Kohlrabi, also known as “German turnip” or “turnip cabbage”, is an edible vegetable with a wide range of health benefits. Kohlrabi is a cool-weather vegetable that has been gaining popularity among home cooks and health enthusiasts alike. It’s an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be used in a variety of dishes, from raw to cooked and everything in between.
Its mild, nutty flavor and crunchy texture make it a great addition to salads, stir-fries, slaws, soups and more. In this blog post, we’ll discuss about kohlrabi, including its nutritional benefits, nutrition facts, side-effects, how to select and store it, and kohlrabi recipes to get you started.
What is kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a unique vegetable that belongs to the Brassica family of vegetables, which includes broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage. It is characterized by its round shape and pale green skin.
The stem, leaves, and root are all edible, and it has a mild flavor that’s similar to turnips or radishes. Kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked, making it a versatile addition to any dish.
It’s high in vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber, making it a great choice for those looking to boost their nutrient intake. Whether you’re looking for a way to switch up your favorite recipes or trying to introduce new vegetables into your diet, kohlrabi is a great option.
One cup (135 g) of raw kohlrabi provides:
- Calories: 36.5 (2% DV)
- Total carbohydrate: 8.4 g (3% DV)
- Dietary fiber: 4.9 g (19% DV)
- Protein: 2.3 g (5% DV)
- Vitamin A: 48.6 IU (1% DV)
- Vitamin C: 83.7 mg (140% DV)
- Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol): 0.6 mg (3% DV)
- Vitamin K: 0.1 mcg (0% DV)
- Thiamin: 0.1 mg (5% DV)
- Niacin: 0.5 mg (3% DV)
- Vitamin B6: 0.2 mg (10% DV)
- Calcium: 32.4 mg (3% DV)
- Iron: 0.5 mg (3% DV)
- Magnesium: 25.6 mg (6% DV)
- Phosphorus: 62.1 mg (6% DV)
- Potassium: 473 mg (14% DV)
- Sodium: 27 mg (1% DV)
- Copper: 0.2 mg (9% DV)
- Manganese: 0.2 mg (9% DV)
- Selenium: 0.9 mcg (1% DV)
- Folate: 21.6 mcg (5% DV)
- Choline: 16.6 mg
- Water: 123 g
7 Incredible health benefits of kohlrabi:
Not only is kohlrabi extremely low in calories and cholesterol, but it also packs in a variety of vitamins and minerals. In this section, you will know about incredible health benefits of kohlrabi that you may not have known about.
1. Kohlrabi may boost heart health:
Kohlrabi is a great source of dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, and folate – all of which are essential for maintaining good heart health.
Fiber helps reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and improving blood pressure. Potassium and magnesium can help regulate blood pressure while folate can help reduce homocysteine levels – an amino acid linked to cardiovascular disease.
Eating kohlrabi may also help reduce the risk of stroke. Additionally, it is low in sodium, a major contributor to high blood pressure, making it an ideal choice for those looking to keep their heart healthy.
2. Kohlrabi may support digestive health:
Kohlrabi is a great source of dietary fiber, which helps keep the digestive system running smoothly. Fiber aids in digestion and helps prevent constipation by adding bulk to stool.
Additionally, fiber can help reduce blood cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, fiber helps feed healthy bacteria in the gut, which can help improve overall gut health.
Kohlrabi is also a good source of other vitamins and minerals that can help support digestive health. It contains vitamin B6, which plays an important role in maintaining healthy gut function, as well as vitamin C, which helps produce digestive enzymes.
The vegetable also contains potassium, which is important for proper muscle functioning and the movement of waste through the gastrointestinal tract.
3. Kohlrabi helps in weight loss:
Kohlrabi may aid in weight loss thanks to its low calorie and high fiber content. One cup of chopped kohlrabi contains just 36 calories and 4.9 grams of fiber, making it an ideal food for those looking to lose weight.
The high fiber content can help you feel full for longer, reducing your overall calorie intake throughout the day. Studies have also shown that dietary fiber can reduce the amount of fat absorbed from food, which can help with weight loss.
