Eat Your Root Veggies! | Why They're Good For You

Published on: 24/08/2021

Root crops or root veggies do not require much to grow and are especially rich in antioxidants, and both soluble and insoluble fiber.

The abundance of root crops around us has made Filipino meals and snacks more delicious, filling, and, throughout these years, all the more creative. Nowadays ube cheese pandesal is available from almost every baker, camote cue is still a well-loved merienda staple, and cassava cake is a good idea for pasalubong.

Most of these vegetables have been considered a ‘poor man’s crop’ because propagation-wise, they do not require much to grow. They are known to be able to tolerate poor soil and weather conditions. Nonetheless, there is nothing impoverished when it comes to the nutrition these types of food can provide. In fact, root vegetables are especially rich in antioxidants, and both soluble and insoluble fiber.

What are Root Crops?

Root crops or root vegetables are a group of plants with tubers (underground stems) that are used for food. Among the root and tuber crops are beets, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, and yams.

In the botanical sense, true roots (like the tubers of potatoes) are distinguished from non-roots (like the bulbs of an onion). Nevertheless, the term root vegetable encompasses both of these distinctions when it comes to culinary and agricultural usage.

The Benefits of Root Crops

Did you know that eating the flesh of a medium-baked sweet potato gives you only 103 calories, but at the same time you receive enough vitamin A to meet your daily Recommended Dietary Allowance? The sweet potato (more commonly known to us as camote) is considered as a superfood and has been named as one of the healthiest root vegetables around. 

Purple yam or ube, on the other hand, is an excellent source of Vitamin C, carbohydrates, and potassium. Its vibrant violet color comes from a compound called anthocyanins, which may help reduce blood pressure and protect against type 2 diabetes and cancer. 

Even onions, garlic, and ginger do more than add flavor to your food. These root vegetables can offer manganese, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin C.

There are still a lot of others, but carrots may be one of the most well-known root vegetables because of their nutritional value. Aside from Vitamins A and K, carrots offer the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps the body fight free radicals. 

Eat with Prudence

With all these health benefits of eating root crops, balance is still key. In its August 2018 Health Letter, Harvard Medical School cautioned against eating too many root vegetables.

Since these vegetables are starches, eating more than what your body needs will lead to weight gain. This is because the excess carbohydrates will then be eventually stored as fat. This can also increase your blood sugar and may lead to diabetes. 

Make sure that you are also cooking your root vegetables with healthy ingredients. It may be tempting to put too much sugar when you fry them or add a lot of butter and unhealthy ingredients when you prepare them. The best way to cook them is to boil, mash, bake, or roast with a little olive oil. You can also toss them into soups and casseroles. 

Lastly, it’s good to eat a variety of root vegetables. With so many of them available around us, it will be easy to take your picks. Doing so will allow you to get a wider selection of nutrients for your body.