Parsnips health benefits and nutrition facts.

photo credit: wikipedia

A close relative of carrots, the root-vegetable parsnip is much paler in color and is characterized by a nutty, celery type flavor. The vegetable offers a much sweeter taste profile especially when cooked and served. In spite of being a predominantly winter vegetable, parsnips are available in the market round the year.

Interesting Facts About Parsnips

In Europe, parsnips were first known to have been cultivated around the Rhine region in Germany some. At that time, Roman elites utilized the vegetable as an aphrodisiac. Later in the medieval periods, parsnips were frequently employed for sweetening cakes and jams, given that sugar was not easily available then. Parsnips were and still continue to be a British delight, to an extent that it was the region’s staple diet during World War II.

Parsnip And Its Role In Promoting Good Health

Contrary to general belief, parsnips health benefits are wide ranging, given the nutrient diversity found in the vegetable. The main parsnip nutrients and their pro-health advantages are mentioned below:

Dietary Fiber – Parsnips are a good source for both soluble as well as insoluble fibers. In fact, if you look at the nutritional chart of the vegetable, then you will see that it accounts for close to 13% of you daily fiber needs. Regular intake of fibers not only aids in digestion but it also normalizes your bowel movements. A healthy bowel will automatically prevent constipation.

Anti-Cancer Components – While this aspect of parsnip is not so widely discussed, it is important to note that researchers have taken a serious note of root vegetable’s anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. For example, scientific research at the University of Newcastle, England showed encouraging evidence of the vegetable’s ability to protect against cancers of the colon as well as ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).

High Sugar Content – Molecule for molecule, parsnips have more sugar content (in the form of carbohydrates) in them than their cousins i.e. carrots, turnips and radishes. In fact, this sugar content can be comparable to that of certain fruits like grapes and bananas. This feature automatically makes parsnips a sweet tasting, high energy food.

Minerals – Parsnips supply for 6% of the daily recommended allowance as far as potassium is concerned, and not surprisingly, the latter happens to be the most abundant mineral found in the vegetable. Potassium plays many roles when it comes to body functioning; prominent among them being maintenance of bones and operation of specific muscle groups like smooth (special muscles that make up internal organs like the food tract, stomach, urinary bladder etc) and cardiac (heart) muscles. Parsnips also contain a range of other minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, calcium and selenium.

Folate – Out of the many vitamins present in parsnips, folate accounts for approximately 11% RDA in the vegetable. This vitamin falls in the category of the B-complex family and its primary responsibility is to aid in metabolism (cell level energy production and use-up process). Folate also plays a central role in the synthesis of red blood cells, RNA and DNA. Consumption of folate during pregnancy effectively lowers the risks of birth defects in the new born.

Vitamin-C– Amounting for roughly 13% RDA for women and 11% for men, vitamin-C is required for maintaining healthy teeth, bone, skin and immune system. Its action against free radicals that cause damage to the DNA has prompted many experts to claim that the vitamin might be of assistance in the prevention of hypertension, osteoarthritis and other heart complications.

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