Root vegetables encompass an assortment of different (but always colorful and healthy) plants. All root vegetables have one thing in common: they grow underneath the ground. This naturally allows them to absorb a large number of nutrients and minerals, which when consumed, directly benefit the body. Some examples of root vegetables include cucumbers, carrots, and onions. Root vegetables have many advantages: they are rich in vitamins as well as antioxidants and contain important minerals that the body constantly needs. Find out ten health benefits of root vegetables.
Beta Carotene Content
Various root vegetables are packed with compounds that have favorable effects on health. Beta-carotene is one of them, and carrots are one of the best vegetables for this element. Studies have shown beta-carotene to be beneficial when it comes to preventing certain diseases from developing. These include various forms of cancer, as well as heart disease. Besides carrots, beta-carotene is found in some other root vegetables, such as bell peppers. Many vegetables get their natural pigmentation from the beta-carotene compound. It’s best to consume root vegetables on a daily basis to fully enjoy their benefits.
A lesser-known benefit of root vegetables is their sizeable vitamin content, namely vitamin A and C. Both of these are essential for good health and help the body to function more efficiently. Vitamin A helps the bones to stay strong, whereas vitamin C is auspicious for immune system health. As an example, sweet potatoes contain up to 1,100 mg of vitamin A, giving you a good portion of your daily recommended value. Moreover, other important nutrients are found in root vegetables. A good tip is to eat the skin as well (when possible), just make sure to wash it.
Folic acid is an important category within the vitamin B group. Perhaps less recognized than other vitamins, folate is nevertheless necessary for a healthy body. One of the biggest advantages of folic acid is that it helps to prevent congenital disabilities, so it’s important to consume a diet that is rich in this component. Carrots, once again, are an outstanding source of folic acid. Just one cup of carrots contains up to 5% of the daily intake value. Besides raw carrots, you can enjoy carrot soup as well as carrot juice, which make consuming this orange vegetable more fun and straightforward.
Bulwark Against Cancer
Some studies have proven that certain root vegetables can be a powerful asset in the fight against cancer. This is because they contain a substance called falcarinol (found mostly in carrots) that offer protection against certain fungal conditions. Moreover, studies have shown that rats, after consuming sufficient amounts of the substance, were 30 percent less likely to develop tumors than their non-carrot consuming counterparts. Moreover, the vitamin content of root vegetables may also contribute to their ability to protect the body from harm. Try to eat at least one serving of vegetables per day.
Great for Potassium
Potassium can be widely found in bananas, and it’s often said having one before bed can help you fall asleep faster. However, root vegetables are also a fantastic source of potassium, which has many health benefits. For starters, it can reduce your blood pressure as well as keep it under control, and it has a positive effect on heart health. That’s why you should consider eating more parsnips, one of the top choices for potassium. Besides numerous vitamins and minerals, parsnips are also full of potassium, so try eating them alone or as a side dish.
Improved Cognitive Function
The brain is one of the most complex parts of the human body, if not the most. Scientist – even after centuries of studying it – are still unable to understand how this machine of thinking and knowledge works. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the brain needs a lot of energy and nutrients to stay active. Consider eating more beetroots: this root vegetable is a popular choice among athletes who need a quick energy source. Besides recharging energy levels, beetroots can help keep your mind sharp and focused, thus improving cognitive function.
Keeps You Hydrated
Some root vegetables can be useful during hot summer days when you spend the whole day out with friends. It’s challenging to remain hydrated for long periods, but by enjoying a few slices of cucumber every once in a while, you can help ensure adequate hydration. Cucumbers are one of the most popular root vegetables and are composed of up to 95% water. Don’t be afraid to spice things up: bring a refreshing dip along, or enjoy them plain. Whatever you do, don’t forget to drink at least 8 cups of water per day (this might depend on age and sex). Dehydration is a medical risk that’s worth avoiding.
Did you know that countless athletes enjoy a small snack before or after heading to the gym? While you might think that the product of choice is a dense energy bar, you’d be surprised to know that many people opt for a more natural choice. And what better than a cup of beet juice to get things moving? Beet juice is one of the most potent drinks for energy because it allows the body to do more things and stay active for a longer period. Moreover, it can reduce blood pressure, helping you to power through your workout. Consult your doctor before using beet juice for physical training.
Facilitates Iron Absorption
Do you suffer from a constant lack of energy? Are you failing to get enough sleep? These are some of the telltale sign of anemia, a condition caused by a poor amount of hemoglobin in the blood. More often than not, anemia is caused by improper absorption of iron. This has serious side-effects for the body. Luckily, there are steps you can take to ensure that your body is receiving enough iron. By eating more vitamin-C rich foods, such as turnips and other root vegetables, you can increase vitamin C intake, which has been shown to help the body absorb iron more effectively.
Low in Calories
Looking to lose weight? Root vegetables are excellent for dieting, as they are low in calories. However, they’ll leave you feeling full and satisfied, thus making your cravings for sweets and junk food completely go away. When it comes to root vegetables, you need to be creative. Onions, garlic, and carrots are just a few of the countless vegetables that you can use to spice up your diet. You can make salads, dressing, soups, and even purees. The options are endless. Just make sure to consume enough root vegetables to reap the benefits.