Though they are similar types of root vegetables, rutabaga is actually a cross between the turnip and the cabbage. The turnip is sometimes called a "white turnip" and rutabaga is often referred to as a "yellow turnip," referring to the common color of their root flesh. However, there are yellow and white varieties of both. Rutabagas are also sometimes referred to as "swedes" or Swedish turnips.
Rutabaga roots are larger and denser than those of the turnip. While the rutabaga root has an elongated, leafy neck, the turnip has little to no neck at all. Though similar in taste, rutabaga tends to be a bit sweeter than the turnip and takes longer to cook.
Both vegetables are members of the mustard family and considered to be cruciferous vegetables with an array of great health benefits. However, not all of their benefits are the same. More is known about the nutrient dense turnip greens than those of the rutabaga, but both leaves offer more nutritional value than the root vegetables themselves.
Here are a few health comparisons between rutabaga and the turnip:
Both vegetables seem to offer similar support when it comes to cancer prevention. The nutrient dense leaves of the turnip may offer more antioxidant and phytonutrient support than those of the rutabaga.
The anti-inflammatory properties and high levels of folate make turnips a more proven beneficiary of cardiovascular health than rutabaga.
While turnip greens are chalk full of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese and beta-carotene, rutabaga offers only highly concentrated levels of vitamin C. Rutabaga is also a good source of carotenoids, which studies show increase antioxidant effects.
Rutabaga offers good amounts of potassium, which promotes good bone health. Turnips however, offer both potassium and significant levels of calcium as well.
Turnip greens offer about 20% the DV of dietary fiber while one serving of rutabaga root offers about 12% the DV.
Turnips contain 36 calories per 1 cup serving vs. 50 calories per 1 cup serving in rutabaga. Turnip greens however, contain only 18 calories per 1 cup serving.