5 Common Root Vegetables that are Good for You

Winter provides an assortment of vegetables that are good for you and comforting at the same time. Most of the vegetables on my top 5 list are root vegetables which means they grow underground allowing them to absorb more nutrients from the soil. All of the root vegetables listed below are in season during the fall and winter months, so they’re widely available in grocery stores and at farmers’ markets.

  1. Carrots. Raw carrots have become the go to snack for many who try to eat healthy, but cooked carrots taste just as good. As we’ve all heard our parents say, carrots are good for your eyes. They’re also good for your heart and digestive tract. Carrots are loaded with vitamin A. They can be boring when served cooked and alone, but add them to a pot of beef stew, vegetable soup, or chicken noodle soup, and you’ve jazzed up your warm and cozy meal.
  2. Rutabagas. These lovely vegetables are a staple for many older generations. They’re white and purple on the outside, with a wax
    coating to protect the flesh during handling. Rutabagas are high in fiber and help with digestive health, and they contain vitamins C, B-6, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. This root veggie is a real health booster. Rutabagas aren’t easy to peel and slice because they’re rather hard. I like to roast them with potatoes or cube them and boil them in water with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes are packed with potassium and vitamins A and C, fiber, and many other nutrients. They help improve
    your digestive health, immune system, and control diabetes, among other benefits. Sweet potatoes are easy to cook. You can bake, mash, and roast them. There are also some great recipes for sweet potato soup. My favorite is wrapping them in foil and baking them. When they’re done, cut them open and season them with a little margarine and pumpkin pie spice. That’s a yummy treat!
  4. Turnips. Taste buds change as you get older, and that has has happened to me! Turnips don’t taste as bad as they did when I was
    little. They’re versatile in that you can eat both the greens and the roots. Turnips are related to rutabagas and provide more nutritional value than any other vegetable I’ve noticed through my research. They have a lot of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals like K, A, E, B1, B3, B5, B6, B2, folate, fiber, potassium, magnesium, etc. The list goes on and on! The health benefits of turnips range from digestive and heart health to skin and anti-aging. Cooking turnips is fairly simple. The root can be boiled or roasted like potatoes and rutabagas. The leafy greens can be used in salads or sauted for a side dish.
  5. Cabbage. Cabbage comes in two colors green and red. In the South, we often eat it in coleslaw. Cabbage is synonymous with the Irish, as it became a staple in the mid-1800’s. As the Irish found out, cabbage is good for you. It’s an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. By eating cabbage, your improving brain health, bone health, and blood pressure. I like cabbage because my mom cooked it often for our family. I simply chop it and saute it with a touch of water until it’s tender. I usually season my cabbage with a little salt and pepper. I’ve used cabbage in a tomato-based vegetable soup, and I’ve even seen recipes for roasted cabbage, so it seems to be a versatile vegetable.
Use these 5 common root vegetables in planning your family meals, and yummy them up with some of these cooking tips. They are packed full of vitamins and nutrients and have many health benefits that will keep your family strong and healthy.

Brandie is the Communications Manager at Eat Smart Move More South Carolina. She assists staff in developing and implementing marketing strategies and tools that help make the healthy choice the easy choice. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of South Carolina, with an emphasis on television and radio production. Brandie has two dogs and enjoys taking them on walks. 


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