Eating Seasonally: Benefits of Eating Root Vegetables
By Shawna Schwalb, MS, LDN
The leaves are stunning. Red, gold, orange, maroon piles crunch under your
feet as you walk in the fall in Chicago. Underneath the leaves, the earth
is growing colder and many animals and plants are finding a new place
to find home. Root vegetables grow during this cooler season. Eating in
season is best for your system. Root vegetables keep you grounded as they
are grown underground. You absorb this energy from them as they settle
your being and satisfy your sweet tooth. Before people ate refined sugar,
they ate naturally sweet root vegetables to satisfy their sweet cravings.
Yams, beets, parsnips, carrots, onions, beets, winter squashes, sweet potatoes,
turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, yuca, kohlrabi, garlic, celery root, horseradish,
daikon, red radishes, burdock, turmeric, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes,
maca root and ginger are some of the wonderful varieties of root vegetables
that are widely available this time of year. Root vegetables tend to be
sweeter and may help with digestion and provide your body with a steady
supply of energy. Unlike sugar, root vegetables help you stay focused
since they are digested more slowly than sugar and help you avoid the
blood sugar highs and lows that you get with sugar. Adding in sweet root
vegetables is a great way to crowd out less healthy foods.
Because root vegetables grow underground, they absorb the beneficial nutrients
from the soil. Ginger and turmeric may help with nausea and reduce inflammation.
Maca root may support the immune system and may help with fertility in
men and women by increasing energy and providing vital nutrients. Maca
is also source of iron and iodine.
Eating at least 5 servings a day of fresh fruits and vegetables is important
all the time, but especially important when trying to conceive. Try steaming,
roasting and stir-frying these vegetables. They can also be simmered and
pureed to create a soup, or you can simply eat them raw or grated into
a salad. Have fun and enjoy eating seasonably for fall and winter as you
reap all the benefits.