Also known as the turnip cabbage or German turnip, kohlrabi is a vegetable related to the cabbage that can be eaten raw or cooked.
Raw kohlrabi is high in fiber, providing 5 grams in each cup (135 grams). It’s also full of vitamin C, providing 140% of the daily value per cup .
Studies have shown that the antioxidant content of kohlrabi makes it a powerful tool against inflammation and diabetes.
In one animal study, kohlrabi extract was able to decrease blood sugar levels by 64% within just seven days of treatment.
Though there are different types of kohlrabi available, studies show that red kohlrabi has nearly twice the amount of phenolic antioxidants and displays stronger anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Kohlrabi is very nutritious and offers various health benefits.
High in antioxidants
Kohlrabi contains a wide array of antioxidants, such as vitamin C, anthocyanins, isothiocyanates, and glucosinolates. These are plant compounds that protect your cells against free radical damage that may otherwise increase your risk of disease.
Diets high in antioxidant-rich vegetables like kohlrabi are associated with a reduced risk of diabetes, metabolic disease, and premature death.
The skin of purple kohlrabi is particularly high anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid that gives vegetables and fruit a red, purple, or blue color. High intake of anthocyanins is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and mental decline.
All color varieties of kohlrabi are high in isothiocyanates and glucosinolates, which are powerful antioxidants associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and inflammation.
Promotes a healthy gut
Kohlrabi is high in fiber. In fact, you can get about 17% of your daily fiber needs from a single cup (135 grams) of this vegetable.
It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The former is water-soluble and helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. On the other hand, insoluble fiber isn’t broken down in your intestine, helping add bulk to your stool and promoting regular bowel movements.
What’s more, fiber is the main fuel source of healthy gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacteria and Lactobacilli. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, which nourish the cells of your gut and may protect against heart disease and obesity.
Additionally, a healthy gut microbiome is associated with a healthier immune system and lower risks of obesity and bowel disease.
May lower your risk of heart disease
Kohlrabi contains powerful plant compounds called glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which are mainly found in cruciferous vegetables.
High glucosinolate intake is linked to a lower risk of heart disease due to this compound’s ability to widen blood vessels and reduce inflammation. Moreover, isothiocyanates have antioxidant properties that may prevent plaque buildup in your arteries.
A long-term study in 1,226 women aged 70 or older found that eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables was associated with a 13% lower risk of death from heart disease for every 10-gram increase in fiber intake per day.
Furthermore, purple kohlrabi is high in anthocyanins, which have been shown to lower blood pressure and your risk of heart attack.
Finally, a high-fiber diet may protect against heart disease. One review of 15 studies found that a diet rich in this nutrient decreased the risk of death from heart disease by 24%, compared with low-fiber diets .
Supports a healthy immune system
The nutrients in kohlrabi may support your immune system.
This vegetable is high in vitamin B6, which is important for many functions, including protein metabolism, red blood cell development, and immune function.
Vitamin B6 is involved in the production of white blood cells and T-cells, which are types of immune cells that fight foreign substances and are key to a healthy immune system. Deficiency in this nutrient is linked to a weakened immune system.
Additionally, kohlrabi is an excellent source of vitamin C, which may support white blood cell function and, ultimately, strengthen your immune system.