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root vegetables


LESS GRAINS, MORE ROOTS (ROOT VEGETABLES THAT IS!) 1024 1024 Delphine Remy | Holistic Nutrition & Eating Psychology Coach

Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, yams, carrots, and butternut squash are not only American staples, but global — and traditionally very important to include in a balanced diet. Vital nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and fiber can all be found in root vegetables and help fight chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease and arthritis.

In fact, root vegetables have been used for thousands of years by the indigenous people of South America and Asia to treat and prevent disease.

I thought grains were important to a balanced diet?
Technically speaking yes. Eating whole grains is important to maintaining a balanced diet. Grains such brown rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat are important sources of  fiber, vitamins and minerals however some grains (especially wheat) are also high in FODMAPs, a type of carb that may distress people with gluten sensitivities. Root vegetables are also a source of complex carbs and important nutrients making them an ideal substitute for grains.

BONUS. Root veggies are nutrient dense, tend to be lower in calories, have a lower glycemic index load, and cause less digestive or inflammatory issues than most grains do. They are also known for being “slow-burning carbs” which help regulate blood sugar levels. It does this by slowing down the release of glucose (sugar), which is important for energy and insulin balance. Starchy root vegetables eaten with a balanced meal can help control appetite, fight cravings and reduce insulin resistance which are all important for weight management.

Root Vegetable are also high in fiber. Helping you stay full longer!
A high-fiber diet that includes veggies such as black beans, lentils, almonds, etc… not only helps prevents inflammation, but also works with your body to keep your digestion on track.

What Root Vegetables should I be eating?

  1. Sweet Potatoes and Yams

These two are most people’s top picks when it comes to root veggies, they are so versatile, delicious and beneficial. Sweet potatoes have a high supply of vitamin A, potassium, vitamin B5, vitamin C and fiber. Although named “sweet” potato, they are actually quite low on the glycemic index. Add sweet potatoes to your diet to stabilize and regulate blood sugar. Both vitamin A and vitamin C foods are also beneficial to the immune system by lowering inflammation. As you all know, inflammation is often the root of most chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

Try my Recipes:

Texas Style Sweet Potato Wedges with Caramelized Pecans
Hasselback potatoes with pesto

  1. Russet or white Potatoes

White potatoes get a bad rap, but they earn their keep by providing plenty of antioxidants and nutrients. White potatoes are a very high source of potassium, even more than bananas! Potassium is important for building strong bones and supporting heart health. To make sure to preserve their high potassium content, make sure to eat them with the skin and not overcooked — bye bye to deep-fried French fries!

They also contain a great dose of manganese which is also important for bones and nerve health. To make sure to preserve

  1. Carrots

Don’t you remember your mother telling you to eat carrot to good eyesight? Carrots are wonderful! They can be eaten raw, cooked, peeled, juiced — you name it. Carrots get their gorgeously vibrant orange color from antioxidants called carotenoids, which are known for protecting eye and skin health. Antioxidants such as beta-carotene trigger your body to produce new skin cells and helps reverse free radical damage. PSST. Free radical damage is what leads to eye strain, sun spots, UV damage and wrinkles.

Try my Recipe: Moroccan Style Carrots, Carrot, Orange and Ginger Juice or my Carrot, Orange and Ginger Soup

  1. Beets

Beets are high in immune-boosting vitamin C, vitamin B, fiber, and potassium. These are all essential minerals and vitamins for healthy nerve and muscle function. Beets contain nitrates, which the body uses for muscle recovery, improved circulation, lower inflammation and increased physical performance. So make sure to drink a beet juice before and after athletic performance!

Try my Recipe: Beet Hummus, Beet Tartlet

Check my Beet + Avo stack and my Red Salad in my Happy Healthy Cookbook

  1. Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a cancer fighting immune system booster that reduces inflammation and improves physical performance. Like other carotenoids, beta-carotene can increase communications between cells that destroy cancerous tumor growth and promote lower levels of toxicity.

Butternut squash tastes wonderfully when roasted but it is also excellent in baked food to take place of sugar, butter or dairy. I will be posting butternut squash quesadillas soon, it is so delicious!

  1. Parsnips

Did you know parsnips are part of the carrots, parsley and celery family? They are an amazing course of fiber, potassium, folate and vitamin C. The high fiber content helps fight diabetes and cholesterol. Folate makes them a wonderful veggie for energy, metabolism and nervous system health. I love to roast them or puree them with a generous spoon of raw butter.

Check my recipe for Parsnip Fries and my Maple Roasted Root Veggies in my Happy Healthy Cookbook.

  1. Jerusalem artichokes

Those strange looking veggies are little nutritional bombs. If you are trying to look for them in the store, they are also called sunchokes and they look like a ginger root with a gorgeous pink color. Most people have not tried sunchokes and are unsure of what to do with them! Despite their weird tubular shape, Jerusalem artichokes are equally as delicious raw as they are roasted. Just be patient a little patient when you peel them! They are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, vitamin A and iron. In fact sunchokes are perfect to combat iron deficiency as they are one of the highest plant source of iron.

  1. Turnips

Did you know that turnips are part of the cruciferous family like broccoli, cabbage and collard greens? They are wonderful cancer-fighting veggies and this is due to their high content in phytonutrients called indoles. They are also high in calcium, potassium and magnesium which makes them perfect for heart health, balanced blood pressure and cholesterol.

  1. Rutabaga

Rutabagas are a cross between cabbage and turnips, I love those! They have so many health benefits such as a very high content of vitamin C, zinc which plays an important role in immune health, brain function, metabolism and protection from stress. Rutabaga are great steamed with olive oil, pureed or roasted and caramelized.

  1. Winter Squash

Just like butternut squash, winter squash provides alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein with are excellent protective antioxidants. They are essential for good eye health and preserving vision into old age because they protect macula, retina and cornea from damage.

While root vegetables offer a ton of benefits, portion control is still important, especially if you’re struggling to maintain a healthy weight or stabilize blood sugar levels.

I recommend one to two small servings (about ½ cup cooked) of various root vegetables a day and see how your body responds. Remember — root veggies are still carbs!


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