Despite the bad rep root veggies have received over the years, they’re actually awesome winter champions: low in calories, high in complex carbohydrates and fibre. As well as being a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, that also keep your immune system healthy.
With winter here to stay for the time being, add some root vegetables to comforting roasts, slow braises and soups to help keep the cold out. Our resident Dietitian Yvonne picks six of the best root vegetables to add onto your winter menu.
Vibrant in their colours, thanks to a family of phytonutrients called Betamin found in no other common vegetables. Beetroots are also a good source of nitrate, including this root vegetable regularly as part of a healthy diet has been shown to have good effects on maintaining cardiovascular health; reducing blood pressure and hypertension.
Tip: Roasted, bake thinly sliced beetroots, lightly drizzled with oil and herbs to make a healthy version of veggie chips.
Sweet potato, especially the orange varieties, are an excellent source of immune-boosting beta-carotene. Sweet potatoes have lower GI than normal potatoes, giving increased satiety and hunger control.
Tip: A versatile root vegetable, great for boiling, roasting and baking. Try sweet jacket potato or roasting it as chunky chips with some herb and Greek yoghurt dips.
Closely related to carrots, parsnip is a good source of insoluble fibre, which helps to improve intestinal function, regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. They have higher carbohydrate compared to all the other root vegetables; it is also one of the sweetest vegetables, high in folate, calcium, iron and magnesium.
Tip: Roast this nutty root veg off with some oil, great by itself as a side or puree for a delicious silky smooth soup.
Also known as German turnip or turnip cabbage, Kohlrabi has a taste and texture between a cabbage and broccoli stem. They are high in Vitamin C and micronutrients, especially potassium that helps to regulate healthy blood pressure.
Tip: Perfect in chunky vegetable soups. Grated and combined with some flour to make delicious fritters for snack or breakfast, a great way to get the kids to eat their vegetables.
Carrots are one of the richest sources of beta carotene – an antioxidant that can block the action of free radicals that can damage DNA. Carrots are great for promoting skin, eye and immune health.
Tip: Carrots are so versatile, they can be served steamed, stir-fried, roasted or raw. Remember to drizzle a little bit of oil or serve it with some oil base dips to help your body better absorb the beta-carotene.
Another sweet root vegetable, swedes are low in calories. They contain a good amount of vitamin C, high in fibre and a valuable source of potassium and carotenoids for a healthy immune system. Coming from the same family as broccoli and cabbage they also contain the same anti-cancer phytochemicals.
Tip: Cut into cubes, roast in oven with drizzle of olive oil, honey and sprinkles of chili and cumin.