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.