When you think about healthy eating, salads and green vegetables usually come to mind, but how about adding a little more variety to your plan?

Root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, onions, radishes and turnips, are a rich source of nutritious complex carbohydrates. Instead of upsetting blood sugar levels like refined white flour and sweet foods do, they help regulate it.  They are also known to help curb sweet cravings.

Why Eat More Root Veggies?

Root vegetables are very nutrient rich and have many health benefits.  Traditionally, according to Chinese Traditional Medicine, long roots such as carrots, parsnips, burdock, and daikon radish are excellent blood purifiers and can help improve circulation in the body. Round roots such as turnips, radishes, beets, and rutabagas nourish the stomach, spleen, pancreas, and reproductive organs.

Which root vegetables do you eat most?

If you’re like most of the world, it’s most likely carrots and potatoes. Here are a few others to explore:

  • Beets contain an abundance of naturally occurring nitrates that help to improve blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

  • Burdock contains high concentrations of vitamins and minerals, especially iron, and is actually higher in minerals than beets, carrots, potatoes, or turnips! This long, thin veggie is a staple in Asian grocery stores.

  • Jicama is crunchy, refreshing, and contains a generous amount of vitamin C. It is a favorite in its native regions of Mexico and South America. A popular Latin American preparation is to season raw slices of jicama with lime juice, salt, and chili pepper to taste.

  • Onions are rich in the potent bioflavonoid quercetin which is not destroyed by cooking, making them prized for their antioxidant cap

  • Parsnips, which look like giant white carrots, boast a sweet, earthy taste. They also have plenty of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, thiamine, magnesium, and potassium.

  • Radish is an excellent source of vitamin C. It’s also rich in calcium, molybdenum, potassium, and folic acid.

  • Sweet Potatoes are easily digestible and good for the digestive system. They contain unsurpassed levels of beta-carotene and are also rich in vitamin C, phytonutrients, and fiber.

  • acity, ability to strengthen the immune system, and its anti-allergic immune response.

What To Do With Root Vegetables

Excited to add more roots to your diet?

Here’s a quick, easy recipe:

Roasted Root Vegetables

Prep time: 10 minutes,  Cooking time: 25-35 minutes,  Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 2 parsnips
  • 2 red skin potatoes
  • 2 turnips or 1 large rutabaga
  • 1 beet
  • cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • herbs: rosemary, thyme, or sage (fresh if possible)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Wash and dice all vegetables into bite-sized cubes.

3. Place in a large baking dish with sides.

4. Drizzle with olive oil; mix well to coat each vegetable lightly with oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs to your liking.

5. 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.

Tip #1: Any combination of vegetables will work. Roasting only one kind of vegetable also makes a nice side dish.

Tip #2: Add half a plate of non-starchy veggies and plant based protein or lean protein to make this a complete meal!

Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

Author Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

More posts by Katie Abbott, MS, RDN, INHC

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