The most important health benefits of parsnips include their ability to lower the chances of developing diabetes, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve digestive processes. Parsnips also prevent depression, protect against birth defects in infants, promote proper growth and development, strengthen the immune system, and lower blood pressure to protect the cardiovascular health.
What are Parsnips?
Parsnips are a root vegetable native to Eurasia and have been used extensively in that region since ancient times. This vegetable is closely related to carrots and parsley, and for that reason, it is often mistaken for carrots in historical records. Parsnip 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 often find parsnips as the main vegetable dish in European nations, particularly in the United Kingdom, where “neeps and tatties” (parsnips and potatoes) are one of the most famous dishes in Scotland.
Parsnips can be eaten raw 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, 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, 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.
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, C, E, and K, as well as high levels of fiber, and protein.
Health Benefits of Parsnips
Parsnips have many interesting health benefits. Let us discuss them in detail below.
Improve Heart Health
Parsnips contain a 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 are the perfect complement, as folate reduces homocysteine levels in the blood, which are generally associated with a higher risk of heart diseases. While fruits and vegetables are always a good choice, parsnips too make a huge impact on keeping cardiovascular system healthy.
Rich in Dietary Fiber
Parsnips have been praised for their high fiber content, particularly because they are 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.
Reduce Birth Defects
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 the nervous system.
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 the most healthy nutrients from your food.
Boost Immune System
Parsnips are also packed with antioxidant vitamins and organic compounds that protect the body from foreign invaders, as well as toxic by-products 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 like cancer. Vitamin C also stimulates the production of white blood cells to attack 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.
Although the content of protein isn’t impressively high in them, the full range of minerals and vitamins in parsnips makes them an ideal snack or dietary addition. They can help 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 snacking option, rather than potato chips and junk food.