Roots and tubers are among the healthiest of foods. Growing in a subterranean environment, root vegetables absorb the nutrients and minerals present in the soil. Although each root vegetable is packed with its own set of health benefits, they share many common characteristics. Some examples of roots and tubers are yams, turnips, beets, kohlrabi, horseradish, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots, yucca, onions, garlic, daikon, turmeric, Jerusalem artichokes, radishes, and ginger. Many starchy tuber crops, except potatoes, sweet potatoes, and cassava, are not yet fully explored for their nutritional and health benefits. In some Asian countries, many edible tubers are also used as traditional medicinal.1
Roots and tubers are loaded with a high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins A, B, C, and iron. They also contain slow-burning carbohydrates and fiber that satisfies the hunger and fills the stomach, thereby helping the body to regulate the digestive system and the blood sugar level. In addition, they are generally high in
Let’s look at some major health benefits of consuming roots and tubers regularly as a part of our diet.
1. Improve Physical And Mental Health
There are many health benefits of eating root vegetables. They are effective in improving your physical and mental health because of their high concentration of antioxidants, which help to eliminate harmful free radicals and toxins from the body. Free radicals and toxins cause various deadly diseases and adversely impact our mental health. Roots and tubers contain high levels of potassium, phosphorous, magnesium. These minerals are essential in the strengthening of the bones and in cognitive development. A healthy mind can stave off many disorders that originate from the mind and manifest as physical ailments.
2. Reduce Risk Of Cancer
Many root vegetables contain antioxidants and phytochemicals. Experiments on falcarinol (a substance found in raw carrots that protect it from fungal diseases) in carrots have shown to reduce the risk of cancer developing in rats. Falcarinol reduced the risk of developing full-scale tumors by a third. Root and tuber phytochemicals have demonstrated anti-cancer effects in several types of carcinoma cell lines and animal models. Apart from phenolic compounds, saponins present in roots and tubers play a pivotal role as anti-cancer and anti-tumor agents. There are several groups of saponins demonstrating a strong anti-tumor effect on different types of cancers.2
3. Prevent Iron Deficiency
4. Folate Intake Can Repair DNA
Folate, or vitamin B9, is one of many essential vitamins. Folic acid, a synthetic form of folate, is used for food fortification and supplements. Folate is vital to our body as it helps in the synthesis and repair of the DNA, besides encouraging cell and tissue growth. Many root vegetables contain ample quantities of folate and can provide you with almost
Vitamin B9 is essential if you are trying to conceive, are pregnant or are breastfeeding, as it helps prevent neural tube defects. Folic acid is useful in treating memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, age-related hearing loss, preventing the eye disease, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), reducing signs of aging, weak bones (osteoporosis) and many other conditions. Folic acid lowers homocysteine levels by 20% to 30% in people with normal to slightly elevated homocysteine levels. High levels of homocysteine have been linked to heart disease and stroke.
5. Better Immunity With Beta
Root vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, swede, and turnips contain
Note: The retention of beta-carotene decreases with the duration of boiling, steaming, and microwave cooking. A 50-minute boiling reduced one-third of beta-carotene content, while steaming further reduced beta-carotene content compared to boiling. Microwave cooking had the highest loss. Long cooking time leads to high reductions in beta-carotene content in sweet potatoes.4 Simple solution: eat them raw to prevent nutrition loss.
6. Increase Stamina, Reduce Weight
Drinking beet juice can increase your stamina and empower you to exercise longer and burn more calories. Results of experiments showed that drinking 500 ml of beetroot juice daily for six days enabled the participants to improve their performance by 16 percent more than when they drank a placebo drink. The nitrate found in beet juice leads to an improved use of oxygen and significantly reduces blood pressure. Another great health benefit of eating root vegetables is that they can help you to lose unwanted weight. The high amounts of nutrients and soluble fiber helps satisfy your cravings for junk foods. The fiber also helps in cleansing the digestive system and increases energy levels.
|↑1, ↑2, ↑3||Chandrasekara, Anoma, and Thamilini Josheph Kumar. “Roots and tuber crops as functional foods: a review on phytochemical constituents and their potential health benefits.” International journal of food science 2016 (2016).|
|↑4||Chandrasekara, Anoma, and Thamilini Josheph Kumar. “Roots and tuber crops as functional foods: a review on phytochemical