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The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a root vegetable closely related to the carrot. This biennial plant has long tuberous roots which have a cream-colored flesh that is succulent and flavorful and is sweeter than a carrot. Parsnip’s unique flavor comes from the starch being converted into sugar, which happens when they are left to mature in the ground.
Nutritional Content of Parsnip
Parsnips have a high starch and sugar content. They are also high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. It is high in vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. Parsnips are a significant source of zinc, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, iron, vitamin K, vitamin C and pantothenic acid.
Health Benefits of Parsnip
1. The fiber in parsnip aids digestion of food, makes bowel movements regular and helps relieve constipation.
2. The soluble fiber contained in parsnip helps lower cholesterol and keeps blood sugar levels normal.
3. Parsnips contain many poly-acetylene antioxidants such as falcarinol, falcarindiol, panaxydiol and methyl-falcarindiol which have been touted to have anti-cancer properties. Several studies have shown that these compounds have anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-cancer function and offer protection from colon cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
4. Eating parsnips regularly can treat a variety of health problems and conditions such as asthma, arthritis, pneumonia, ulcers, hay fever and kidney damage.
5. Potassium found in significant amount in parsnip regulates blood pressure and helps muscles and nerves function properly.
6. Folate is contained in parsnip, which can be particularly beneficial to pregnant women to help prevent babies with birth defects. Folate also combats dementia and osteoporosis.
7. Parsnip can boost immunity and aid healing and recovery owing to its vitamin C and wide variety of antioxidants.
8. Parsnips can help relieve kidney problems such as kidney stones because of its diuretic properties.
9. The niacin and vitamin C content aids the digestive and nervous system.
10. The vitamin K in parsnips helps in blood clotting and protects the liver from diseases.
11. Parsnip has anti-inflammatory compounds that can improve respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma. These properties also prevent the swelling of blood vessels, thus preventing stroke and heart attack.
12. Parsnips are good for oral health as they can fight bacteria that cause gum diseases and tooth decay.