Parsnips (scientific name Pastinaca sativa) belong to the root vegetable family. It is often mistaken as the white variety of carrot, but they are not. Its shape and size are similar to a carrot except that its skin and flesh are white to cream-colored.
Parsnip originated from Eurasia and has been a staple food in their diet since the ancient times. Because of its sweet taste, it has been considered as a source of sugar during the old times. Fast forward to modern times, parsnips are one of the essential parts of a traditional Sunday Roast. While in traditional Chinese medicine, its roots are used as a herbal medicine.
There are several varieties of parsnips: Harris Model, All American, Hollow Crown, Cobham Marrow and the Student. All of which provide the same basic components of nutrients and minerals.
Having said that, this vegetable should not be taken for granted. There are several nutrients and benefits that you can get from eating this biennial plant.
Nutritional Benefits of Parsnip
Parsnips are rich in potassium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, iron, folate and phosphorous. It is also an excellent source of fiber, as well as vitamins B, C, E and K, making it a nutritious food that should be added to your diet.
Like carrots, parsnips are a great crunchy vegetable that can be cut up and eaten as a snack that is a very healthy alternative to junk foods.
Health Benefits of Parsnip
Anemia and blood health: This vegetable is rich in iron, vitamins C and B9 which are all essential nutrients for blood-building and preventing anemia. Eating parsnips, especially by women, does not only prevent anemia but it also provides essential nutrients without any side effects.
Anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties: Based on a recent medical research done by the University of Newcastle, England, parsnips have high anti-inflammatory properties and also has the capability to reduce the risk of colon cancer. Another great benefit to this wonder vegetable is its active component called falcarindiol that has the ability to look for and destroy cancer cells in the colon.
Blood sugar levels: Parsnips are helpful for controlling blood sugar levels as well as reducing cholesterol. This vegetable is suitable for diabetics, even beneficial, as it lowers blood sugar level.
Bones and teeth health: Whenever we hear the phrase “strong bones and teeth” calcium always comes to mind, parsnips are not only an excellent source of calcium but also of magnesium which helps the proper absorption of calcium for bone-building.
Cardiovascular health: Parsnips help prevent cardiovascular diseases such as stroke, atherosclerosis and other coronary complications due to its rich content of vitamin K and folate.
Immune system and gut health: As in most root vegetables, parsnips are an excellent food that has all the right nutrients for building the immune system and gut health.
Respiratory health: Just as in carrots, parsnip has carotenoids that are helpful for healing of the respiratory system. Definitely beneficial to drink parsnip juice to help ease asthma, wheezing, symptoms of emphysema, and respiratory infections. Juice parsnips and pears and drink daily for a week to see a great improvement to your respiratory health.
Skin health: Parsnip juice is a great way to be able to enjoy the full benefits of what parsnip can provide especially vitamin C which can help repair skin cells and prevent skin aging.
Parsnip is a starchy vegetable, tastes a little spiced, earthy and woody. It can be eaten raw, and even better in juice form. Juice parsnip with green apples or pears for a nutritious morning juice that provides energy for the day.
If you like it cooked, lightly steam parsnip without peeling the skin until slightly tender. Once tender, peel off the skin and use it in your cooking.
Nutritious as parsnip is, do not eat it if you are on any medication as it may interact with your medication.