5 Incredible Benefits of Parsnips

Some of the most important health benefits of parsnips include their ability to lower the chances of developing diabetes, reduce cholesterol levels, improve healthy digestive processes, prevent depression, protect against birth defects in infants, promote proper growth and development, strengthen the immune system, and lower blood pressure to protect cardiovascular health.

What are Parsnips?

Parsnips are a root vegetable that are native to Eurasia and have been used extensively in that region since ancient times. It is closely related to carrots and parsley, and for that reason, it is often mistaken for carrots in historical records. However, it is a hardy annual or biennial plant with a number of culinary applications. It was even used as a sweetening agent for foods before cane sugar became a major import to Europe. You will still often find parsnips as a main vegetable dish in many nations of Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, where “neeps and tatties” (parsnips and potatoes) is one of the most famous dishes in Scotland.

Parsnips can be eaten raw, as with carrots, but most of the common culinary applications require the root vegetable to be cooked. While they are often substituted for carrots in recipes, they are slightly sweeter in taste than carrots, which makes them even more valuable and versatile. In the past, parsnips were even used in herbal medicine and as an aphrodisiac. Not only are these root vegetables delicious and useful, but they are also packed with healthy nutrients that are essential for human health, including significant levels of certain key minerals. Let’s take a closer look at exactly which nutrients parsnips contain.

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Parsnips Nutrition Facts

These versatile vegetables contain high levels of potassium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, and iron, in addition to an impressive range of vitamins, including vitamin B, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K, as well as high levels of fiber and some protein.

Health Benefits of Parsnips

Health benefits of parsnips include the following:

Improves Heart Health

Everyone seems to be looking for the big secret to unlocking a healthy cardiovascular system, and while fruits and vegetables are always a good choice, parsnips make an even bigger impact than usual, given the high level of potassium, which acts as a vasodilator and reduces blood pressure, as well as stress on the heart. The high levels of folate in parsnips is the perfect complement, as it reduces homocysteine levels in the blood, which are associated with a higher risk of heart disease.

Rich in Dietary Fiber

Parsnips have been praised for their high fiber content for many years, particularly because it is composed of soluble fiber, the variety that is closely associated with reducing cholesterol levels (further boosting heart health) and with a lower chance of developing diabetes. On top of that, dietary fiber is a key component of our digestive process, facilitating healthy movement of food through the digestive tract, a reduction in constipation, and the prevention of other gastrointestinal disorders.

Reduces Birth Defects and Increases your Metabolism

While folate was already mentioned in conjunction with a healthier heart, it is also important to note that folate (a  member of the B-vitamin family) is also connected with reducing neural tube birth defects in infants and optimizing metabolic processes related to energy production and your nervous system. Also, folate has been positively correlated with lower levels of depression in those who regularly add it to their diet.

Helps in Weight Loss

As a low-calorie option with high levels of soluble fiber, parsnips fill you up and prevent the release of ghrelin, which is a “hunger” hormone. This can significantly reduce your likelihood of snacking between meals and help you with your weight loss goals. Also, the optimized digestive processes help you eliminate waste and get your nutrient uptake into peak condition to get the most healthy nutrients from your food.

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Boosts Immune System

Parsnips are also packed with antioxidant vitamins and organic compounds that protect the body from foreign invaders, as well as toxic byproducts from our own cellular metabolism. Vitamin C and E act as antioxidants in the body and eliminate or neutralize free radicals that can cause chronic diseases, including cancer. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of white blood cells to attack disease and foreign microbes in the body, in addition to functioning as a key element in the production of collagen, which is a fundamental building block of our body.

Helps in Overall Growth and Development

Although the content of protein isn’t impressively high in parsnips, the full range of minerals and vitamins that parsnips boasts means that it is an ideal snack or dietary addition because it can help to balance diets that may suffer from unpredictability or nutrient deficiency. Just as carrots are a great on-the-go snack, parsnips can similarly be a healthy option, rather than potato chips and junk food.

References
  1. http://www.wssajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1614/WT-05-186.1?journalCode=wete&
  2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0021968187900701
  3. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00015127409433235?journalCode=saga19&
  4. http://www.jstor.org/stable/1938456
  5. http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/1/2/77.short
  6. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1046/j.1467-3010.2000.00028.x/abstract
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC382094/
  8. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1939.tb17156.x/abstract
  9. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408397809527244

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5 comments

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1

My understanding from my Scottish forbears is that "neeps" refers to rutabaga and not parsnips. Perhaps you could clarify?

2

Makes a great ice cream flavor along with carrots.

3

I just made a batch of split pea soup and used parsnips instead of carrots. Yum! They also cooked up a little softer than carrots do. Now that I know how nutritious they are, I'm going to add more next time. They are a great compliment to yellow split peas.

4

Actually needs and tatties so widely eaten in Scotland as per article is potatoes and swede, not parsnip.

5

Well, we here in the USA eat plenty of parsnip and the article is very accurate!

Cheers

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