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Get All the Dirt about Why You Should Eat More Roots
Well, as you might imagine, root vegetables are exactly what the name says: vegetables that grow under the ground. You probably eat root vegetables everyday but never really think about them that way: sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, beets, parsnips, and turnips. Although you probably think of these as diet staples, these vegetables are just as important as spinach or broccoli because they really absorb minerals and vitamins from the earth. Almost all of them are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, B vitamins, as well as a good assortment of antioxidants.
First off, always choose organic because even though these veggies are below ground, they absorb all the pesticides through the water that washes off the pesticides and goes into the ground.
Always choose firm, blemish free root vegetables. If the tops are still attached, be sure that they are fresh looking and don’t have mildew.
In the past, most houses had root cellars for storing vegetables; a dark, cool, humid space. Most people day lack that type of storage. Place root vegetables in the refrigerator and seal them in plastic or paper and put them in the vegetable bin. Put onions and potatoes (except for green onions and shallots) in a mesh container in a cool cabinet.
Now that you know how to best choose and store them, let’s look at the reasons why you should be eating more of them.
Root vegetables can reduce your risk of cancer. One study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that raw carrots reduced the risk of developing cancer in studies done with rats.
Adding some root veggies to your meals and you can get important B vitamins, such as folates. This is super important if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant as folates prevent neural tube defects.
Try adding some turnips or potatoes to your next soup, stew, or curry and get more vitamin C, along with other powerful antioxidants that can help your body absorb more iron.
Let’s not forget about the beta-carotene in carrots and sweet potatoes. Your body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is important for your skin, eyes, bones, and regulation of your immune system.
Root vegetables are complex carbs, which breakdown slowly into sugar in the body. That gives you energy and the ability to function properly all day. They are also high in fiber and phytonutrients while most of them are very low in calories. With all these important vitamins and minerals, root vegetables improve your physical, as well as your mental health. Eating more root vegetables can even help you lose weight as their high fiber content helps to satisfy your craving for junk food. The fiber will also help keep your digestive system feeling fuller for longer periods of time, and clean out excess waste, which will increase your energy levels, making exercise easier.
Here are a few of the best root vegetables that you should be adding to your diet as often as possible.
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