We are just coming into the rhubarb season so its a good time to give you the low down on it’s nutrient values. One reason why rhubarb is popular in ancient Chinese medicine is because it is a good source of dietary fibre, of both the soluble and insoluble kind, important for soothing stomach ailments and relieving constipation. A good thing to remember is that rhubarb leaves are toxic, due to high levels of oxalic acid.
Every serving of rhubarb provides 45% of the daily value in vitamin K, which supports healthy bone growth. It contains infection-fighter vitamin C, along with vitamin A, another powerful natural antioxidant for good skin and mucous membranes, good vision, and possible protection against lung and mouth cancers , with healthy additions of the B group vitamins. Good mineral sources include 32% of the daily value in manganese per serving, along with iron, potassium, and phosphorus.
While many believe milk is the best calcium source, one cup of cooked rhubarb contains just as much, and it’s actually much better for you. In fact, rhubarb is on the short list with salmon and spinach for the highest amounts of calcium it provides. So in a nutshell rhubarb is great for vitamin k for the bones, antioxidant vitamins A and C to fight infection, B vitamins for energy, along with calcium, minerals and fibre. Nutrients vital for all women’s health.
Top tip from Helen
Best eaten with fat to help the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins A and K. Refined sugar which is often added to rhubarb can affect the magnesium levels in other foods, so sweeten instead with apple juice or orange juice.
A quick snack
Stew rhubarb in ginger, orange juice and orange zest for 8 – 10 minutes until soft. Serve with natural Greek yoghurt.
Greek-inspired muesli with added rhubarb
Below is a Greek-inspired muesli with added rhubarb for that delicious colour. You will need to soak the oats overnight.
200g rhubarb, cut into 4cm pieces
120ml fresh orange juice
2 tbsp rose water, or 2 tsp rose extract
120g rolled oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
250g Greek yoghurt, plus extra to serve
50g toasted flaked almonds or pistachios, shelled and chopped if you prefer
1 Put the rhubarb in a large saucepan with orange juice and poach gently over a low heat for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb has just softened. Cool and drain the cooking liquor into a jug, then add the rose water or extract.
2 Mix the cooking liquor with the oats, cinnamon, yoghurt, half the almonds or pistachios and half the rhubarb. Stir to combine and refrigerate overnight, allowing the oats to soak.
3 Serve the muesli topped with the remaining poached rhubarb, almonds or pistachios and add more Greek yoghurt and chopped strawberries.