Parsnip contains a number of essential vitamins and minerals which have quite a few beneficial effects on our health. Parnips are rich in potassium which help to keep the heart in good shape. The dietary fibers in this vegetable help to improve digestion and prevent ailments related to digestion. The soluble fibers help to lose weight while folate helps to prevent birth defects during birth. Vitamin C and E help to strengthen your immune system. In addition, consumption of parsnip also helps to make your bones stronger, lowers the chances of developing diabetes, helps to reduce cholesterol and prevents the onset of depression.
Parsnip or Pastinaca sativa is a biennial plant belonging to the Apaiaceae family. It resembles a carrot so much that many may confuse the two. However, the skin and flesh of parsnip are white to cream-coloured while the carrot’s skin is orange in colour. This vegetable has a nutty, sweet taste. Apples, orange zest and spices like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg can amplify the sweetness of this vegetable. They can be eaten raw or can be cooked and utilized in a number of ways.
Parsnip is a very versatile vegetable with a wide range of health benefits due to the presence of a number of nutrients and vitamins. It contains minerals like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and iron. It is rich in folate and also has vitamins like Vitamin B, C, E and K which are very beneficial for our health.
Parsnip has potassium which acts as a vasodilator. It thus helps to reduce blood pressure by preventing the arteries and veins from tightening and reduces pressure on your heart. Parsnip also contains folate which helps to lessen the homocysteine levels in our blood and thus protects your heart. Excess homocysteine in the blood can cause various ailments of the heart.
Parsnips are rich in soluble fiber that helps to reduce cholesterol levels and also lowers the chances of developing diabetes. Dietary fiber also helps to add bulk to the stool and thus facilitates the smooth movement of bowel through the digestive system. This helps to prevent constipation and gastrointestinal disorders.
Parsnips are rich in folate that helps to reduce the occurrences of neural tube defects in newborn babies. Folate also helps to fight depression and is especially useful for preventing postpartum depression in mothers who have given birth recently.
Parsnips are rich in anti-oxidants and other organic compounds which protect us from various diseases. Foremost among these are Vitamin C and Vitamin E which neutralize the disease causing free radicals and prevent them from causing any harm. Vitamin C also helps to stimulate the production of white blood cells which are our body’s primary line of defense. White blood cells help the formation of one of the basic building blocks of our body, collagen.
It has recently come to light that parsnips have anti-inflammatory capabilities. Parsnips contain an active ingredient called falcarindiol that can trace and destroy cancer cells in the colon. Thus incorporating this vegetable in your diet will help to reduce the chances of developing colon cancer.
Parsnips, when consumed, makes you feel fuller for a longer period of time as they are rich in soluble fiber. This helps to reduce your intake of food and helps to maintain your weight. The fiber also inhibits the release of the hunger hormone, ghrelin.
Consumption of parsnips can help prevent anemia as they are rich in iron and Vitamins C and B9. These are essential for production of blood and for preventing anemia.
You can include parsnips in your diet if you want your bones and teeth to be healthy and strong. This is because this vegetable is not only rich in calcium but also contains magnesium which helps in the proper absorption of calcium.
Parsnips can be eaten raw but the cooked vegetable is an integral part of the cuisine of various cultures of the world. They can be baked, roasted, boiled, fried or pureed. It gives a rich flavor when it is used in soups and stews. Parsnips were also used as an aphrodisiac and also used in herbal medicine. Parsnip tea acts as an excellent diuretic and helps to cleanse our body by stimulating the production of urine.
Some sensitive people may experience oral allergy syndrome (OAS) and contact dermatitis after they consume parsnip. Rashes or burning sensation in the lips, mouth and throat are some of the symptoms of OAS. Thus it is advisable for people with a history of allergies to consult a doctor before incorporating this vegetable into their diet.
Parsnips have a long history but edible parsnips were actually the result of continuous cultivation. Besides being used as a staple food, this vegetable was also used as a natural sweetener for breads, cakes and jams. This vegetable is believed to have originated in the East Mediterranean and it later spread to different parts of the world. The early settlers and colonists might have introduced this vegetable to America.
Parsnips are generally planted before the winter season as it produces its unique sweet flavor in the cold months. This plant requires a long growing season and so the seeds have to be sown as soon as the soil is workable. It requires exposure to the sun and grows best in loamy or sandy soil. Slightly acidic to neutral soil is ideal for the plant. p>