By Lacy Puttuck | Published on December 13, 2017
Rhubarb has the perfect balance of nutrients for bone health you need to lift big in the gym for years to come.
It’s classed as a vegetable but its thick stalks are considered a fruit, despite their tart flavor. This means it mostly needs to be sweetened to be enjoyable but it still has an abundance of health benefits.
Here, MACROS delves into why we should be eating more of this pink food.
1 cup diced (122g), as set by USDA: 26 calories | 6g carbs | 1g sugar | 1g protein | 0g fat | 2g fibre
Choose the ripe one
Look for bright red, firm stalks with dark coloured fresh green tops. Avoid dull and limp-looking rhubarb as it may not have the best taste or texture. Also, avoid the top greens of rhubarb as they have high concentrations of oxalates, which can damage your health.
More muscle food
Almost 99% of your body’s calcium is locked up in your bones, so eating enough calcium-rich foods is vital for maintaining their structure. Rhubarb is an underrated source of calcium that’ll shore up your defences, especially when you consider tough training can wreak havoc on this mineral’s stores due to muscle using it to get those great pumps. This takes away from bone density, so add some rhubarb to keep your skeleton strong.
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Just one measly serving of rhubarb contains almost half of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K, which is essential for building bone. In fact, research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests higher levels of vitamin K are associated with fewer bone fractures. It acts as a coenzyme to enable minerals to be bound to bone, just like having your own builders in.
Appetite for construction
Rhubarb provides the materials and crew for your bones, but what holds it all together is this herb’s vitamin C. It’s essential in the formation of collagen, which acts like the glue and nails to keep your bones strong and prevent wastage, found research in the journal PLOS ONE. Your fitness goals all demand a good set of bones, so keep them strong by snacking on rhubarb today.
Serving it the tasty way
Pie is not the only way to enjoy rhubarb. Try this rhubarb and cucumber salsa as a side dish to your favourite protein meal.
- 1 1/2 cups of 1/4-inch rhubarb cubes
- 1 cup of 1/4-inch cubes of seeded English hothouse cucumber, unpeeled
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1 finely chopped green onion
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: Toss your rhubarb, the next five ingredients and the green parts of your scallions into a bowl to coat.
Step 2: Season to taste with salt and pepper and let stand for at least 10 minutes to allow flavours to meld.
Step 3: This recipe goes well with chicken, pork and fish.
Your dietician, Lacy Puttuck is a sports scientist and director of sports nutrition at Dominate Your Game.