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The “Roots” Of Good Health
The idea of eating roots probably strikes some people as odd. But the truth is, you’ve most likely already eaten roots many times in your life without realizing it. Carrots, beets, radishes and ginger are all technically the roots of plants! In this article, we’ll explore the health benefits of eating root vegetables and the best ones to choose for your diet.
The roots of a plant serve several purposes. The first and perhaps most obvious is to anchor the plant to the ground to prevent it from blowing away in the wind. But the roots also help absorb nutrients and water in the soil to keep the plant hydrated and healthy. These nutrients are collected through the roots and fed into the rhizome (primary root), up into the trunk or stem, and then dispersed throughout the plant.
Roots have been used for thousands of years in traditional medicines as well as cuisine. Ancient peoples quickly noticed that consuming roots, or products made from them, led to improved health and vitality.
Technically, any vegetable that grows underground could be classified as a “root,” since it is part of the root system of the plant it comes from. Examples of root vegetables include:
- Jerusalem artichoke
- Yucca (also known as Manioc or Cassava)
- Sweet potatoes
Several very common food items are roots. Potatoes, for instance, are considered a root. Onions, shallots and garlic are also considered “bulb” roots.
What are the health benefits of eating root vegetables? All root vegetables are rich in vitamins and minerals, but there are a number of roots that really stand out. Let’s start with one of the more common root veggies.
Another popular root with multiple health benefits is ginger. You’ve probably heard that a glass of ginger ale will help an upset stomach. Ginger has long been used as remedy for nausea, indigestion, and menstrual cramps. Studies have also shown that ginger can help reduce blood sugar levels and lower the risk of heart disease. Ginger also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger extract supplementation has been shown to reduce inflammatory pain, even in people suffering from serious conditions like osteoarthritis.
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