[Written by Peter Nielsen].
The winter holiday season is over, and we’re all settling down into our normal winter diets. Though we may miss the fresh, clean flavors of fresh fruits and vegetables, the comforting, substantial richness of root vegetables are perfect for January through March weather! Root vegetables are full of fiber, rich in minerals and nutrients from the soil and low in calories. Research also shows that winter favorites such as beets, carrots, parsnips and turnips contain cancer fighting substances called phytochemicals and are rich in vitamins and nutrients to help boost resistance to other health problems. Root vegetables come with short and long term benefits!
- Boost your energy stores! A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that drinking two cups of beet juice a day for 6 days, participants could cycle 16 percent longer than those who drank a placebo. That beet juice also contains a color pigment called betalain, which has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, fungicidal and detoxification properties.
- Lower cancer risks! New research indicates that the betalain in that beet juice may also spur anti-cancer activity, while a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that carrots reduced the likelihood of developing full-scale tumors by one-third in laboratory rats compared to those who were not fed carrots.
- Get your folate. Root vegetables are an excellent source of folate. Parsnips, with their nutty flavor, contain almost twice as much folate as carrots. Folate is vital for normal nerve functioning, and helps support cell production, prevent anemia and and contributes to healthier bones. Studies indicate that it helps lower the risk of dementia and depression.
- Raise your iron absorption. Root vegetables are high in the powerful antioxidant, vitamin C, which help the body absorb iron and helps build bones and cartilage.
- Beta boosters! Carrots, yams, beets and turnips are all excellent sources of betacarotenes, which the body converts into vitamin A. Important for vision and bone growth, betacarotene also helps regulate the body’s immune system.
Last but not least, the high amounts of nutrients and soluble fiber in root vegetables will keep you satisfied longer. Root vegetables – a healthy, tasty way to help lose those holiday pounds!
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