fresh rhubarb chopped

The health benefits of rhubarb

Colourful, flavourful, and oh-so-delicious, rhubarb is a popular vegetable that’s a staple in many people’s diets all over the world. Known for its deep red hue and sour taste, the edible stalks are often sweetened with sugar when cooked, creating a more likeable taste with a consistency that similar to celery.

Here, we’ll explore the various health benefits of rhubarb, as well as look at its nutritional profile, and showcase some of our favourite ways to eat it.

Rhubarb nutritional profile

Rhubarb is jam-packed full of healthy nutrients, minerals, and vitamins, including but not limited to:1

  • Fibre: normalises bowel movements and helps to maintain good digestive health. It’s also beneficial for helping to maintain a healthy weight2

  • Protein: increases muscle mass and strength. It’s also good for your bones and is linked to the reduction of appetite and hunger levels3

  • Vitamin K: plays an important role in bone health, wound healing, and blood clotting4

  • Calcium: your body needs calcium to build and maintain strong bones. Your heart, muscles, and nerves also need calcium to function properly5

  • Vitamin C: supports immunity and helps promote iron absorption. It’s also linked to the reduction of high blood pressure and may lower the risk of heart disease6

The health benefits of eating rhubarb

Studies on the health benefits of rhubarb are limited, but there are some promising results:

It may lower cholesterol levels

Rhubarb contains high levels of fibre, which is linked to the lowering of cholesterol levels within the body. A recent controlled study found that men who ate 27 grams of rhubarb-stalk fibre every day for a month experienced a drop in their cholesterol levels by 8% as well as a drop in their LDL (bad) cholesterol of 9%.7

It’s full of antioxidants

Rhubarb is rich in phenolic acid, an antioxidant that’s linked to healthy skin and helps protect the body from harmful free radicals.8 It’s also known to contain high levels of polyphenol, which may even be higher than that of Kale.9

Ways to eat rhubarb

Here's a few ways you can enjoy rhubarb:10

  • Raw: before eating raw rhubarb, it’s important to remove all the leaves as these are poisonous. To combat the sour taste, we recommend dipping the stalks into something sweet like sugar or honey. Enjoy!

  • As a chutney: to add a unique flavour to savoury dishes, add a rhubarb sauce or chutney. These are a great way to make use of rhubarb before it starts to wilt – just throw your stalks into a food processor and add orange, sugar, vinegar, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and dates

  • In a smoothie: Fancy adding a bit of zing to your morning smoothie? Pop in some chopped up rhubarb for a healthy and delicious way to make your smoothie extra special.

Last updated: 22 June 2020