Nutritional Benefits of Root Vegetables
Growing underneath the ground, Root Vegetables absorb high amounts of minerals and other nutrients from the soil, and more essential nutrients from the sun through their leaves. Essential for physical well being, they also improve your mental health due to their high amounts of antioxidants, which help to remove harmful free radicals and toxins from the body.
Their levels of nutrients are immense, and they’ll help you feel grounded both emotionally and physically and increasing your stamina and endurance. Roots are a source of nutritious complex carbohydrates, which break down into sugar in your body to give you energy and the ability to function properly; providing long lasting energy and helping to regulate your blood sugar levels. They are also high in fiber and phytonutrients, and normally are low in fat as well as in calories.
Long roots (carrots, parsnips, burdock and daikon radish) are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body and increase mental clarity. Round roots (turnips, radishes, beets, and rutabagas) are nourishing to the stomach, spleen, pancreas and reproductive organs and can help regulate blood sugar, moods, and alleviate cravings.
Not only helping our bodies absorb and use the nutrients we eat; they can help you to lose unwanted weight, with high amounts of nutrients and soluble fiber will help satisfy cravings for junk foods. The fiber also helps the digestive system and cleans it out to increase energy levels. Being loaded with high quality carbohydrates, root veg can easily be subbed for your grains or pasta for a tastier and more natural healthier alternative!
The flavour of all root vegetables will be enhanced by selecting fresh, firm produce (preferably organically grown) and storing it carefully. Turnips and potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark place out of the refrigerator. The rest of these roots will keep well in the refrigerator for at least 2 week.
Not only are they easily available in winter when other vegetables are hard to find, but they are also very inexpensive. Roasted, sautéed, steamed, barbequed, or cooked in a hearty veg soup, stew or casserole; they can be eaten in just about any way imaginable, and still taste great!
Root Vegetable Nutrient Closeup
Ginger: great used as a digestive aid, with broad benefits such as helping to treat arthritis, nausea, and heart conditions to relieving colds and headaches.
Onions: may increase bone density, especially for older women, and have anti-inflammatory properties, and lower cancer risks. Peel off as little of the outer layers as possible, because the onion’s flavonoids, which provide antibacterial benefits, are more concentrated there.
Garlic: known for its cardiovascular, antiviral, cancer-preventative, and metabolism-boosting qualities. Garlic specifically has a set of sulfur-containing compounds that help protect against oxidative stress, which prevents inflammation and pain.
Fennel: used as a natural treatment for anemia, especially because it is heavy in iron. Indigestion, constipation, and respiratory disorders, are among other ailments fennel can help cure. Also can be used as a mouth freshener, toothpaste (by chewing on it), and antacid for reflux and stomach discomfort.
Sweet potato: a great source of vitamin B6 and potassium, used as a hormone balancer (wild yam form) for assist with progesterone levels.
One medium sweet potato has 1,096 milligrams of Vitamin A and 103 calories — just don’t forget to eat the skin too!
Carrot: best known for being rich in beta carotene, a compound that may reduce heart disease and certain types of cancer, and Vitamin A, which bolsters vision, bone growth and tooth development. Its beta-carotene content, which is converted to vitamin A, also makes then essential for eye health.
Radish: high in Vitamin C and have are helpful in lowering cholesterol, curing urinary tract disorders, and increasing the supply of fresh oxygen in the bloodstream.
Parsnip: particularly beneficial in Winter when frosty temperatures convert the starch in the root vegetable to sugar, lending a subtle sweetness to the flesh. Look for small-to medium-sized roots, as larger parsnips can be woody.
Turnip: with a sweet flavour and high vitamin C content, turnips are gaining popularity as an alternative root vegetable. Try blending some into your next batch of mashed potatoes, pumpkin or cauliflower.
Beetroot: packed with unique phytonutrients called betalains, providing support for the body’s antioxidants and detoxification process. One of the best things about beets is that they’re high in folic acids, which protect against birth defects. So adding beets to your daily nutrition is the perfect prescription for a healthy pregnancy. Fresh beets offer more than just crunch and a variety of colours — the greens attached to the beets are also tasty, and can be sautéed with garlic and some olive oil and be eaten just like spinach, or used in soups to provide some extra texture and nutrition.
Rosemary & Garlic Roasted Root Vegetables
Prep time: 5-10 minutes Cooking time: 20-25 minutes Makes: 4-6 servings
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 parsnips
- 2 carrots
- 2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
- 1 daikon radish (or substitute/add in your favorites, like winter squash)
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil/ olive oil
- 1 head garlic (omit if fructose free), broken up into cloves without the skin
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary needles-chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees.
- Wash and chop all vegetables into large bite-sized pieces.
- Place in a large baking dish with sides.
- Drizzle with oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil.
- Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs.
- Bake uncovered for 25-35 minutes until vegetables are tender and golden brown, checking every 10 minutes to stir and make sure veggies are not sticking.
(Also try adding a sprinkle of cinnamon, paprika, turmeric or cumin for different flavours prior to baking)
Dr Rachel Murphy
In clinical practice, I continue to pursue passion for treating infants and children as well as pregnancy care, including pre and postnatal support. I have a strong belief that environment plays a crucial role in health and well being, and therefore treatment management must also include advice on exercise and nutrition, ergonomics, stretching, rehabilitation and lifestyle modification.
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