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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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