There is evidence that the turnip was domesticated before the 15th century BC; it was grown in India at this time for its oil-bearing seeds. The turnip was a well-established crop in Hellenistic and Roman times, which leads to the assumption that it was brought into cultivation earlier. Sappho, a Greek poet from the 7th century BC, calls one of her paramours Gongýla, “turnip”. Zohary and Hopf note, however, “there are almost no archaeological records available” to help determine its earlier history and domestication. Wild forms of the hot turnip and its relatives the mustards and radishes are found over west Asia and Europe, suggesting their domestication took place somewhere in that area. However Zohary and Hopf conclude, “Suggestions as to the origins of these plants are necessarily based on linguistic considerations.”
The turnip’s root is high in vitamin C. The green leaves of the turnip top (turnip greens) are a good source of vitamin A, folate, vitamin C, vitamin K and calcium. Turnip greens are high in lutein (8.5 mg / 100 g).
One medium raw turnip (122 g) contains the following nutritional elements according to the USDA:
- Calories : 34
- Fat: 0.12
- Carbohydrates: 7.84
- Fibers: 2.2
- Protein: 1.10
- Cholesterol: 0
Like rutabaga, turnip contains bitter cyanoglucosides that release small amounts of cyanide. Sensitivity to the bitterness of these cyanoglucosides is controlled by a paired gene. Subjects who have inherited two copies of the “sensitive” gene find turnips twice as bitter as those who have two “insensitive” genes, and thus may find turnips and other cyanoglucoside-containing foods intolerably bitter.
Vitamin C and Immune system
Turnips are full of vitamin C, which helps body to absorb iron that strengthen your immune system to fight viruses and bacterial diseases. Strong immune system leads to increased metabolism which ultimately helps you to burn calories while consuming less.