Discover the 8 shocking health benefits of parsnip.
What is a parsnip? Well, it’s not a white carrot, although it looks a lot like one. Parsnips – as they are also mentioned – may be root vegetables in the carrot family, but they are separate species.
They have a nutty flavor and are generally larger than carrots, and parsnip nutrition differs from carrot nutrition.
What about a wild parsnip? The wild parsnip is called a poisonous parsnip.
It can have pretty yellow flowers and grow along the roads but don’t go picking this wild vegetable because you could end up with serious contact dermatitis.
However, the common parsnips that you can easily find at your local grocery store or farmer’s market are not something to miss, especially when in season.
Parsnips are versatile and delicious, with an impressive array of nutrients and health benefits.
Let’s take a look at exactly how parsnips can benefit your health, as well as some of the most delicious parsnip recipes (like French fries) to get all the awesome things that go along with parsnip nutrition.
What is a parsnip?
Root vegetables are hearty and delicious, plus they’re loaded with nutrients. One of my all-time favorite vegetables is parsnip. What are parsnips?
They are vegetables that have been cultivated and enjoyed since ancient times for their fleshy, edible, white root, and parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are a member of the carrot/parsley family (Apiaceae).
Other members of the Apiaceae family include carrots, fennel, dill, caraway, chervil, cumin, and parsley.
Parsnips are very similar to carrots, but they have cream-colored skin and are, in fact, different from carrots.
So what is a wild parsnip or parsnip and how does it differ from other parsnips? Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is an invasive Eurasian weed with an edible root.
However, its leaves, stems, and flowers contain toxic sap that can cause severe burns. It’s a much safer bet to buy your parsnips (root only) at the local market or grocery store to take advantage of parsnip nutrition.
If you decide to grow parsnips in your garden, be very careful with their stems and leaves, as they also contain dangerous sap for the skin like a wild parsnip.
Health benefits of parsnip
Among the nutritional health benefits of parsnip or parsnip we have:
1.- Improves eye health
With its impressively high vitamin C content, parsnip is a root vegetable that can help improve eye health, specifically a common problem that many experience later in life: macular degeneration.
People over the age of 60 tend to experience this degenerative eye problem more often, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until your later decades to establish a diet that helps maintain optimal eye health.
For every 100 grams of this vegetable, we find:
Calories, carbohydrates, iron, vitamin C, and more
Research published in 2016 showed how people who develop age-related macular degeneration tend to have lower intakes of vitamin C, as well as other key nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, vitamin E, zinc, and vitamin D.
Vitamin C appears time and again in scientific studies involving the causes and prevention of macular degeneration. Consuming parsnip is a great natural way to increase vitamin C levels, as its high vitamin C content is a staple of parsnip nutrition.
2.- Improves digestive function and prevents constipation
As a vegetable, and more specifically as a root vegetable, parsnip comes with a significant dose of fiber.
You probably already know that one of the key ways to keep your digestive system in good shape is to have regular bowel movements.
Ample fiber intake is one of the main ways you can prevent or relieve constipation and keep things moving.
In the United States, it is very common for people to not get enough fiber in their diets.
To avoid being fiber-deficient, you can increase your intake of high-fiber foods like parsnips, which is likely to help improve your overall digestive health.
3.- It can prevent birth defects
It is rare to have a deficiency of folate, which is also known as folic acid or vitamin B9.
Folate is what you get naturally from food, while folic acid is technically a man-made version of this key nutrient.
Good news: just a half cup of parsnips provides about 11 percent of most people’s daily folate requirements.
Folate is extremely important for human health. It is also especially essential for pregnant mothers and their developing babies.
Research has shown that pregnant women need a higher intake of folate to decrease the chance of having children with neural tube birth defects, such as cleft palate, spina bifida, and brain damage.
While supplementation is often necessary for women to meet their requirements before conception and during their pregnancies, parsnip nutrition offers a natural way to increase dietary folate intake.
However, folate is not just for women or pregnant women. Being low in folic acid or folic acid is also known to cause:
• Gingivitis (gum disease)
• Poor growth
• Swelling of the tongue
• Short of breath
• Loss of appetite
• I forget
• Mental slowness
4.- Helps with heart (and general) health
Not only is parsnip nutrition rich in heart-healthy fiber, but it also contains other nutrients like vitamin C and folate that are known to positively affect your ticker to help prevent heart disease.
It is believed that the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet is to turn your next meal into a kind of rainbow.
It’s good advice, and to be more specific, it means you need to fill your plate with fruits and vegetables from five different color groups: red and pink, blue and purple, yellow and orange, green, and last but not least. . White and brown.
Not surprisingly, parsnips have two colors from the list, such as white and brown. So for the sake of your heart and overall health, including parsnips in an already healthy diet can help you cover all your bases in terms of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
5.- Supports enzyme production and bone health
Manganese is a key component of many enzymes in the body. What kind of enzymes? Enzymes that affect digestive health, antioxidant function, and wound healing, just to name a few.
