Health expert Susannah Hickling shares the marvellous health benefits of root vegetables, from aiding digestion to boosting immunity
They’re good for your digestion
The recommended daily fibre intake in the UK is 30g. Here’s where root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, onions, turnips, parsnips and swede come in—they’re rich in soluble and insoluble fibre. They help keep us regular, maintain a healthy weight and might even protect against bowel cancer.
They’re a source of energy
Carbs are converted into sugar when they’re digested and give you much-needed energy. While overdoing some carbs—think foods made from refined white flour—can contribute to weight gain and sugar spikes which increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, healthy carbs such as carrots release energy more slowly.
Orange-coloured veg boost your immunity
Thanks to the beta-carotene that gives veg like carrots and sweet potatoes its colour, these foods, known as carotenoids, are a great source of vitamins A and C. These support your immune system and help prevent cell damage.
Carrots can protect against the sun
It’s a truism that carrots are good for eyes, but did you know they also offer your skin some protection against sunburn? According to a meta-analysis of seven studies, beta-carotene supplementation over ten weeks appeared to have a protective effect. But don’t use them as a substitute for a high SPF sunscreen!
Root veg may cut your cancer risk
Onions, garlic, turnips, carrots and swede may help protect against a variety of cancers, including breast, prostate, stomach and lung, research has suggested.
They could reduce your risk of diabetes
In a study spanning eight European countries, people who ate the most root vegetables had a 13-per-cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared with those who consumed the least.
These veg are good for heart health
Studies have shown garlic can reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Another showed that eating 200g of raw carrot for breakfast each day for three weeks reduced cholesterol by 11 per cent. Root vegetables’ high fibre content also helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter
Loading up next...