While often overlooked by health enthusiasts, root vegetables are packed with nutrients that help ward off illness and promote weight loss.
Also, they are some of the most versatile foods you can grow in your garden. They’re packed with nutrients and can be added to so many different dishes, from stews to curries to baked goods, that there’s no way you’ll get tired of them.
Although it’s easy to think of potatoes and carrots when you hear the word root vegetable, there are actually many other types of root vegetables to eat, including radishes and celeriac. Use this list of the 10 best root vegetables to eat as your guide to choosing the right one for any occasion.
Best Root Vegetables to Consume
There’s a reason that these sweet and crunchy root vegetables are one of America’s favorite snacks. They have more antioxidants such as beta-carotene alpha-carotene, lutein, lycopene, anthocyanins, and polyacetylene than any other vegetable, which can help protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease among others. They’re also high in vitamin C and fiber, both key nutrients in weight loss and good health. How To Grow Carrots.
Eating carrots in large quantities can help lower blood cholesterol, aid in weight loss, and improve eye health. Air Fryer Carrot Fries.
Other benefits of carrots include
- Promoting healthy skin
- Improving digestion
- Promoting kidney function
- Improving liver function
- Reducing stroke incidences
- Promoting healthy teeth
- Anti-bacterial and antiviral benefits
See, Are Carrots Good For You? Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked in a variety of ways — sautéed, broiled, grilled, roasted, or made into carrot juice! Try grating them on top of salads for an extra punch of flavor. Be sure to purchase carrots with their tops still attached; they last longer, taste better and give you a head start on juicing. For long-term storage, keep them wrapped in a newspaper or paper towel inside a cool, dry place.
Also known as white turnips, turnips belong to the mustard family (Brassicaceae) and are native to Central and Eastern Asia. Turnip is a fast-growing plant that grows excellently and is best in cold seasons. Therefore, they are best sown in late summer or early spring before the hot summer months.
Turnips are one of the tastiest vegetables grown for centuries. Thanks to their excellent nutritional profile. They are high in vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
They also contain a healthy dose of fiber. These cruciferous vegetables help strengthen the immune system and keep respiratory infections at bay. Studies also show that these nutritious plants’ regular consumption reduces the risk of various cancers related to the stomach, breast, lung, or colorectal. See, Are Turnips Good For You?
Other benefits of turnips include
- Promoting cardiovascular health
- Strengthening bones
- Enhancing lung health
- Promoting healthy digestion
- Aiding weight loss
- Preventing atherosclerosis
- Preventing body odor
- Enhancing asthma treatment
Young, ripe turnips are helpful as they are eaten raw in both salads and pickles, but you can also cook them. Look for ones that are compact and firm with smooth skin. Their young leaves can also be prepared and mixed into a wide variety of dishes, such as mashed potatoes and stews. See Turnip and Potato Soup, Turnip Fries, Air Fryer Turnips, and Mashed Turnips.
Commonly known as yuca or yucca, cassava is a starchy tuber that belongs to the Euphorbia family (Euphorbiaceae). Native to South America’s forests, cassava is a traditional vegetable in many regions of the world, including Asia, Africa, and South America. It’s, along with other starch-based foods such as taro, yams, and potatoes, a vital food supplement for many inhabitants who live in these areas.
This perennial is twice as high in calories as potatoes. Hence, it tops the list of high-calorie foods. People hoping to gain weight should consider consuming cassava in their meals daily. Compared to potatoes and yams, cassava tends to have more protein. To get a rich source of dietary protein and vitamin K, cassava leaves can be eaten. This will help strengthen the bones and stimulate cellular activities. See recipes, Bammy, Baked Yuca Fries, Yuca with Garlic Sauce, Cassava Dumplings, Jamaican Cassava Pone.
Cassava is also rich in minerals such as copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. This tuber also has B-complex vitamins such as thiamine, folic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid. All in all, cassava has an excellent nutrient profile that everyone can benefit from. Read More About Cassava.
