Get to the Root of It: Why Root Vegetables Are so Good for You

Root vegetables are some of the most commonly grown vegetables because they are not only delicious, but extremely versatile as well. There are many different types of root vegetables; some you may have heard of, like carrots and potatoes, while others might be new to you, like rutabagas or turnips. Root vegetables are excellent sources of antioxidants, dietary fiber and various vitamins and minerals that can protect your health and ward off diseases such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

They’re Nutrient-Dense

Root vegetables are super-high in nutrients. Though often lumped together with other types of vegetables, they’re actually a category unto themselves. One advantage root veggies have over other types is that most store well and can last through winter, which means you’ll be able to enjoy them all year long. Plus, their sturdy skin means that you don’t need to peel them before eating!

Some root vegetables also happen to contain a high concentration of vitamins and minerals. Carrots, for instance, are rich in vitamin A and potassium while potatoes are good sources of vitamin C, thiamine, calcium and magnesium. Sweet potatoes offer up beta carotene as well as vitamin E while garlic is a good source of selenium.

They’re Low in Calories

Peppers are one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables, meaning they provide your body with a high amount of beneficial vitamins and minerals in just a few calories. They’re also low in fat and sodium, making them an excellent option for those looking to reduce their intake of unhealthy fats and salt. Peppers have been shown to provide benefits in reducing cholesterol levels as well as help protect against cancer. And that’s not all! Red peppers contain a large amount of vitamin A, which is good for eye health and supports your immune system. Green peppers are high in vitamin C, which is great for skin health and can even promote weight loss!

They Contain Antioxidants

Some of the most common root vegetables in our diets include carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips and potatoes. These vegetables are rich in antioxidants that help protect cells from damage. They also contain potassium and foliate, which are important nutrients that help regulate blood pressure. Potatoes also contain a good amount of vitamin C.

They May Improve Digestion

Root vegetables are often overlooked in favor of leafy greens or other vegetables, but they should not be. These foods pack tons of nutrients and can help improve digestion, among other benefits. Here is a list of root vegetables that can be great additions to your diet:

Carrots – Carrots are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A which are key nutrients for healthy eyesight, skin, and improved immune function. They also contain vitamin K (which helps blood clot) and antioxidants (which protect cells from damage).

Turnips – Turnips are a good source of foliate, calcium, and potassium which can help protect against heart disease. They also have some protein which can help you feel full longer.

They May Boost Immunity

A diet rich in root vegetables like onions, garlic, beets, carrots and sweet potatoes is believed to boost immunity. In one study published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry, researchers found that consuming raw onions boosted levels of a protein called interleukin-6 that helps fight infections. A similar study on garlic showed it was also capable of boosting this protein by 12 percent.

Root vegetables are also high in antioxidants and can help reduce inflammation and cell damage from free radicals. While more research needs to be done on how root vegetables affect immunity, their high nutritional value may make them worth incorporating into your diet!

They’re Easy to Add to Your Diet

Root vegetables are low-calorie, high in fiber, and full of nutrients like potassium. They’re a great source of vitamins A, C and B6 as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium and iron. Plus they’re just plain delicious! Add them to soups or salads for an extra dose of plant-based goodness.

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