7 healthiest root vegetables and how to cook them
Root vegetables are comfort foods from nature that we get to enjoy every fall, but they're also nutritional powerhouses. Here are the best nutrient-filled root veggies to add to your table, and the healthiest ways to cook them.
These jewel-toned bulbs are a marvellous source of antioxidants. Though you might think beets are too sweet to be good for you (certain varieties are used in sugar production), the root as a whole vegetable is super healthy. Beets' dark purple pigments support your body's natural detox process and may help fight cancer. The vegetables also contain the nutrient betaine, which is known to combat inflammation, a factor connected to many chronic illnesses. For the healthiest beet dish, keep the skins on and don't overcook them. Healthy pigments are lost through cooking, so the longer you steam or roast beets, the fewer phytonutrients you'll end up with.
Orange vegetables are known to be great for your heart, and carrots are no exception. A study found that carrot consumption was related to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. But that's not the carrot's only claim to fame. Its carotenoids, specifically beta-carotene and lutein, can help protect eyes to keep vision healthy later in life. Studies have also shown that carrots have promising effects on the prevention of colon cancer. While the orange variety have lots of benefits, switch it up once in a while to try red and purple carrots in order to benefit from different nutrients. When cooking carrots, try leaving the skin on, then steaming rather than boiling to avoid loss of nutrients.
Onions and leeks
These aren't your typical starchy root vegetables. Onions belong to the allium family, but they are roots too. Leeks and onions are potent with polyphenols. The vegetables are great for the heart, containing flavonoids that protect blood vessels and sulfur compounds that prevent clotting. They're also super anti-inflammatory, and packed with B vitamins like B6 and folate. Don't overpeel an onion. Some of the most concentrated nutrients occur in the outermost layers.