vegetables are plant roots used as vegetables. Here "root" means any
underground part of a plant.
Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in
the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and the balance
between sugars, starches, and other types of carbohydrate. Of particular
economic importance are those with a high carbohydrate concentration in the
form of starch. Starchy root vegetables are important staple foods,
particularly in tropical regions, overshadowing cereals.
Botany distinguishes true roots such as tuberous roots and taproots from
non-roots such as tubers, rhizomes, corms, and bulbs, though some contain
both taproot and hypocotyl tissue, making it difficult to tell some types
apart. In ordinary, agricultural, and culinary use, "root vegetable" can
apply to all these types.
Technically, the term “root vegetables” includes only those that are either
tuberous roots or taproots and include beets, cassava, carrots,
horseradish, radishes, rutabagas, parsnips, salsify and turnips. Other
categories of underground vegetables include: bulbs (onions, garlic), corms
(celeriac, eddo, taro), rhizomes (ginger, galangal, turmeric), and tubers
(potatoes and the like). That said, most people refer to the whole shebang
of edible underground plants as root vegetables.
As the storage house for a plant’s nutrients, root vegetables are rich
stores of vitamins, Phytonutrients, and complex carbohydrates. Because of
their nature, they can survive cold storage and they are invaluable source
of nutrition in colder climates when little else is growing.
Since roots vegetables are storage organs for the plants they support, they
are packed full of energy in the form of carbohydrates (by way of fiber,
sugar and starch). Root vegetables that have a medium rating on the GI
include sweet potatoes, boiled potatoes, yams, onions, beets and raw
carrots. Those that get a high ranking include baked potatoes, mashed
potatoes, parsnips, cooked carrots and rutabagas.
Healing properties of garlic, ginseng and ginger are well known. Fennel
root is very good for the digestive tract. In general, root vegetables have
no fat and are low in calories. They can be an excellent source of protein,
and their Phytonutrients are proven to have extraordinary health benefits.
The Phytonutrients include antioxidants which fight free radicals in our
bodies. The Phytonutrients are associated with the color of the vegetable,
and the more intense a vegetable’s color is, the more Phytonutrients it
contains. A glass of carrot juice contains about 45,000 IU of vitamin A
which is extremely important for healthy eyes.
Nutritional and Health Properties of Some Common Roots:
Carrot: One small sized carrot has 30 calories from 5g of sugar and 2g of
fiber. A single carrot may give most of the daily requirement for Vitamin
A, along with good amount of vitamin C, iron and calcium. Carrots also
contain trace amounts of vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, pantothenic acid,
magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese.
Beets: A medium-sized beet contains 2g of fiber and 6g of sugar. It
is fat free, low in sodium and an excellent source of folate. A single cup
of cooked beets provides almost 1/3rd daily requirement of folate and 1/4th
of the daily requirement of manganese. It also is a good source for
potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, sodium and copper. Beet has been
found useful in the treatment of Colon Cancer and birth related defects. It
is a natural cleanser which removes toxins from the body and nourishes the
bloodstream. Beet is useful in the treatment of liver related dysfunctions
like Jaundice, Cirrhosis etc.
Sweet Potato: Because of their sugar content, sweet potatoes are higher in
calories than many vegetables. A medium-sized sweet potato has 7g of sugar
and 100 calories. However, sweet potatoes are also high in vitamins. A
medium-sized sweet potato has considerably high amount of vitamin A and
vitamin C. Sweet potatoes provide 3g of fiber and small amounts of
thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, B6, pantothenic acid and manganese.
Radish: Radish has excellent levels of copper, manganese and
potassium. It is also a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron,
phosphorous, zinc and sodium. Radishes are a very good source of vitamin c
and vitamin k. They also contain riboflavin and vitamin b6. 100g of radish
contains 16 calories only. Radish is low in saturated fat and very low in
cholesterol. They are also very good source of dietary fiber. Radish has
anti-bacterial as well as anti-fungal properties. It is beneficial for
cough, respiratory problems, digestive disorders, asthma, bronchitis and
liver and gallbladder troubles.
Turnip: Turnips are an excellent source of Potassium, sodium and calcium.
It is also a good source of magnesium and phosphorus. It also has small
amount of iron, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Turnips are rich in
Vitamin C. It has good amount of choline and small amount of Vitamin K, B6,
thiamin, niacin, folate and Pantothenic acid. 100g of turnips have 28
calories. Calories from fat are 1. Turnips are used in treating arthritis
and are good anti-oxidants; it lowers the risk of obesity, high blood
pressure, diabetes, and cancers of the stomach, pancreas, bladder and lung
diseases. Turnips help prevent cataracts and cardiovascular disease.