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Rutabaga

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Rutabaga Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 89.4 g
Calories: 37 kcal
Protein: 1.1 g
Carbohydrate: 8.6 g
Dietary fiber: 2.3 g
Sugars: 4.5 g
Fat: 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Vitamin C: 25 mg
Vitamin B1: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.7 mg
Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg
Vitamin B9: 21 μg
Vitamin E: 0.3 mg
Vitamin K: 0.3 μg
Calcium: 43 mg
Iron: 0.4 mg
Magnesium: 20 mg
Phosphorus: 53 mg
Potassium: 305 mg
Sodium: 12 mg
Zinc: 0.2 mg

The rutabaga (known as the swede in most parts of the world) is a member of the brassica family probably originating from either Scandinavia or Russia. Renowned for its bitter taste (softened with cooking!), the rutabaga is great boiled, baked or roasted.

Used in a variety of national dishes like the Finnish swede casserole or the English Sunday roast, rutabaga boasts surprisingly high nutritional content and the cancer-fighting properties unique to brassicas.

Nutritionally, the rutabaga is a bit of a surprise. The headline is the very high levels of vitamin C: 100g (really not very much swede) provides 30% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for the creation of connective tissue, iron absorption, cardiovascular health and a host of other processes (see Broccoli).

The rutabaga is also very high in dietary fibre, which is important for the digestive tract. Fiber is important to the health of the colon, and lowering cholesterol (by binding with bile acids; see Brussel sprouts).

In addition, the sulforaphane in cruciferous vegetables may stop excess growth of Heliobacter pylori, a bacteria that can lead to a multitude of gastric problems, potentially even stomach cancer.

Finally, the rutabaga packs a surprising amount of potassium, with 8% DV per 100g. It is often hard for people on Western diets to make the recommended amounts of potassium, so really every little helps. Potassium is significant in a number of processes in the body, from muscle contraction to proper heart function, and deficiency can lead to high blood pressure and a host of cardiovascular disease.

Beyond this, rutabaga does have some health value. Firstly, as with most brassicas, it contains powerful anti-cancer compounds.

Secondly, rutabaga’s fat-free status, low calorie count and high amount of fibre make it an ideal candidate for a great weight-loss food.