Rhubarb was a plant used extensively by our recent ancestors, recent being as little as a generation ago and as far back as Britain in the 1600s where it is believed to have migrated across Eurasia from Siberia and China. Modern folk, the current generations that still dwell within the realms of the living seem to have banished rhubarb to the culinary archives of yesteryear.
Botanically speaking Rhubarb is a vegetable but it is commonly used as fruit in these United States, I think those Canadians up north and Aussies down under also use rhubarb to a limited extent. It is a herbaceous perennial that's comes back year after year and is pretty hard to kill off once established.
Considering that Modern Folk seem fascinated with health food supplements, longevity and super foods it's a puzzle why rhubarb hasn't seen a resurgence in the contemporary diet. It takes a tad more preparation than simply popping a goji berry in your mouth or steaming some broccoli, but the rewards are well worth the benefits. Rhubarb is most certainly a Super-Food, and it tastes great too.
Rhubarb contains high levels of Vitamin K. Vitamin K is a key nutrient utilized by the body for Brain and neuronal health and Rhubarb provides 45% of the daily requirement. It prevents the oxidation of brain cells and enhances cognitive acuity. These characteristics make it instrumental in slowing the onslaught of Alzheimer's. Vitamin K also stimulates bone growth and repair.
Organic compounds in Rhubarb, [polyphenols for the scientifically endowed] increase the rate your body burns up fat cells. Rhubarb by itself also has very few calories, next to celery it is one of the lowest calorie foods available. Alas by itself, unprepared the taste of rhubarb is not all that titillating. Rhubarb is also very low on the glycemic index [GI]. Food that has a low GI are digested and metabolized at a slower rate and are also have a lower impact on blood sugar levels.
Antioxidants, antioxidants, antioxidants , every body knows that they neutralize free radicals in the body. Free Radicals are bad guys that cause healthy tissue to mutate and or die off which is a key factor leading to Cancers and other chronic diseases. Beta Carotene, Vitamin A and similar compounds that you wouldn't be able to pronounce are found in rhubarb abundantly. The right combination of antioxidants at the right time will not only help ward off Cancers but also prevent premature aging, macular degeneration, cataracts and so forth.
Heart and Circulatory Health Benefits of Rhubarb
Rhubarb improves Circulation and protects against cardiovascular degeneration. Trace quantities of minerals found in Rhubarb. Namely Iron and copper stimulate the production of red blood cells thereby increasing oxygenation in various parts of the Body.
A Cautionary note about Rhubarb. Only the stalks are edible. Eat the leaves and you wipe out all the health benefits you derived from the stalks. Probably won't kill you, though it could. It might just make you wish you were dead. Rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid and a few other nasty nuances. Oxalic acid is Nephrotoxic and can lead to severe dehydration and kidney failure. It is also highly corrosive and at the very least will give you the worst belly ache you've ever had. Don't eat the Leaves !
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