6 Root vegetables and their benefits
Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Root vegetables are a part of any healthy diet. By definition, it is basically the edible part of the plant that grows underground. The common examples include potatoes, carrots, onions, and so on. Vegetables that grow below the ground generally act as a good source of many nutrients and are high in dietary fiber. Now let’s take a closer look at a few root vegetables that are widely available in India and their health benefits.
Onions are one of the most popular root vegetables, which is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine. They’re high in fiber, vitamin C, and antioxidants. Antioxidants are compounds that can protect your cells against oxidative damage and help prevent disease.
A research study done by PubMed.gov (Research paper) found that eating 100 grams of raw onions per day reduces blood sugar levels significantly in people suffering from diabetes.
There are other researches that show that onions may have powerful anti-cancer properties, linking a higher intake of this root vegetable to a lower risk of common types of cancer.
Onions work well in a variety of meals, cuisines, and salads obviously. It is good as long as you are not going to be intimate with anyone after having an onion-intensive meal.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are one of the more vibrant and delicious root vegetables that have a ton of nutritious and health benefits. They’re very rich in fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin A and like most root vegetables a good source of antioxidants.
“A review of three studies showed that eating 4 grams of white sweet potato extract each day for 12 weeks improved blood sugar control in people with diabetes”(Research paper). Due to the presence of vitamin A, a few studies suggest that it may also improve immune function, protection against vision loss, and support skin health.
Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, roasted, or sautéed and in general a fantastic side dish.
Ginger is a flowering plant that originates from China that has a close relation to turmeric. It has antioxidants but has a special compound called gingerol, which has a long list of health benefits.
Ginger is also good at reducing nausea and morning sickness in pregnant, this can be a great life-saving hack for all the pregnant women out there. It is great for women, in general, since it helps in reducing menstrual pain.
Ginger makes a great addition to tea, soups, and even sugarcane juice. It brings that unique zip to the flavor of just about any dish.
Beetroot is one of the most nutritious root vegetables out there. It packs a good amount of fiber, manganese, and folate into each batch. They’re also a good source of nitrates, which are beneficial plant compounds that can help in dilating blood vessels, potentially lowering blood pressure, and improving the overall health of the heart.
Studies also show that eating beetroot improves exercise performance by increasing blood flow to the brain (Research paper)
To get the unique health benefits of beetroot, it’s best to try roasting, juicing, pickling, boiling, or steaming.
Garlic is a root vegetable that belongs to the Allium genus and is closely related to onions even their physical appearance is very similar.
Garlic has a lot of medicinal properties due to the compound
allicin. It helps improving immunity, reducing blood pressure, and decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Garlic is extremely versatile and can be used to amplify the flavor of soups, sauces, side dishes, and main courses.
Carrots are one of the most well-known root vegetables, it has such a good taste that most parents use it as the gateway vegetable for their children who refuse to eat vegetables.
Carrots are good for the eyes, this is one of the most common benefits people keep telling to get children to eat them. Science backs this, carrots are high in beta-carotene, which is tied to a lower risk of vision problems. Other than that, eating carrots has also been linked to lowering cholesterol levels and improving antioxidant status.
Carrots are a great snack when eaten raw or dipped in sauce, but they can also be cooked and used as side dishes that are loved by kids and adults alike.
It is clear that root vegetables have a lot of nutritious and health benefits. These benefits too, are unique to each root vegetable. From reducing oxidative stress to preventing chronic disease, root vegetables have a ton of benefits. So adding root vegetables to a daily diet can be incredibly beneficial. With a little imagination and creativity, you will soon find root vegetables can become a lot more interesting.