This edible tuber, belonging to the Brassicaceae family, is commonly used in salads to give a crunchy bite and an appealing eye. Radishes are easy to plant and grow compared to other root vegetables, making them the first choice for novice vegetable growers. Daikon Radish, Watermelon Radish.
The skin color of its roots varies widely from white to pink, red to green and yellow to purple to black. The roots get these different shades from the anthocyanin therein. Their flesh, however, tends to be generally white.
While radishes are grown for their unique flavor and nutrients, they are sometimes grown for oil extraction. They are super healthy, with high dietary fiber, which helps treat digestive problems. Radishes also serve as a natural cure for treating the common cold and cough in the winter season.
Since they are highly rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium, and other minerals, radishes also support the immune system.
Other benefits of radishes include
- Supporting healthy digestion by enhancing digestive juice production
- Solving urinary issues
- Enhancing kidney problems
- Fighting inflammation and cancer in the body
- Controlling blood sugar
- Supporting cardiovascular health
Radishes are commonly eaten raw but if you don’t like them raw, try grilling or roasting them with a little olive oil, and salt. This root vegetable also makes a delicious soup broth when boiled in vegetable stock. Other radish recipes, Sauteed Radishes, Radish Greens, and Roasted Radishes.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Belonging to the vine or bluebell family (Convolvulaceae), sweet potatoes are slightly sweet and starchy vegetables. Because of their soft orange appearance, sweet potatoes are often called “yams” in various parts of North America. However, these tubers are very different from the botanical yam, which is native to Asia and Africa and is part of the monocot family. A distant relative of potatoes, sweet potatoes are most often eaten as healthy vegetables.
Sweat potatoes are packed with various nutrients including fiber, antioxidants (beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid, anthocyanins), vitamins A and C, and minerals like calcium, manganese, and potassium. These nutrients offer great health benefits including
- Improving digestion and gut health
- Increasing insulin sensitivity and blood glucose regulation
- Maintaining normal blood pressure levels
- Boosting immunity
- Fighting inflammation
- Enhancing weight loss
- Lowering your cancer risk
- Enhancing your memory power
- Maintaining healthy skin and hair
Sweet potatoes are quite versatile and can be prepared in various ways including baking, boiling, frying, or mashed as a replacement for Irish potatoes. See, Vegan Sweet Potato Pie, Vegan Sweet Potato Pudding, and Air Fried Baked Sweet Potatoes.
Also known as turnip root celery, knob celery, or celery root, celeriac is celery grown for its edible stem and sprouts. Native to the Mediterranean basin, celeriac is commonly grown in Northern Europe and the Mediterranean basin. Some other places where it is grown are Siberia, North Africa, North America, and Southwest Asia.
This vegetable contains various vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants like anthocyanins, which are powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation and even prevent cancer. The fiber found in celeriac can also lower your cholesterol levels while preventing digestive problems like ulcers and constipation.
Here are some other benefits of eating Celeriac
- Their high vitamin K level promotes bone health and prevents osteoporosis
- It’s good at boosting the immune system
- Their soluble and insoluble fiber supports healthy digestion
- Prevents Parkinson’s disease
- Promotes heart health
- Their high vitamin C levels promote wound healing
- It’s rich in vitamin B5 which supports healthy skin
- Their potassium and copper fight arthritis and inflammation
Celery root can be eaten raw or cooked and you can enjoy it in various ways such as roasting, stewing, blanching, or grinding. Some people prefer to sauté it in olive oil and then mix it into savory dishes. Its tasty leaves and stems can also be added to soups and stews. See, Celery Root White Bean Stew.
Turmeric belongs to the ginger family. Turmeric is one of the most effective tubers, ideal for both the body and the brain. Although turmeric’s exact origin is unknown, many people believed it was discovered and originated in Southeast Asia. See, Turmeric Coconut Rice, Turmeric Quinoa, Turmeric Ginger Shot.
