What Are Root Vegetables? The Facts

What Are Root Vegetables?

Root vegetables are edible plants that grow underground. Some root vegetables are bulbous growths rather than roots that store nutrients to feed the plant in the colder months. Root vegetables are packed with nutrients and can be high in starchy carbohydrates. Don’t forget in our previous blogs on eating healthier you need starchy carbohydrates in your diet - don’t fear them, they should make up a third of your diet! 

Autumn Root Vegetables 

Autumn or fall root vegetables are not only full of nutrients which we will discuss more later, they're so vibrant in colour too: deep ambers, bright oranges and strong purples! Some Autumn root vegetables include (but aren't limited to!)

  • Parsnips 
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Radishes 

Have you included these into your diet recently? Now the weather is colder a good vegetable tray bake can be a great way to include these in your weekly meal plan. 

Health Benefits Of Root Vegetables 

Root vegetables are low in calories and high in antioxidants offering a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and associated health benefits. Observational studies have linked a higher intake of root vegetables including onion and garlic with a lower risk of common types of cancers. Here are some nutritional benefits of popular root vegetables: 

Onions - High in fibre, vitamin C and antioxidants which help prevent disease

Nutrition benefits:

  • Fibre -  associated health benefits may include lowering the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer
  • Vitamin C - associated health benefits may include protection against immune system deficients, cardiovascular disease and prenatal health problems 
  • Antioxidants - are linked to health benefits for illnesses including diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants include vitamin C, E and coffee 

Sweet Potatoes - High in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese and antioxidants 

Nutrition benefits: 

  • Vitamin A - support healthy vision, healthy immune systems, lowers the risk of certain cancers and reduces the risk of acne 

Turnips - High in fibre, vitamin c, manganese and potassium 

Nutrition benefits: 

  • Manganese - may help to reduce disease risks and inflammation, plays a role in blood sugar regulation and wound healing 
  • Potassium - may help to reduce blood pressure and water retention, as well as protection against stroke, osteoporosis and kidney stones 

Garlic - High in manganese, vitamin B6 and vitamin C 

Nutrition benefits:

  • Vitamin B6 - significant role in protein, carbohydrates and fat metabolism. May improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression as well as preventing and treating anemia

Potatoes - High in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese 

More Root Vegetable Facts 

  • Did you know carrots were first used for medical purposes then added to foods? 
  • The flesh of a sweet potato has enough vitamin A to meet your entire daily recommended intake 
  • A cup of mashed turnips has as much calcium as half of a slide of cheddar cheese 
  • A medium baked russet potato eating the skin, has twice the amount of potassium than a medium sized banana 

We have a blog too all about batch cooking this Autumn for more recipe ideas! 

Written by Performance For All - find us on Instagram @wearepfa

Researched and written by Jade Mottley - Sport Scientist and MSc Human Nutrition student (Head Coach at Performance For All)

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