I adore rhubarb; I harvest handfuls of the deep red stalks every few days. I love it for baking, preserving, and cooking. In my next post I will share some of my favourite recipes (no sugar involved).
Is rhubarb a fruit or a vegetable? It’s actually a veggie, but in this country it took a court case to establish rhubarb officially as a fruit. It wasn’t until the 18th century, when sugar had become cheap and readily available, that rhubarb became popular as a food. Before that, it was mainly used as a medicinal herb. In fact, its dried roots have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
One of the main reasons why people cultivate and eat rhubarb is for its astounding nutritional value. Rhubarb is packed with minerals, vitamins, organic compounds, and other nutrients that make it ideal for keeping our bodies healthy. Some of these precious components are dietary fibre, protein, vitamin C, vitamin K, (a 100-gram serving of cooked rhubarb contains 26% of the RDI for vitamin K). B complex vitamins, calcium, potassium, manganese, and In terms of organic compounds, rhubarb is a rich source of polyphenolic flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
- Rhubarb may help prevent cancer when baked or stewed for 20 minutes.
- In a recent study, daily doses of rhubarb extract reduced hot flashes in menopausal women. Unlike other natural remedies, rhubarb extract does not contain oestrogen.
- Rhubarb juice may be helpful as a weight loss aid.
Rhubarb’s Dietary Dilemma
Rhubarb stems contain much less oxalic acid than the leaves, and little or no anthraquinone. So, they are safe to eat in reasonable quantities, and provide vitamins A and C. But eating too much rhubarb too often might not be a good idea because of possible stress to kidneys and inflammation of joints. It is estimated that an adult would need to eat several pounds of rhubarb to feel ill effects, with 20 to 25 pounds (9 to 11 kg ) of fresh rhubarb as a lethal dose.
- Due to the potent nature of rhubarb, you should avoid it if you have a pre-existing kidney condition or certain gastrointestinal conditions, as it can make them worse. Also, be careful that children or pets do not eat the rhubarb leaves. There have been some cases of death due to the toxic levels of oxalic acid contained in the leaves. Other than that, rhubarb is a delicious and beneficial food for you and your family to enjoy!