Additionally, the high water content of kohlrabi is beneficial for weight loss since it helps keep you hydrated and can help flush out toxins.
Finally, kohlrabi is a good source of protein, which is important for preserving lean muscle mass while losing weight.
4. Kohlrabi works lower blood sugar levels (diabetes):
Kohlrabi has a low glycemic index and is an excellent choice for people with diabetes. Studies have shown that adding kohlrabi to your diet can help reduce blood sugar levels.
In one study, 16 participants with type-2 diabetes ate a meal containing either white rice or white rice mixed with kohlrabi. Those who ate the meal containing kohlrabi had a significant reduction in their post-meal blood glucose levels compared to those who only ate the white rice.
Another study found that consuming kohlrabi for one month significantly reduced blood sugar levels in people with type-2 diabetes. The study also showed that consuming kohlrabi could help reduce cholesterol levels and improve overall health in people with diabetes.
These results suggest that adding kohlrabi to your diet may be beneficial for people with type-2 diabetes, as it can help reduce blood sugar levels. It may also be beneficial for people without diabetes, as it could help reduce overall blood sugar levels and help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
5. Kohlrabi helps boost immunity:
Kohlrabi is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help boost the body’s natural immunity. Antioxidants are known to protect against disease-causing free radicals, which can damage cells and lead to chronic inflammation and other illnesses.
Studies have found that kohlrabi may be especially beneficial in fighting off infections and preventing certain types of cancer.
The vegetable is also a good source of vitamin C, which plays a key role in immune health. Vitamin C helps produce white blood cells, which are essential for defending the body from harmful pathogens.
Additionally, kohlrabi is high in zinc, another nutrient that helps support the immune system. Zinc helps promote the production of T cells, which play an important role in defending the body from bacteria and viruses.
Eating kohlrabi regularly may help to reduce the risk of illness and keep your immune system functioning optimally.
6. Kohlrabi may help reduce inflammation:
Kohlrabi may help reduce inflammation in the body. Studies have shown that the active compounds found in kohlrabi, such as kaempferol, quercetin and apigenin, can help reduce inflammation in the body.
In fact, these compounds are thought to be so powerful that they are being studied for their potential use in treating chronic inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, asthma and even cancer.
Kaempferol, in particular, has been found to significantly reduce inflammation, suggesting that consuming kohlrabi may help prevent or reduce the symptoms associated with inflammatory conditions.
Additionally, kohlrabi contains antioxidants which help reduce oxidative stress and damage in the body caused by free radicals, thus further reducing inflammation.
7. Kohlrabi can promote brain health:
Kohlrabi is a great source of vitamin B6, which is essential for proper brain functioning. Vitamin B6 helps the body produce neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which all have positive effects on the brain.
It also helps regulate the production of melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep cycles. Studies have shown that people with higher levels of vitamin B6 are less likely to suffer from depression and anxiety.
In addition, the high levels of antioxidants in kohlrabi may also help protect against oxidative stress, which can damage brain cells and impair cognitive functioning.
Overall, incorporating kohlrabi into your diet may be beneficial for promoting optimal brain health.
Kohlrabi side effects:
While kohlrabi is generally considered safe for consumption, there are some potential side effects to be aware of.
First, kohlrabi is high in oxalates. Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds found in many foods that can build up in the body and contribute to the formation of kidney stones. People with a history of kidney stones should limit their intake of kohlrabi or other high-oxalate foods.
Second, kohlrabi may cause an allergic reaction in some people. Symptoms can include hives, swelling, itching, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating kohlrabi, seek medical attention immediately.
Finally, kohlrabi may interfere with certain medications, including blood thinners, thyroid medications, and diabetes medications. If you are taking any medications, talk to your doctor before incorporating kohlrabi into your diet.
What does kohlrabi taste like?
Kohlrabi has a unique flavor that is somewhere between a cabbage and a turnip. The taste is mildly sweet, yet it has an earthy, nutty flavor. It can be eaten raw or cooked and offers a crunchy texture.
