‘Tis the season of fabulous rhubarb. I cut about a dozen stalks from my garden the other day, and as I was researching what to make with them – right now, Rhubarb Lemonade tops the list (is it healthy to add processo to it?) – I thought I’d also take a look at its health benefits.
5 ways rhubarb will boost your health
1. Rhubarb contains antioxidants like lycopene and anthocyanins, helping to fight off disease.
2. It apparently can help lower cholesterol, boosting your heart health.
3. Rhubarb stalks are a good source of fibre, benefiting your digestive health.
4. It contains vitamin K, an essential property that helps with blood clotting, protecting the bones and help fighting off liver and prostate cancer.
5. Rhubarb is also a good source of vitamin C (great for a healthy immune system), calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Did you know
• Rhubarb doesn’t only come in red. You can also find pink and green rhubarb.
• The redder the stalk, the sweeter the rhubarb.
• Rhubarb has been used as a laxative for a long time.
• According to Wikipedia, rhubarb leaves are poisonous. So, um, don’t eat those.
• My aunt once told me in old movies, crowds used to repeat “Rhubarb. Rhubarb. Rhubarb.” over and over again to create background noise. This is probably true because she knows lots of things.
How to use rhubarb
Take your pick from pies, punch, muffins, smoothies and loaves! Rhubarb can be added to lots of things, but due to its bitter nature, it’s usually paired with something sweeter (hence the popularity of summer’s Strawberry Rhubarb Pie). It’s best to pair it with naturally sweet foods – like apples and strawberry. In my opinion, rhubarb doused in sugar would negate its powerful health benefits. Though I’m not against a treat once in a while.
In his book Supereating, Ian Maber says “Like many fruits, rhubarb is best eaten with a fat to help absorption of carotenoids and vitamin K. The refined sugar often added to rhubarb can affect magnesium levels in other foods, so sweeten with apple juice instead.”
Though I’m sure there are some folks out there who eat the stuff raw, most people like to bake or cook it first. When using it for punch or smoothies, it’s best to pour boiling water over it and let it sit for a while to soften up.
Do you love rhubarb?