Eat Your Root Veggies!
I love vegetables, and bonus!, eating vegetables is extra-awesome for your health. Veggies are more than just a low-cal carb; they are nutrient dense with lots of vitamins, minerals and other great bio-chemicals that keep your cellular systems running efficiently.
Everyone knows that veggies are full of vitamins, but is it really so important to get vitamins? Many vitamins are essential; this means you need them for basic functions. These 13 essential vitamins if not replenished will lead to pathological symptoms. The 13 vitamins are A, C, D, E, K, B1, B2, B3, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, B6, B12 and Folate. Your body performs functions like converting food to energy through a series of enzyme pathways. Vitamins are often the keys to little enzyme engines- without the vitamin the enzyme does not turn on. This can cause problems with basic functions like making sure your body has enough red blood cells.
Veggies are also full of essential minerals. The major essential minerals, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Zinc are needed in large quantities in the body. Trace essential minerals are needed in smaller quantities; Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Manganese, Selenium, Molybdenum, and Fluoride. Essential still means necessary for normal functions. Lack of essential minerals of either type some through as pathological symptoms. Minerals often work like vitamins as enzyme keys but they also work within cells driving other important reactions like nerve transduction.
Veggies also help you poop, and we all know how important that is from the Everyone Poops article. Veggies are a great source of fiber; much of the structure of the vegetable is not digested by the body and it acts like a natural scrub-brush as it travels through your digestive tract. That’s right- nature’s intestine scrub brush.
In addition to all of the essential qualities of veggies there are also some bonus qualities like having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Processes associated with aging and disease are accelerated by the presence of very reactive, oxidative forms of chemicals normally found in the body or oxidative environmental toxins that we are exposed to. In addition, chronic inflammation is linked to diseases like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. Often the pigments that give vegetable their colors are the same chemicals that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents (in general called phytochemicals) in your body, so eating vegetables of a variety of colors is important.
Today we are going to focus on root vegetables. A great way to prepare root veggies is to roast them:
• Preheat oven to 400
• Take 2 pounds of root veggies (carrots, parsnips, beets, celery root, rutabaga and sweet potato) and cut into bite-sized pieces
• Toss in a tablespoon of olive oil and minced garlic and place in a roasting pan.
• Cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
• Add salt, pepper or other herbs to taste.
Beets are a good source of:
• Folate and Vitamin C
• Manganese and Potassium
• The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory betalain
Carrots are a good source of:
• Vitamins A, K, C and B6
• Potassium, Manganese, and Molybdenum
• Antioxidants: carotenoids, hydroxycinnamic acids, and anthocyanins.
Sweet Potatoes are a good source of:
• Vitamins A, C, B6, B5, and B3
• Manganese, Potassium, and Copper
• Antioxidants: Carotenoids
Parsnips are a good source of:
• Folate, Vitamins C, B6, K, E and Pantothenic acid
• Iron, Calcium, Copper, Potassium, Manganese and Phosphorus.
• Antioxidants from the poly-acetylene family
Rutabagas are a good source of:
• Vitamins C, B3, B6, and Folate
• Potassium, Manganese, Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Calcium
• Antioxidants from flavonoids.
Celery Root is a good source of:
• Vitamins K, C, and B6
• Phosphorous, Potassium, Manganese, Calcium, and Iron
• Antioxidants from carotenoids.