Furthermore, for over a thousand years, this flowering plant has been an essential element of many Chinese and Asian medicines such as Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani. It is also a vital flavoring agent in various Asian cuisines, particularly curries.
Turmeric tends to have a mustard-like bitter taste that is overwhelming when eaten raw. This is why people opt to mix it with other ingredients to offset its overbearing flavor.
Turmeric can offer an extensive range of health benefits like
- Fighting inflammation
- They are rich in compounds like turmerone which promotes brain health
- It may help treat irritable bowel disease
- Curbs joint pains and helps relieve arthritis symptoms
- Its antioxidants lower your risk of heart attack
- It’s a natural reliever for anxiety and depression
- Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can fight cancer and possibly treat cancer symptoms,
- Reduces the risk of heart disease,
- Prevents Alzheimer’s
8. Arctium Lappa
Commonly known as the greater burdock, Arctium lappa is a Eurasian plant species in the Aster family. The plant is grown in gardens for its edible root. Its leaf, root, and seeds are also used as medicine.
Many people consume burdock to kill germs, treat fever, purify the blood, and increase urine flow. Burdock is also used in many over-the-counter creams to treat skin wrinkles, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and ichthyosis.
Other benefits include
- Improving digestion
- Enhancing weight loss
- Lowering your risk of diabetes
- Improving bone health
- Reducing blood pressure
- Lowers your risk of anemia
- Detoxifies the body
- Protects against cancer
- Prevents cardiovascular conditions
Burdock roots are commonly found in Japanese supermarkets, where they are popularly known as “gobo.” On the other hand, in the United States, Arctium lappa can only be found in a few select vegetable markets or specialty herb stores.
Burdock root can be peeled, sliced, and eaten raw or included in salads. It can also be used in soups and stir-fries. See Stir-Fried Burdock Root.
9. Water Chestnut
Popularly known as the Chinese water chestnut, the water chestnut is native to Asia, China, India, Japan, the Philippines, and Australia. Many people mistake this aquatic vegetable for a nut. The root vegetable is grown in mud, swamps, lakes, and the sea.
While they look like they belong in a science experiment, water chestnuts are actually one of my favorite root vegetables. They have a crunchy texture that goes well with stir-fry dishes or as an ingredient in salads.
You can eat them raw, boil them, or steam them for an even better taste and texture.
One cup of water chestnuts contains only 45 calories but is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron. Water chestnuts also contain antioxidants which help fight off free radicals and help prevent cancer. So next time you’re looking for a new vegetable to try out, pick up some water chestnuts!
Benefits of eating water chestnut:
- They help detoxify your body from heavy metals such as mercury, lead, and cadmium.
- Its antioxidant levels fight infections and prevent cancerous growths from forming inside your body
- Promotes calcium absorption, which prevents bone loss and protects against osteoporosis.
Among root vegetables, parsnips are perhaps one of the most under-appreciated. People usually pass over them at farmers’ markets, not realizing how versatile and delicious they can be. But just like sweet potatoes and regular potatoes, parsnips can be baked, mashed, or roasted to create a number of tasty dishes. See, Roasted Carrots And Parsnips, Parsnip Fries, and How To Freeze Parsnip?
Some people think that parsnips taste like carrots, but their flavor is more similar to turnips. They’re also very nutritious—they contain more than 400 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin C and 25 percent of vitamin B6.
Parsnips are also a good source of fiber, calcium, and manganese, all of which can boost digestive health, enhance bone health, and promote cardiovascular health.
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- Best Betacarotene To Consume
- Foods For Heart Health
- Best Vegetables For Smoothies
When people think of vegetables, they often think of leafy greens or cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower. While these vegetables are undoubtedly healthy, you may be missing out on some great root vegetable options in your diet! The best root vegetables include carrots, sweet potatoes, and cassava, but also include other veggies like turnips and radishes that may not get as much love as their green counterparts.
In addition, these vegetables are very easy to add to the diet as they can be used in soups, stews, or be added to salads.
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