This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.
December is Root Vegetables AND Exotic Fruits Month. That’s quite a culinary combo! Creative writer that I am, I choose to separate the two so as to create more than one blog post.
I begin with root vegetables. After the fall harvest, winter is the perfect time to enjoy these hearty staple foods. They provide complex carbs and fiber and contain essential vitamins and minerals. Some also offer powerful antioxidants that slow aging and even protect against cancer.
Add these healthiest root vegetables to your diet, for the amazing benefits.
What Are Root Vegetables?
Root vegetables, also known as starch vegetables and tubers, are veggies that grow underground. They are defined as the enlarged edible root of the plant. Root vegetables long served as diet staples in South American and Asian diets. Sweet potatoes were an important food 5000 years ago. They nourished populations through times of scarcity.
Root vegetables are still considered important crops that not only feed the body but ground it as well. Check out these healthiest root vegetables and select some to include with your meals this week.
These colorful root vegetables provide many nutrients and health benefits.
Sweet potatoes contain vitamins A and C, manganese and fiber. They are rich with the antioxidants beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins that help protect against skin cancer.
These jewels of the root vegetable family improve immune function, balance blood sugar and promote healthy gut bacteria while starving out unproductive bacteria and mold. This double action helps the body create more vitamin B12. And, according to Anthony William, author of the Medical Medium books, sweet potatoes rid the body of excess estrogen that interferes with hormonal balance.
Enjoy sweet potatoes baked, boiled, roasted, juiced or raw as spiralized noodles.
Onions rank high on the root vegetable list. So many recipes call for a chopped onion.
This basic veggie is high in fiber, vitamin C, zinc, manganese, iodine, selenium, sulfur compounds and antioxidants.
Onions help prevent bacterial overgrowth in the intestinal tract. They rid the body of radiation, viruses, DDT and other pesticides and heavy metals. And the sulfur in onions alleviates joint pain, repairs tendons and connective tissue and slows iron loss. Onions also repair lung damage and fight colds and flus that cause bronchitis.
Add onions to many recipes including stir fries, casseroles, soups, rice and pasta dishes, stuff them and bake them or serve raw in salads and veggie bowls.
Garlic is closely related to the onion and it’s another root vegetable that is used in many recipes and dishes.
This veggie provides important nutrients including vitamins B6 and C and manganese. Plus the compound allicin, released when garlic is crushed, has medicinal properties that help prevent diseases.
Garlic is antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-parasitic. It kills off unproductive gut bacteria, fights colds, flus, strep throat, pneumonia causing bacteria and viral related cancers. It also pulls heavy metals from the body and boosts the immune system.
Add minced garlic to a variety of dishes, from stir fries to soups to pasta or add to roasted vegetables.
Cultivated for centuries, this root vegetable seems plain yet it possesses an impressive nutrient profile.
Turnips provide vitamin C, fiber, manganese and potassium.
Getting more vitamin C boosts immunity and reduces the symptoms of respiratory infections. Plus turnips lower the risk of stomach, breast, colorectal and lung cancers.
Use turnips in place of potatoes. They are excellent boiled and mashed, cubed and roasted or cut into fries. Or enjoy them with other root vegetables in a veggie bowl.
Deeply colored beets are one of the most nutritious of root vegetables.
The veggie contains vitamins B6 and C, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, iron and manganese. They rank high in nitrates, beneficial plant compounds that help dilate blood vessels. This action lowers blood pressure and improves heart health. Beets also improve exercise performance and increase blood flow to the brain. Studies show that beets may even slow the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Try boiling, steaming, pickling, roasting or juicing this powerful root vegetable.
These tiny root veggies pack a lot of nutrition and health benefits.
Radishes provide vitamin C, sulfides and fiber.
This root vegetable supports the immune system. And the sulfur kills off parasites, cleanses arteries and veins, prevents heart disease and raises good cholesterol while lowering the bad. The skin of the radish fights virtually all types of cancer while also restoring the kidneys, liver, pancreas and spleen.
Add these crunchy veggies to salads and slaws. Eat them as a snack. Or try adding them to stir fries.
This well known veggie is also high on the list of most nutritious root vegetables.
Carrots offer high amounts of vitamins A and K and they provide the important antioxidant beta-carotene.
Adding carrots to the diet lowers cholesterol levels and protects the eyes against age related macular degeneration. Because of the beta-carotene, carrots lower the risk of certain cancers including breast, prostate, and stomach.
Roast, boil or steam carrots. Add them to salads, stir fries and other vegetables dishes. Include in soups or eat them raw as an extremely healthy snack.
Also called celery root, this versatile root vegetable is highly nutritious.
Celery and celeriac are basically the same plant, however celeriac is cultivated for its bulbous root rather than for the stalks. Both taste like celery although some find celeriac more robust with a slight nutty flavor.
Celeriac contains high levels of vitamins C and K and phosphorous.
Vitamin K is essential for proper blood clotting and vital for healthy bones.
Boil, roast, bake or mash celeriac. Or add it raw to salads.
This root vegetable belongs to the mustard family.
Rutabagas supply vitamin C, potassium, manganese and antioxidants. They also provide fiber that supports the digestive system and lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels. And like several other root veggies, they contain sulfur compounds that protect against cancer cell formation and growth.
Rutabagas taste like a cross between a turnip and cabbage. One person described them as tasting like Yukon Gold potatoes…with a lot of attitude!
Boil and mash them, bake or roast them. Or add rutabagas to soups or salads.
The most versatile and readily available root vegetable, potatoes come in 2000 different varieties and grow in 160 countries around the world.
The potato delivers fiber, vitamins B6 and C, potassium and manganese. Plus they provide an important amino acid, lysine. Lysine protects against cancer, liver disease, inflammation and viruses such as Epstein Barr and shingles. Additionally, potatoes strengthen the kidneys and soothe the digestive tract.
Try potatoes baked, boiled, mashed or steamed. Make healthy potato salad. Cut them into wedges or cubes, season with spices and roast in the oven. Create a veggie bowl featuring roasted or mashed potatoes.
Create Health with Root Vegetables
Try adding a serving or two of root vegetables to daily meals, to reap the benefits of these nutritious, grounding veggies. Combine with other vegetables or make up a big pot of root vegetable soup.
Practicing a plant based lifestyle, root veggies form the foundation of my diet. Creating this post, however, I realized I’ve never eaten celeriac or rutabaga. I’ve seen both in the produce section of Natural Grocers. I’m excited to experience both in the near future.
What is your favorite root vegetable?
I Highly Recommend Anthony’s Books
Anthony William’s books are my go to source for health information.
Journey With Healthy Me is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate program provides a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, all at no extra cost to you.
I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.