Understanding the nutritional value of foods: Turnip greens
the ONA take:
Oncology nurses may be asked for tips on healthy foods and how to include them in a balanced diet. Turnip greens, a cruciferous vegetable high in nutritional value, low caloric, and no fat, can help patients include many nutrients into their diet including several vitamins (K, A, C, folate, and E), calcium, and iron.
The cruciferous vegetable family also includes kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and rutabaga. The nutrients in this leafy green vegetable can improve skin and hair, blood, bones, and other body systems. In addition, turnip greens can be part of a healthy diet to prevent cancer.
Consuming cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a lower risk of cancer, in particular lung and colon cancer. Sulforaphane, a sulfur-containing compound that gives these vegetables their bitter taste, can inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC), known to be involved in the progression of cancer cells.
Turnip greens and other green vegetables are also shown to block the carcinogenic effects generated by grilling food at a high temperature, and pairing them with charred grilled foods could help negate this effect.
Turnip greens should have firm, deep green leaves; smaller leaves will be tenderer and have a mild flavor. They can be eaten raw in salads, sandwiches, or wraps, cooked (braised, boiled, or sautéed), or added soups and casseroles.
Although turnip greens have tremendous nutritional value, some patients should be advised to take precautions. For example, turnip greens are high in vitamin K and nitrates, and patients who are taking blood-thinners or who have cardiovascular disease or associated risk factors should consult their health care team before making significant changes in the amounts of these foods.
Oncology nurses may be asked for tips on healthy foods and how to include them in a balanced diet.
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