10 Surprising Benefits of Kohlrabi

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

 Likes  Comments

The health benefits of kohlrabi include its ability to improve your digestive processes, help you lose weight, may reduce the risk of cancer, boost the immune system, regulate the metabolism, increase circulation, strengthen bones, improve vision health, and assists in protecting muscle and nerve function.

What is Kohlrabi?

Kohlrabi is a hardy, annual vegetable that is primarily consumed in European countries, although it has also become a vegetable staple in northern India. It is actually a cultivar of cabbage and was specifically bred as a hardier version of cruciferous vegetables, which often can’t grow in harsh conditions. The small bulbous vegetable is encased in two harder shells of leaves, which typically do not soften when cooked. However, kohlrabi can be eaten raw or cooked and has been a staple of German cuisine for hundreds of years. You can use the kohlrabi root as well as the leaves in your diet, as they both have significant amounts of nutrients.

Kohlrabi tastes somewhat like a broccoli stem, although somewhat more palatable, and is often softer, even taking on the consistency of an apple at times. While the roots/stems are often used in salads in a similar way as carrots or broccoli, the leaves are typically interchanged for kale or spinach. Some countries even use it as food for their livestock, as it is packed with beneficial nutrients and grows relatively easily in certain climates.

Closeup of fresh green kohlrabi

Kohlrabi Nutrition Facts

Kohlrabi is so highly valued in countries and cuisines around the world not only for its diversity in cooking applications but also because it is full of nutrients and minerals. According to USDA National Nutrient Base, kohlrabi consists of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and calcium, as well as vitamins, such as vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin K. Along with that, it is also high in dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds such as phytochemicals and various carotenes.

Health Benefits of Kohlrabi

Health benefits of kohlrabi include the following:

Improves Digestion

Just like most of the cruciferous vegetables, kohlrabi is a great source of dietary fiber that can seriously improve your digestive health. Fiber helps to move your bowels along, eliminating constipation, reducing cramping and bloating, and generally improving the quality of your gastrointestinal system, while also maximizing your nutrient uptake efficiency.

Weight Loss

Dr. Anita L. Iannucci, in a report published in the Integrative Medicine, has called kohlrabi the perfect vegetable for a weight loss diet, because it is low in calories, high in fiber, and is packed with beneficial nutrients. Fiber makes us feel full, so even if the volume of food consumed isn’t that great, we resist the urge to snack between meals or overeat.

Boosts Energy Level

Kohlrabi is rich in potassium and although this characteristic of potassium isn’t discussed too often, it is one of the key players in muscle and nerve behavior in the body. It helps us move, breathe, react, and function every single day. As such, the high potassium content in this vegetable makes it a great addition to your diet to keep alert, energetic, and in great shape!

Regulates Blood Pressure

Dr. Jiang He, Harvard University, in a study revealed that the potassium content in kohlrabi also functions as a vasodilator, reducing the strain on the cardiovascular system by easing the tension of blood vessels and arteries. This can increase circulation throughout the body, oxygenating key areas, and lowering the risk of cardiovascular events like strokes or heart attacks. Potassium is also a key part of fluid regulation in the body, as it works with sodium to regulate fluid movement between cells.

Prevents Anemia

Apart from potassium, Kohlrabi also consists of iron. The significant levels of iron found in kohlrabi go hand-in-hand with the potassium content, as iron helps to increase the RBC in the body, which is essential to prevent anemia (iron deficiency), which is characterized by weakness, fatigue, headaches, stomach disorders, disorientation, and general immune system failure. The calcium found in kohlrabi also improves the uptake of iron by the body, so kohlrabi is an all-around booster for both the immune and cardiovascular systems.

Improves Bone Strength

As we get older, our bones inevitably weaken, but one of the best ways to avoid or significantly slow down that process is by eating mineral-rich food, which includes vegetables like kohlrabi, with high manganese, iron, and calcium contents.

Eye Care

Dr. Helen M Rasmussen of Cambridge University, USA, wrote in a 2013 report published in the Clinical Interventions in Aging journal that Kohlrabi is a rich source of carotenes, including beta-carotene, which acts as an antioxidant compound in the body, particularly in the ocular area. Vitamin A can help to prevent macular degeneration and slow down or eliminate the appearance of cataracts. This is done by neutralizing the free radicals in the eye and preventing oxidative stress.

Health benefits of kohlrabi - infographic

Increases your Metabolism

For those people who want to regulate their metabolism or feel that something in their body just isn’t working properly, they should try kohlrabi, which is a rich source of B-vitamins, many of which play key roles in enzymatic processes within the body. This vital network of reactions and processes determines how functional and efficient our bodies are, so making sure to add B-vitamin-rich foods like kohlrabi to a weekly diet can really help!

Anti-cancer Properties

According to a study by Hyun Ah Jung et al., eating kohlrabi helps reduce the risk of developing cancer as it contains potent phytochemicals including isothiocyanates, sulforaphane, and indole-3-carbinol (Preventive Nutrition and Food Science 2014).

Word of Caution: Aside from a very rare case of a food allergy, it is not the source of any known allergens and can be eaten without worry by the vast majority of people – especially for those looking for a healthier form of cabbage!

DMCA.com Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

Rate this article
Average rating 3.9 out of 5.0 based on 673 user(s).