When it comes to root vegetables, I feel like I can go down a rabbit hole. (Carrots, beets, Brussel sprouts – on my!) There are so many great options, but I have a soft spot for parsnips, because I grew up enjoying them as a starchy side, similar to potatoes. Besides being a perfect winter comfort food, they’ve got a slew of health benefits you won’t want to miss out on.
What are the health benefits of parsnips?
To say that parsnips pack a nutritional punch would be an understatement. One cup of these veggies contains just 100 calories and almost seven grams of fiber. Since fiber takes longer to digest, it helps you feel fuller longer, which can make it easier to lose weight, if that’s your goal. Fiber is also considered an anti-aging superfood, because it removes inflammation-causing toxins that can lead to chronic disease.
A cup of parsnips also contains about 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C. In addition to strengthening immunity to protect against colds and viruses, vitamin C is essential for increasing collagen production to keep your bones and muscles strong and help maintain your skin’s elasticity.
In addition to this key vitamin, parsnips also contain powerful antioxidants called flavonoids. Consuming foods rich in these flavonoids has been shown to help keep your memory sharp, lower blood pressure, and reduce heart disease and cancer risk. With these amazing health perks, parsnips should quickly become your go-to starch of choice — and just wait until you taste them!
How to Cook Parsnips
Parsnips are in season and readily available in grocery stores from October through May. They’re known for having a sweet yet slightly bitter flavor, which makes them perfect for roasting. This brings out their natural sweetness, similar to other root vegetables like carrots and beets. (Psst: We like to use roasted parsnips as a tasty hummus topping!)
They can also be boiled alongside potatoes to make a healthier version of mashed potatoes. In fact, this is one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite side dishes, which means you can cook and eat like a royal right at home!
You can also eat parsnips raw by whipping together a simple shaved parsnip salad. This is a perfect lighter option to get those nourishing health-boosting antioxidants.
However you add parsnips to your diet, your body will thank you!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.