, E. J., Dimmito, M. P., Della Valle, A., Pieretti, S., ... & Mollica, A. Chemical characterization, antioxidant properties and enzyme inhibition of Rutabaga root’s pulp and.
5. Kapusta-Duch, J., Florkiewicz, A., Leszczyńska, T., & Borczak, B. (2021). Directions of Changes in the Content of Selected Macro-and Micronutrients of Kale, Rutabaga, Green and Purple Cauliflower Due to Hydrothermal Treatment. Applied Sciences, 11(8), 3452.
6. Oudemans-van Straaten, H. M., Spoelstra-de Man, A. M., & de Waard, M. C. (2014). Vitamin C revisited. Critical Care, 18(4), 1-13.
7. Blekkenhorst, L. C., Bondonno, C. P., Lewis, J. R., Devine, A., Zhu, K., Lim, W. H., ... & Hodgson, J. M. (2017). Cruciferous and allium vegetable intakes are inversely associated with 15‐year atherosclerotic vascular disease deaths in older adult women. Journal of the American Heart Association, 6(10), e006558.
8. Farage, M. A., Miller, K. W., Elsner, P., & Maibach, H. I. (2008). Intrinsic and extrinsic factors in skin ageing: a review. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 30(2), 87-95.
9. Flint, H. J. (2012). The impact of nutrition on the human microbiome. Nutrition reviews, 70(suppl_1), S10-S13.
10. Lovegrove, A., Edwards, C. H., De Noni, I., Patel, H., El, S. N., Grassby, T., ... & Shewry, P. R. (2017). Role of polysaccharides in food, digestion, and health. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, 57(2), 237-253.
11. Rabinowitz, L., & Aizman, R. I. (1993). The central nervous system in potassium homeostasis. Frontiers in neuroendocrinology, 14(1), 1-26.
12. Health Benefits of Rutabaga, Uses And Its Side Effects. Aug 24, 2020
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