If you are diabetic, the kind of foods you eat are definitely limited. Eating only foods that have low sugar content is a critical factor in managing this disease effectively. Due to this limited food selection battling many patients, many people due turn to turnips to see if they have some benefits for the diabetics.
Turnip is a root vegetable mainly grown in temperate regions of the world. It is rich in many vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and some B-group vitamins. Turnip greens are also very rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, vitamin A, and folate. Both turnip and its greens provide little amounts of calories, about 20 and 22 calories respectively, per 100 gram serving of these cooked vegetables.
According to the USDA, one medium turnip (122 grams) contain carbohydrates of about 7.84 g (1). That’s about 2% of the daily value for carbohydrates. In managing diabetes, most healthcare experts suggest limiting your intake of carbs to around 30-60 grams during meals, and about 15-30 grams for snacks. So, even if you consume 3 medium-sized turnips, you carbs intake will be averaging around 22-24 grams, and that’s still a very low carbohydrate diet a diabetic can tolerate.
In essence, turnips are considered ideal for diabetic patients because of their low carbohydrate content, and significant amounts of fiber. Fiber helps the diabetics by reducing the amount of sugar that is absorbed into the bloodstream. Fiber is not easily broken down by the body, so it holds sugar particles during digestion, and only release them slowly into the bloodstream – an action that prevents hike in blood sugar level especially in type-2 diabetic patients, because the limited-insulin in the blood will be able cater for the slowly absorbed sugar.
Moreover, fiber has been documented for its beneficial effect in increasing satiety. As a diabetic, you should focus on eating only foods that can make you feel satisfied for a long period of time. This helps reduce the amount of carbs you consume in the long run. Turnip is significantly rich in fiber, and by adding adequate amounts into your diet, you can satisfy your hunger easily, while also eliminating your fear of eating too much calories.
Based on an anecdotal claim, a diabetic patient found her blood sugar to reduce by about 5 places after eating turnips cooked in olive oil along with some onions after just 2 hours (2). However, this claim is completely personal, and has no scientific evidence to back it up. Besides, as a diabetic, you should always consult your doctor before adding anything to your diet.
To date, there are very little scientific evidences that have proved the beneficial effects of eating turnips in human beings. Most researches carried out in this aspect were focused on laboratory animals. Although studies conducted with these laboratory animals have recorded some success, their findings are still preliminary and requires further validation to see if turnips can actually benefit human diabetic patients.
As a wrap up, the benefits of turnip in diabetes disease is mainly due to its low carbohydrate content and high fiber content. The low carbs and high fiber content makes you eat less amount of calories/carbs in total while making you feel full or satiated for a longer period of time.
As a diabetic, there are also some benefits you can gain from eating turnips. It can boost your immunity, improve your cardiovascular health, and reduce your risk for cancer. You can read these benefits in a post I wrote earlier, titled “Turnip properties, benefits, and medicinal uses“.