Root veggies like parsnips, beets and artichokes are becoming really popular.
Different kinds of vegetables, fruits, grains often gain popularity when certain kinds of diets become popular. Root vegetables, most of them, are seasonal, usually harvested in autumn and winters. They are great sources of energy or complex carbohydrates, antioxidants; they provide warmth which the body requires in the winter season and a good amount of fibre as well.
Broadly classified as ‘Kanda-moola’ tubers and roots, these vegetables grow close to the earth, so they predominantly carry the properties of earth. They are dense, fulfilling, and because they are good sources of complex carbohydrates, they can often replace grains or cereals. The modern trend of going grain-free, gluten-free or raw-vegan has probably popularized root vegetables even more, as they are abundant sources of starches, (low) carbs, vitamins, antioxidants, minerals etc.
These were the primary diets of hermits and yogis in ancient times, we often read about how rishis and munis of yesteryears lived on ‘kanda-moola’ or roots and tubers and phala or fruits.
Top Five Root Veggies To Have
- Yam for its many health benefits. Yam is lesser known root tuber. It is also used traditionally as a medicine for minor ailments like cough, asthma to chronic ailments like, hemorrhoids, piles, dysentery, bronchitis, arthritis. It is also used for supplementing cereals and for long term benefits in hypertension, diabetes, hormonal balance, pain relief, acute rheumatism, muscle spasms and a number of health conditions.
- Sweet potatoes with high fibre, high energy, high Vitamin A content they are a good substitute for cereals. Sweet potatoes are much higher in Vitamin content, specially Vitamin A, than the regular white potato, both contain some amount of starch, carbohydrates, fibre and trace minerals. Sweet potato has more sugar content than regular potato. Sweet potatoes have more fibre than regular potatoes. Interestingly both are not natives of India and were brought in to India a couple of centuries back.
- Beets, again super rich in energy, high fibre, and high in nitrates Beets make a healthy supplement for athletes because they enhance their endurance during and post exercise. Beets are a natural laxative and also help detoxify the body being alkaline in nature.
- Carrots, so versatile, you can eat them in any form, raw, in soups, casseroles, juiced. They get their typical color from antioxidants called carotenoids known to protect eyes and skin. Carrot seed oil is super rich in beta carotene and Vitamin E which makes it an essential in anti-aging skin care products.
- Turnips and Parsnips are rich in calcium, magnesium, potassium; they also help regulate blood pressure and good cholesterol. The phytonutrients in turnips are known to have cancer fighting properties, and it is considered similar to vegetables like broccoli, kale, collard greens by virtue of these nutrients called indoles.
How To Eat
Root vegetables or tubers get maximum nourishment from the soil, so it is extremely important that you buy them organic or grown in fields free of urea and other harmful chemicals where water and soil are not contaminated. It is advisable to lightly cook them, excepting carrots which can be eaten raw.
Yams and sweet potatoes are delicious roasted and in bakes. All root vegetables make healthy and wholesome soups. Do not undermine the benefits of the green tops of these vegetables, they are packed full of phytonutrients. You can use them in soups, soup stock, salads or juices to make the most of these superfoods.
Beets can be cubed and lightly steamed to make delicious smoothies, they go well with coconut milk or kefir and also give beautiful pink or red hues to your foods and drinks. And beets give you excellent sports nutrition.
All of these make excellent baked chips for a healthy snack.