Bone health also tops this list, as manganese is a cofactor (“helper molecule”) for glycosyltransferases, which are enzymes needed for healthy cartilage and bone production.
Without enough dietary manganese, weak bones and other skeletal problems become a concern. Women with osteoporosis have been shown to have lower levels of manganese in their bodies.
Fortunately, a good dose of manganese is part of the nutrition of parsnip, which can help with both enzyme production and bone health.
Parsnip Nutrition Facts
The powerful parsnip root appears on my Healing Food Shopping List for good reason – it’s packed with nutrition.
A half-cup of cooked parsnip slices contains approximately:
• 55 calories
• 13.3 grams of carbohydrates
• 1 gram of protein
• 2.8 grams of fiber
• 10.1 milligrams vitamin C (17 percent DV)
• 45.2 micrograms folate (11 percent DV)
• 0.2 milligrams manganese (11 percent DV)
• 286 milligrams potassium (8 percent DV)
• 22.6 milligrams magnesium (6 percent DV)
• 0.5-milligram pantothenic acid (5 percent DV)
• 53.8 milligrams phosphorus (5 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram copper (5 percent DV)
• 0.8 milligrams vitamin E (4 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
• 0.1-milligram thiamine (4 percent DV)
• 0.6 milligrams niacin (3 percent DV)
• 28.9 milligrams calcium (3 percent DV)
• 0.5-milligram iron (3 percent DV)
• 1.3 micrograms selenium (2 percent DV)
How to use and cook parsnips
Parsnips have pale yellow, creamy, or ivory skin with a shape that can be described as a lumpier or heavier carrot.
When choosing parsnips, always look for ones that are firm, dry, and ideally without blemishes.
In terms of size, small and medium seem to offer the best flavor profile. Parsnips are root vegetables that aren’t hard to find at the grocery store year-round but are at their peak between fall and spring.
Store fresh parsnips by wrapping them in a paper towel and placing them in a sealed bag or container. Don’t wash them until you’re ready to use them.
You can also keep them unpackaged. Either way, they should do well in your fridge’s crisper drawer for about two weeks when stored this way.
Before using a parsnip, you need to peel it and cut off the top and bottom (like a carrot). Then you can cut it as you like. When it comes to cooking parsnips, you have many different options.
They can be cooked and used similar to carrots. Parsnips can be eaten raw, but they are sweeter and more shocking when cooked.
They can be baked, roasted, boiled, or steamed. Once cooked, you can also puree parsnips into a mash similar to mashed potatoes.
When included in any dish, parsnips add a distinct earthy richness and add to the flavor factor. Parsnips are excellent cooked in soups, stews, and stews.
It is best to add parsnips to soups and stews during the last 30 minutes so that they can better retain their flavor and texture. Parsnips can also be grated and eaten raw in salads.
History and interesting facts about parsnip
In 1753, Carolus Linnaeus first described parsnips in his “Species Plantarum.” European settlers are suspected of bringing wild parsnip to North America by European settlers. Back then, it was cultivated for its edible root.
However, since then, wild parsnip has escaped from gardens and made its way onto roads and other places where it grows wild. You can find wild parsnip all over the North American continent from north to south and east to west.
Parsnips are closely related to carrots and parsley. Sometimes parsnips are mistaken for parsley root.
How can you tell the difference? You will usually find that parsley root is sold at the grocery store with the greens still attached, while parsnips are sold with just the root.
Many people used to consume parsnips to improve toothaches and tired, sore feet.
Possible side effects and caution with parsnip
Wild parsnips have an edible root, but their leaves and stems are highly toxic. That is why wild parsnip is also called poisonous parsnip.
Wild parsnip produces a sap that contains chemicals that can cause human skin to react to sunlight, leading to severe burns, rashes, or blisters (phytophotodermatitis).
Wild parsnips are most often found in open areas such as roadsides, pastures, and fields. They have yellowish-green flowers that appear in umbrella-shaped clusters in June and July.
I highly recommend avoiding the consumption of the wild parsnip root because you risk contact with the juice of the wild parsnip. When cattle consume wild parsnips, it is known to negatively affect their fertility and weight gain.
It is possible to be allergic to parsnips. If you develop food allergy symptoms after consuming parsnips, discontinue consumption and seek medical attention if necessary.
If you’re not used to eating high-fiber foods, adding parsnips to your diet can lead to gas, bloating, and cramps at first due to the fiber content.
Final thoughts on parsnip
Now you know the answer to “what are parsnips?” And how they can improve your health in so many really meaningful ways. Also, parsnips are delicious. They are earthy, nutty, and the perfect amount of sweet.
When added to soups, stews, and other dishes, they make food that much more satisfying and healthy.
For example, parsnip nutrition benefits eye, bone, heart, and digestive health, plus parsnips can help with childbirth due to their folate content. If you haven’t tried parsnips to date, I suggest you give them a try.
However, if you see wild parsnips growing near your home, I recommend that you pass them on because you don’t want to risk serious skin repercussions.
Fortunately, it’s easy to find parsnips (just the safe, edible root) at your local market or grocery store.