The definition of a vegetable is “any part of a plant that is for human consumption.” This includes tubers, roots, fruits, seeds, bulbs, flowers, stems and leaves. Root vegetables are not necessarily healthier than other types. However, root vegetables do provide a good amount of folate (parsnip), iron (turnip), and beta-carotene (carrots), and other minerals, and at the same time increase energy and lower blood pressure (beets), and decrease the risk of cancer (carrots especially)…unless they contain pesticides and are grown with genetically modified organisms. Root vegetables are also a source of carbohydrates, but lack sufficient protein.
All fruits and vegetables have a different nutrition profile and have nutrients that we all need. Variety is the key here, not just consuming one kind of vegetable or one category of vegetable. Fill your plate with a variety of colors.
The one big issue with root vegetables is that they can absorb pesticides that have been used on any part of the plant as well as the pesticides that remain in the soil from previous crops. Carrots and potatoes are especially at risk. While peeling may help decrease the amount of pesticides consumed, pesticides are sill present in the vegetable. These pesticides are harmful to the environment and human health. Studies have shown that some pesticides decrease the immune function and cause cancer in humans. Pesticide use also leads to diseases in fish and other animals. The best way to avoid this is to grow your own produce. The second best option is to buy these vegetables “100% organic” and “Non-GMO Project Verified.”
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