Turnips (Brassica rapa) and turnip greens have been shown to have antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Turnips, which are a type of cruciferous vegetable, are a very good dietary source of benzyl isothiocyanate (BITC), indole-3-carbinol (I3C) and 3,3'-diindolylmethane (DIM, a metabolic product of I3C), all of which have been shown to have chemopreventive properties. Turnip consumption has been found to be associated with reduced risks of esophageal, lung, gastric, bladder, colorectal and prostate cancer.
Turnip greens are very good source of beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K. In addition, turnip greens contain kaempferol, allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), β-phenylethyl isothiocyanate and various other isothiocyanates, including some sulforaphane, all of which have been reported to have anti-cancer properties. Turnip green consumption has been found to be associated with reduced risks of gastric, bladder, and prostate cancer.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating turnips and turnip greens
Various isothiocyanates derived from turnips or turnip greens have been found to have chemopreventive activity against a variety of breast cancer cell lines in the laboratory. A Chinese study which measured urinary isothiocyanate levels as a marker of brassica vegetable intake found that higher levels were protective against breast cancer in both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Turnip consumption has been found to be associated with lower risk of breast cancer in U.S., Chinese, Japanese, and Korean women.
Rutabagas (also know as yellow turnips or swedes) are closely related to turnips and appear to have similar chemopreventive properties, although they are a better source of myricetin. Radishes (another type of cruciferous vegetable also related to turnips) are a good source of isothiocyanates such as AITC.
Cruciferous vegetables contain thioglucoside compounds that can interfere with the formation of thyroid hormone.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list, including less recent studies, please click on turnips and turnip greens.