Last time I posted an article on why root vegetables are healthy to include into your weekly menus. This article lists the 10 healthiest root vegetables and why they are so great for you.
With winter coming on, creating warm, hearty meals with root vegetables will give you the fuel your body needs to cope with the cold. Watch your portions but enjoy the rich, savory flavors and full, content, feeling they provide.
And be sure to try the recipe at the bottom of the post.
10 Healthiest Root Vegetables
by Dr. Josh Axe
1. Sweet Potatoes/Yams
These are probably most people’s top pick for a tasty root vegetable that has so many uses. Sweet potato benefits include a very high supply of vitamin A (they’re one of the best sources on Earth), potassium, vitamin B5 and vitamin C — in addition to fiber and slow-absorbing starch. Even though they’re called “sweet,” they’re actually lower on the glycemic index than regular white potatoes and help stabilize blood sugar better.
What’s the difference between yams and sweet potatoes? Sweet potatoes are lower in calories and higher in antioxidants, but yams contain higher levels of potassium. They have a similar taste and texture, so both make great choices.
2. Russet or Yukon (White) Potatoes
White potatoes might get a bad rap, but the truth is they do provide plenty of antioxidants and nutrients. Potato nutrition benefits include being a very high source of potassium, which is important for building strong bones and supporting heart health. In fact, potatoes can help lower your risk for dangerously low potassium even more than bananas and sweet potatoes. They have about 20 percent or more of your daily potassium in every potato.
White potatoes also contain a good dose of manganese — about 22 percent of your daily value in one potato — which is important for bone and nerve health. To preserve their potassium and other nutrients best, eat the skins and only lightly cook them — which means no deep-fried French fries!
Carrots are one of the most popular veggies worldwide and can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. Carrots and carrot juice get their signature orange color from antioxidants called carotenoids, which are known for protecting the eyes and skin. They also supply lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants. In addition to high levels of vitamin A, carrots also provide a good dose of vitamins C, D, E and K — plus magnesium, potassium and calcium.
As a member of the same plant family as carrots, parsley and celery, parsnips have a lot of the same benefits of celery, carrots and parsley. They’re a great source of dietary fiber, folate, potassium and vitamin C. About 1/2 cup of cooked parsnips provides three grams of dietary fiber, about 12 percent of the fiber you need daily. A high percentage of parsnips’ fiber is soluble, which is linked to a decreased risk of diabetes and high blood cholesterol. This same size serving also provides about 11 percent of your daily folate, which is important for energy, metabolism, nervous system health, synthesis of DNA and red blood cells formation.
Beet benefits are plentiful. Some evidence shows that beets can enhance your endurance during athletic performance and help you recover from exercise better. Beets naturally contain nitrates, which the body easily uses for muscle recovery, improved circulation, lower inflammation and increased physical performance.
Studies show that supplementing with the type of nitrates found in beets allows athletes to shave minutes off of their race times and experience less bodily stress from the exercise. Beets also naturally alkalize and detoxify the body, support hormonal health, and provide high levels of phytonutrients called betalains.
Turnips are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, so they’re related to cancer-fighting veggies like broccoli, collard greens, cabbage, kale and Brussels sprouts. Like other cruciferous foods, turnips and turnip greens nutrition contain a type of phytonutrients called indoles that are known to reduce your risk for cancer, especially of the prostate, lungs, stomach and colon. High in calcium, magnesium and potassium, they’re also a heart-healthy food that supports balanced blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides.
Rutabagas are essentially a cross between cabbage and turnips, so they provide many of the same benefits. They’re high in fiber and a great source of vitamin C, with about 47 percent of your recommend daily intake. Additionally, they’re a high source of zinc, which plays a role in immune health, brain function, mood regulation, metabolism and protection from physiological stress, and help fight zinc deficiency. With a similar taste to turnips and white potatoes, they come out great when roasted and caramelized.
8. Butternut Squash
With a high supply of beta-carotene, butternut squash not only tastes great, but it’s a cancer defender and immune system booster. Generally speaking, the darker the orange hue of vegetables, the higher the content of beta-carotene.
Like other carotenoids, beta-carotene can help turn up communication between cells that destroy cancerous tumor growth and promote lower levels of toxicity. Butternut squash tastes great roasted but can also work in baked goods to take place of sugar or excess butter and dairy.
9. Winter Squash
Just like closely related butternut squash, winter squash provides protective antioxidants, including alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-cryptoxanthin. These are considered essential for eye health and preserving vision into old age since they protect the cornea, macula and retina from damage.
Winter and butternut squashes both have high starch contents, which means they contain polysaccharides found in their cell walls. These polysaccharides include pectins and other starch-related components that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic properties.
10. Jerusalem Artichokes
An extremely good source of fiber, every one-cup serving of cooked Jerusalem artichokes (also called “sunchokes”) provides 10 grams of fiber, in addition to three grams of protein and just 100 calories. They’re also a great source of vitamin A (with about 25 percent of your daily needs in every serving), plus iron and potassium. In fact, as one of the highest plant sources of iron with 28 percent of your needs, Jerusalem artichokes combat iron deficiency and are a great way to support nerve health, red blood cell formation, anemia prevention and a healthy metabolism.
Butternut Squash Bake Recipe
Total Time: 60-80 minutes
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1 cup candied pecans
- 1/2 cup chèvre goat cheese
- 1 small butternut squash, roasted
- 1 tspCinnamon
- 3 tbspcoconut oil, melted
- Cook onions in a pan with oil caramelized.
- Roast butternut squash in oven at 350 degrees F for 45 -60 minutes depending on size.
- Once cooled, gut the squash and cut butternut squash into small cubes.
- Combine squash with onions, chopped apple, and pecans. Drizzle with coconut oil and cinnamon.
- Add goat cheese and serve.
Source: Root Veggies
To your health!
What is your favorite root vegetable recipe?
Please share your questions and comments below.