With cooler weather upon us, it seems that all people want to eat these days is pumpkin. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of the Halloween staple, too, but I think there are lots of other vegetables that get short shrift this time of year as a result. Root vegetables are abundant now, and they offer some of the best health benefits of any foods. How about giving any of these a try?
Beets. Although my hubby thinks they “taste like dirt” when cooked, he’ll happily scarf down a plate of Crimson Salad with Pecans and Pumpkinseeds. So, if you think you don’t like beets, try them raw! Either way, they offer up amazing antioxidant properties to help reduce inflammation, prevent cancer, tone the liver and keep digestion regular. Roasted, caramelized beets offer an incredibly sweet-tasting side dish. And you’ll be getting a whack of vitamins and minerals as well.
Carrots. Famous for their high beta-carotene content (one cup provides more than 400% of your daily vitamin A!), carrots—along with other deep orange vegetables—also provide protection against cardiovascular disease. In addition, they’re a great source of fiber and antioxidants; and they taste delicious! Try a carrot pâté for a new twist on this common root.
Sweet Potato. With a lower glycemic index (GI) than white potatoes, these orange gems allow you to indulge in nutrient-dense, sweet food while reaping the benefit of antioxidants, high vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium–with virtually no fat and a high fiber. As a result, they’re a great food to help avoid spikes in blood sugar and keep your weight under control. Try adding them to unusual recipes, like smoothies, pancakes, or pasta for something different.
Parsnip. Related to carrots, parsnips actually contain more natural sugars even if they don’t taste quite as sweet. But they make up for it with added fiber and many health benefits to win you over: parsnips are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber, and serve up additional B-vitamins and minerals like potassium and manganese. They can be roasted as parsnip fries for a treat, cooked into soups, or shredded in salads.
Rutabaga. The poor cousin of turnip, rutabagas have a slightly stronger flavor with less tender flesh. But cooked right, they are entirely delicious—and you’ll want to try them for their high fiber and many antioxidants, which can help prevent many forms of cancer.