Pertaining to the family of Carrots and parsley, long shelf life and low cost makes parsnips an economical addition to your diet. The larger parsnips have a woody texture, but the smaller roots (up to 2 inches thick) have a tender texture and a sweet taste. With 100 calories per cup, they are a low-calorie addition to your diet and provide minerals and vitamins that promote healthy tissue function.
Folic acid and potassium
Parsnips are rich in potassium and folic acid, two important nutrients for cardiovascular health. Potassium protects you from high blood pressure, while folic acid reduces levels of homocysteine in the blood, an amino acid associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Folic acid promotes the formation of red blood cells and potassium is good for nerve function. One serving of a cup of parsnips provides 499 milligrams of potassium, 11% of the daily dose recommended by the Institute of Medicine, and 22% of daily folic acid requirements.
Vitamins C and E
The consumption of parsnips increases the intake of antioxidant vitamins, such as vitamins C and E. These nutrients prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, dangerous compounds that contribute to heart disease and Cancer. Vitamin E helps produce red blood cells, cells necessary for a proper transport of oxygen, while vitamin C contributes to the production of collagen necessary for the health of connective tissues. A serving of a cup of parsnips contains 23 milligrams of vitamin C, 26% and 31% of the recommended daily intakes for men and women respectively, according to the Institute of Medicine. A serving of a cup of parsnips also provides 2 milligrams of vitamin E, 13% of the recommended daily value.
Vitamin K and manganese
Parsnips offer additional benefits thanks to their manganese and vitamin K content. Both nutrients play an important role in bone health. Manganese helps produce sex hormones, while vitamin K is essential for blood clotting. Each serving of 1 cup of parsnips increases the consumption of vitamin K by 30 micrograms and provides 24% of the recommended daily intake for men and 33% for women, as established by the consumption guidelines published by the Institute of Medicine. Parsnips also contain 0.75 milligrams of manganese per cup, 42% and 33% of the recommended daily intakes for women and men respectively.
How to increase the consumption of parsnips
The rich texture of the parsnips allows you to roast them.Combine them with other tubers, such as carrots, beets and sweet potatoes, season them with fresh rosemary and season them until tender. Or, you can use the parsnips to add consistency and nutritional value to your favorite soups and stews, or steam them together with chopped carrots and turnips in order to prepare a nutritious purée that can replace that of potatoes. Parsnips are also suitable for preparing hearty salads for the colder months, try combining wheat grains, roasted and chopped parsnips, sugar-free dried cranberries, fresh sage and a mustard and maple vinaigrette.