Raw, kohlrabi has a mild, sweet flavor similar to that of apples and raw broccoli. When cooked, it takes on a buttery texture and the taste intensifies.
The leaves are also edible and can be cooked like any other leafy green vegetable. If you’ve never tried kohlrabi before, give it a try! You may be pleasantly surprised by its unique flavor.
How to eat kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is an incredibly versatile vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked, making it an ideal ingredient for many dishes. It has a mild flavor and a crunchy texture, similar to broccoli stems. Here are some of the best ways to enjoy this delicious vegetable:
- Raw: Add kohlrabi to salads, slaws, and veggie platters for a crunchy bite. Simply peel off the skin, slice into thin strips or cubes, and add to your favorite salad ingredients.
- Steamed: Steam kohlrabi until tender (about 10-15 minutes). Drizzle with melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
- Sauteed: Heat oil in a pan and add diced kohlrabi. Cook until browned and softened (about 8-10 minutes). Add your favorite herbs and spices for extra flavor.
- Baked: Slice kohlrabi into rounds and brush with olive oil. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Serve as a side dish or top with your favorite cheese for an easy appetizer.
- Roasted: Cut kohlrabi into cubes, toss with olive oil, and spread onto a baking sheet. Roast at 425°F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with fresh herbs before serving.
How to cook kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi vegetable can be cooked in many different ways. It is great for roasting, steaming, grilling, sautéing and even eating raw.
- Roasting: Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Peel and dice kohlrabi into cubes and spread out on a baking sheet. Drizzle with oil and season with salt, pepper and any other desired spices. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly golden and tender.
- Steaming: Peel and dice kohlrabi into cubes. Place in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 8-10 minutes until tender. Serve as is or add to salads, stir fries or soups.
- Grilling: Peel and cut kohlrabi into 1/2 inch thick slices. Brush each side with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on preheated grill over medium heat for about 8 minutes per side, flipping once during cooking, until lightly charred and tender.
- Sautéing: Peel and dice kohlrabi into cubes. Heat a drizzle of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kohlrabi cubes and cook for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned and tender. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder or any other desired spices.
- Eating Raw: Peel the kohlrabi skin off and grate it into thin strips or small cubes. Add it to salads or eat it on its own as a crunchy snack. You can also add a bit of olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper to make a flavorful kohlrabi salad.
How to store kohlrabi?
Kohlrabi is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that is easy to store. To ensure that you get the most out of your kohlrabi, it’s important to store it correctly. Here are some tips on how to store kohlrabi:
- Keep your kohlrabi in the refrigerator in a plastic bag or container. Be sure to remove any excess moisture from the bag or container before storing to prevent spoilage.
- Kohlrabi should be stored in the crisper drawer or a low humidity area of your refrigerator.
- Uncut kohlrabi will last for up to two weeks if stored properly. Cut kohlrabi should be used within a few days for best quality.
- If you won’t use your kohlrabi soon, you can freeze it for up to 3 months. Simply peel and cut into cubes, blanch it, then place the cubes into freezer bags or containers. When you’re ready to use it, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and add it to your recipe as desired.
Kohlrabi vegetable can be used in a variety of recipes. Here is one delicious kohlrabi recipe to try at home:
Kohlrabi and apple slaw recipe:
- 2 large kohlrabi, peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 2 apples, cored and cut into matchsticks
- mayonnaise (1/4 cup)
- apple cider vinegar (1 tablespoon)
- salt (1/4 teaspoon)
- pepper (1/4 teaspoon)
- chopped fresh dill (2 tablespoons)
How to make:
- In a large bowl, combine the kohlrabi and apple matchsticks.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper.
- Pour the dressing over the kohlrabi and apple mixture and toss to coat.
- Add the fresh dill and mix again.
- Serve cold or at room temperature. Enjoy!
Overall, kohlrabi is a healthy and nutritious vegetable that can provide a wide range of health benefits. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential side-effects before consuming it. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about incorporating kohlrabi into your diet.