The nutritional value of rhubarb


Rhubarb, also known as picking, is a vegetable that is distinguished by both its characteristic taste and high content of health-promoting ingredients. The rhubarb season lasts only three months, from April to June. Let's check why we shouldn't miss it!


Rhubarb is a vegetable belonging to the knotweed family. Its appearance is hard to confuse with another vegetable. It has characteristic large leaves and thick and longleaf petioles (usually red or pink). It is the rhubarb stalks that are used to prepare delicious and healthy dishes in the spring and summer periods.

Healing properties

Rhubarb is a low-calorie vegetable, so we can also include it in a slimming diet without fear (100 g is only 15 kcal). It can be said that its consumption is even advisable if we are struggling with overweight and obesity. This is because its low caloric content goes hand in hand with its high fiber content – about 3 g per 100 g of rhubarb. It is worth mentioning that fiber not only helps to maintain healthy body weight, but also improves the functioning of the intestines, has a beneficial effect on carbohydrate metabolism, and also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. What other valuable ingredients can we find in rhubarb?


Rhubarb is a source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and some amounts of folate.

  • Vitamin C – is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system, as well as for the synthesis of collagen. As a result, eating foods rich in vitamin C naturally increases immunity and improves the appearance of the skin. Vitamin C also has strong antioxidant properties, which delay the aging process.
  • Beta-carotene – like vitamin C has a beneficial effect not only on our health but also on the skin. As an antioxidant, it will delay the aging process and ensure its beautiful color.
  • Folates – they occupy an important place in the diet of women who are planning pregnancy and pregnant women because they reduce the risk of neural tube defects.


The rhubarb also contains minerals, like iron. It is a component of hemoglobin, which means it is essential for transporting the components needed for cell function. Iron deficiency leads to the development of iron deficiency anemia, which manifests itself in weakness, drowsiness, as well as headaches, and dizziness. However, we must remember that rhubarb contains large amounts of oxalates, which reduce the absorption of iron. We can reduce their amount by cooking or baking rhubarb.

Other ingredients that determine the health-promoting properties of rhubarb

Minerals, dietary fiber, and vitamins are not the only ingredients that determine the health-promoting properties of rhubarb. Stilbenes and anthraquinones can also be found in rhubarb.

  • Stilbens – compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In addition, they show anti-cancer properties and reduce bronchospasm.
  • Anthraquinones – their healing properties are widely used in pharmacotherapy. Anthraquinones have anti-tumor, antiviral, and antifungal properties.

Despite such a large amount of health-promoting ingredients, there are also some contraindications to eating rhubarb. This vegetable is not recommended for people with oxalate stones, osteoporosis, and gout because it has a lot of oxalates. Due to the risk of irritation of the gastrointestinal tract, rhubarb should also be abandoned by people who are ill, e.g. for ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, as well as infections with diarrhea, flatulence, and indigestion.

Culinary properties

Rhubarb is a vegetable that has a characteristic sour taste. The slightly sweeter red petioles can be used to prepare juices, compotes, and preserves. Rhubarb wins our hearts and taste buds also as an ingredient in yeast cakes. It goes well with other holiday fruits, such as strawberries and raspberries. However, we do not have to limit ourselves to using it to prepare sweet dishes. Rhubarb can also be a good addition to meat dishes. Supporters of sour taste can eat it even raw (with a small addition of sugar), however, it should be remembered that in this form it has more oxalates. In addition, you should not overdo it with the amount of sugar, the consumption of which promotes tooth decay, carbohydrate disorders as well as overweight and obesity.


The rhubarb season is quite short. Therefore, if we want to take advantage of its pro-health and taste values, we should hurry! We can also always think about preparing “stocks for the winter”, for example in the form of compotes and preserves with the addition of this healthy vegetable. Including rhubarb in the diet can help us maintain healthy body weight, delay the aging process, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

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