Known for its thick, colorful stalks and sour taste, Rhubarb is a unique vegetable!  If you have never seen its intact stalks, you could easily mistaken it for a fruit.  Because of its sour taste, it is rarely eaten raw and is almost always sweetened with sugar to be enjoyed in jams, sauces, pies, tarts, crumbles, cocktails and even in wine.  A traditional dessert in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, Rhubarb pie was part of my upbringing and is sometimes referred to as “pie plant.”  So what is Rhubarb good for?

Rhubarb is a perennial herb grown for it’s attractive rosy red leafy stalks.  This cool season vegetable is native to Siberia (what a surprise!) and expands over a large area of ground.  It is considered an easy plant to grow and can last for 10 to 15 years once it is established.  The older rhizome or root is divided up to get new plants started so ask your friends for a start.   

Rhubarb gives us many reasons to incorporate it into our LIVING YOUNGER plans:

  • Rhubarb stalks provide proper amounts of vitamin K, which has a role in bone health by promoting bone formation and strengthening activity.  Research points to vitamin K, often called the “forgotten vitamin,” as beneficial in limiting brain cell damage in Alzheimer’s Disease.  
  • The gorgeous red stems carry more vitamin A than the green varieties.  The stalks also contain small amounts of polyphenolic flavonoid compounds such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene.  These powerful antioxidants help maintain skin integrity and eye health, among many other fantastic benefits.
  • Rhubarb is one of the least caloric vegetables — that’s saying alot because most vegetables are naturally low in calories.  100 grams of the fresh stems, also known as petioles, have just 21 calories, while providing essential dietary fiber, polyphenolic antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.   

Fresh Rhubarb stalks are typically available from April to August in the market.  Look for fresh, firm, crispy bright red stalks.  Avoid those that are dull, slump or bruised.  Separate the leaves as soon as possible because they drain the nutrients from the stalk.  It is important to note that the green tops of Rhubarb contain oxalic acid and poisonous glycosides.  Vacuum- packed, canned, and freeze-dried varieties are also available.  

This is just the tip of the iceberg because Rhubarb is a unique vegetable.  START SOMEWHERE exploring new whole foods from life’s garden.  LIVE YOUNGER by giving your body delicious, nutrient-dense nourishment.  You can do it.  I will help you.

Rhubarb is a Unique Vegetable

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