Turnip greens: the natural help to combat winter fatigue

Thanks to the contribution of iron and vitamin C, they have remineralizing properties. But they also stimulate diuresis and protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Turnip greens, vegetables belonging to the Cruciferous family (as well as cabbage, broccoli, cabbage etc …) are a real institution of Mediterranean cuisine, in particular of Lazio, Puglia and Campania, where they are consumed boiled, sautéed in a pan with garlic and oil or combined with pasta.

Not everyone knows that, in addition to being a tasty ingredient, their more tender leaves prove to be great allies of the organism, to purify, drain and protect against aging and tumors, moreover with very few calories (100 grams of turnip contain only 29 calories), making them perfect even in slimming regimes.

Typically winter vegetables, harvested between November and February.


  • What they contain
  • Properties for health
  • Contraindications
  • Uses in cooking and recipes

What they contain

According to the food composition tables, 100 g of boiled turnip greens contain 90.9 grams of water, while for the other nutrients there are 3.1 g of protein, 2.1 g of sugar and 0.3 g of fat.

There is no shortage of vitamins (A, C, folate) and minerals such as iron, phosphorus, iodine and calcium. There are also numerous amino acids, antioxidants, in particular Lutherans and xanthine, but above all polyphenols, flavonoids, omega 3, folic acid and carotenoids.

Properties for health

Turnip greens are considered a healthy food for their antioxidant, remineralizing and purifying properties. They are recommended in case of asthenia, fatigue, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, the need to recover energy.

Thanks to the presence of iodine, they are useful to be included in a diet for hypothyroidism. In fact, in thyroid pathologies, the iodine stimulus contained in them is more controllable and exposes and less at risk of dangerous hyperthyroid crises than other cruciferous plants such as turnip or cabbage.

As with all the other plant species of the cruciferous family, turnip greens can then be exploited for their antitumor power, dependent on the presence of antimutagenic active ingredients and considerable amounts of antioxidant substances which also make them powerful allies against radicals. free: in this way they help to counteract the aging of tissues and cells, but – as well as against tumors – they also perform a preventive function against cardiovascular diseases.

If boiled, then, they carry out a diuretic and purifying action, in a similar way to boiled cauliflower. Cooked in this form, they are also endowed with a tussifugal power, so much so that they are therapeutically effective in catarrhal respiratory diseases.

The presence of vitamin A makes turnip greens to be counted among the foods that support eye health, such as cataracts and macular degeneration.

The iron contained, and the simultaneous presence of vitamin C, exerts a real energizing and anti-anemic effect.

With their 3.1 g of soluble and insoluble fiber, they are precious for stimulating intestinal transit and thus helping to purify the body.

Finally, calcium and phosphorus are useful for bone health.


The only contraindication to the consumption of turnip greens refers to the high content of purines, molecules incorrectly metabolized by those suffering from hyperuricemia and gout.

Uses in cooking and recipes

Turnip greens have dark green leaves and jagged edges. Select only the most tender leaves and those of the heart of the plant and wash them with cold running water before cooking (they cannot be eaten raw).

In the kitchen they lend themselves to various preparations. With pasta, for example, as in the very famous orecchiette with turnip tops, where the subtle contrast between the bitterness of the vegetables and the flavor of the anchovies enhances even more the pasta obtained from the processing of durum wheat.

With the leaves it is possible to prepare a very tasty pesto in advance, which can then be used to season pasta. Making it is very simple: just clean the turnip greens, steam them for 40 minutes, then let them cool and squeeze them well. Finally, blend the tops until you get a thick cream and use the pesto to say the pasta with spicy oil and parmesan.

Stews are another exceptional way to consume these vegetables with such a delicate and characteristic taste, which moreover go very well with any type of main course. They are very easy to prepare and, if you want, you can also combine them with fried sausages.

Those who love soups cannot help but try the turnip greens and cannellini beans soup: a real treat for the palate on cold winter evenings.

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