Nutrient Decline in Turnip Greens


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Food scientists have been collecting data on the nutritional content of food for decades and have noticed an alarming trend: a decline in nutrients in small garden crops. Turnip greens are a good example. From 1950 to 1999, turnip greens showed a tendency to decline by 74% in riboflavin, 48% in vitamin C, 46% in iron, and 14% in calcium. Though these results are not statistically significant, the more general trend in decline is. Read more about this trend in our article on nutrient decline in garden crops.

Change in Nutrients for Turnip Greens

In the table provided below we present the nutritional content of turnip greens from 1950 and 1999. The 1950 values for turnip greens are adjusted for water content — a sample with more water will bias the results. These measures are based on a very small number of data points and not one of the apparent individual changes are statistically different from one another, however all together, they suggest that nutrient values have declined in small garden crops.

Nutrient Change In Turnip Greens

Nutrient
1950*
1999
Calories
25.5
27
Protein
2.47
1.5
Fat
.34
.3
Carbohydrates
4.6
5.7
Ash
1.53
1.4
Calcium
220.27
190
Phosphorus
42.52
42
Iron
2.04
1.1
Vitamin A
8113.54
7600
Thiamin
.08
.07
Riboflavin
.39
.1
Niacin
.68
.6
Vitamin C
115.66
60

*The 1950 data is adjusted for water content.

Licensed to Share: Creative Commons

The graphs used to present changes in nutrition in garden crops here on the Traditional Foods website, including change in turnip greens, can be posted for noncommercial use with a link to this specific page or to our article about nutrient decline here.

Nutrient Data Source

The historical data on the nutritional content of food has been published and distributed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It was also compiled by Davis, Epp, and Riordan whose research we describe on this website. We adjusted the 1950 turnip greens nutritional content so that the water content of the 1950 and 1999 samples would be the same, as did Davis, Epp, and Riordan.

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