9 Incredible health benefits of eating rhubarb, a powerful superfood (recipes included)
11/18/2020 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
9 Incredible health benefits of eating rhubarb, a powerful superfood (recipes included)

There’s a lot more to rhubarb than pies, tarts and other pastries. This “vegetable” – a highly debatable label – has stalks that resemble celery in height and texture. But rhubarb’s decidedly tart flavor is sure to eliminate any chances of getting them mixed up.

The heart-shaped leaves that sit on top of rhubarb’s light green to purplish-red stalks are inedible and even toxic if consumed in excess. For this reason, recipes often only use the tart, vibrant and crunchy stalks.

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The many health benefits of rhubarb

Rhubarb contains several powerful antioxidants, nutrients and beneficial compounds associated with amazing health benefits, from a healthier heart to a lower risk of chronic diseases like cancer.

Here’s the rundown on rhubarb’s incredible health benefits:

  1. Provides many nutrients – Rhubarb stalks are an excellent source of vitamins K and C, magnesium, manganese, potassium and calcium, among other essential vitamins and minerals.
  2. Fights inflammation – Some rhubarb stalks have a brighter red color than the others. That’s because of a pigment called rhein, which also works to neutralize free radicals and stamp out inflammation.
  3. Improves memory – Rhubarb is a rich source of anthocyanins, a group of pigments that give colorful fruits their vibrant peels. But aside from adding color to rhubarb stalks, anthocyanins improve memory and protect it from impairment, especially as you age.
  4. Fights harmful bacteria – Natural healers have used rhubarb for millennia because of its powerful effects against infection-causing bacteria. Rhubarb is especially beneficial for treating bacterial skin conditions like acne.
  5. Inhibits tumor growth – Rhubarb has been studied as a potential cancer-fighting substance because it contains a group of aromatic compounds called anthraquinones. Several studies have shown that they helped stop the growth of cancer cells and tumors.
  6. Lowers bad cholesterol – The fiber in rhubarb stalks helps reduce your bad cholesterol levels. You’re at a greater risk of heart disease and its complications if you have high levels of bad cholesterol.
  7. Promotes regular bowel movement – The fiber-rich rhubarb stalks are also beneficial for your gut. The fiber binds to your stool and makes it easier to pass. Regularly passing stool means you’re less likely to feel constipated.
  8. Improves skin health – For healthier, younger-looking skin, eat more rhubarb. The vitamin A in the stalks acts as an antioxidant to delay aging. Vitamin A also protects your skin against infection, dryness and cellular damage due to pollution.
  9. Improves diabetic nephropathy – Aside from fighting inflammation, rhein in rhubarb has also been found to aid in treating diabetic nephropathy, a kidney-related complication of diabetes. It is the leading cause of kidney failure.

Healthy rhubarb recipes

Rhubarb’s tart flavor and bright color make it stand out in pies, sauces, salads and more. Here’s how to make the most of this incredible superfood:

Dairy-free rhubarb curd

This beautiful pink rhubarb curd is the perfect match for plain toast, pancakes and homemade pastries.

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb stalks
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup solid coconut oil, cut into chunks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. In a bowl, beat the eggs and mix it with honey.
  2. To a pot, add water, lemon juice and vanilla extract. Cook the rhubarb in that mixture for 8 minutes over medium heat.
  3. Once done, pour the hot rhubarb into the egg and honey mixture. Stir until fully incorporated.
  4. Pour the mixture back into the pot. Cook for 8–10 minutes over low-medium heat until thickened.
  5. Remove from the heat, then add the chunks of coconut oil. Pour the curd into a blender and blend for 30 seconds or until smooth.
  6. Transfer the curd into an airtight container and keep refrigerated. It should keep for about a week.

Roasted rhubarb salad

Introduce a bright color and a sharp tartness to your classic green salad by tossing in some fresh rhubarb.

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb stalks
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup toasted walnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F. In a bowl, toss the rhubarb with the coconut sugar until well coated. Rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Spread the rhubarb on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Roast for 5 minutes, then rest for 10 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, whisk vinegar, olive oil, shallot, salt and pepper. Divide the greens among 4 plates.
  4. Top each plate with roasted rhubarb, goat cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with the dressing.

Rhubarb and chia jam

This simple rhubarb jam with chia seeds tastes incredible on plain toast, oatmeal or fresh fruit slices.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped rhubarb stalks
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb and honey. Cook over medium heat, stirring often until the rhubarb is mostly submerged in the honey.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, then add the chia seeds. Cook for 25–30 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Remove from the heat, then add lemon juice.  Transfer it into an airtight container and keep refrigerated. It should keep for 1–2 weeks.

From brighter skin to better protection against cancer, rhubarb boasts an impressive range of benefits. To reap these benefits, make rhubarb part of your regular diet.

Sources:

CMS.HerbalGram.org

OccasionallyEggs.com

EatingWell.com

CookieAndKate.com

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