8 Benefits of Parsnips, History, Precautions and More.

What is a parsnip? Well, it’s not a white carrot, although it looks a lot like one. Parsnips – as they are also mentioned – can be   root vegetables in the carrot family, but they are separate species. They have a nutty flavor and usually a size larger than carrots and the parsnip nutrition differs from the carrot nutrition. What about a wild parsnip? Wild parsnip is actually called a poisonous parsnip. You can have beautiful yellow flowers and grow along the roads, but do not go pick this wild vegetable because you could end up with  severe contact dermatitis.

However, the common parsnips that you can easily find at your local supermarket or at the farmers market are not something you miss, especially when they are in season. The parsnips are versatile and delicious, with an impressive variety of nutrients and health benefits. Let’s see exactly how parsnips can benefit your health, as well as some of the most delicious parsnip recipes (such as french fries) to get all the amazing things that accompany the parsnip’s nutrition.

What is a Parsnip? What is a Wild Parsnip?

Root vegetables are abundant and delicious, and they are loaded with nutrients. One of my favorite vegetables of all time is parsnips. What are parsnips? They are vegetables that have been grown and enjoyed since ancient times for their fleshy, edible and white roots, and parsnips (Pastinaca sativa) are actually a member of the carrot / parsley family (Apiaceae). Other members of the Apaiaceae family include carrots, fennel, dill, caraway, chervil, cumin and parsley. The parsnips are definitely very similar to carrots, but they have a creamy skin and are, in fact, different from carrots. So what is a wild parsnip or parsnip and how is it different from other parsnips? Wild parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is an invasive Eurasian weed with an edible root. However, its leaves, stems and flowers contain toxic sap that can cause severe burns. It is a much safer bet to buy your parsnips (root only) at the local market or at the grocery store to take advantage of the custard’s nutrition. If you decide to grow parsnips in your garden, be very careful with their stems and leaves, as they also contain dangerous skin sap like wild parsnip.

Benefits of Parsnip Nutrition:

Among the nutritional benefits of parsnip or parsnip we have:

1. Improves Eye Health:

With its impressively high vitamin C content, parsnips are a root vegetable that can help improve eye health, specifically a common problem that many  experience later in life:  macular degeneration. People over 60 tend to experience this degenerative eye problem more frequently, but that does not mean that you should wait until your last decades to establish a diet that helps maintain optimal eye health. Research published in 2016 showed how people who develop age-related macular degeneration tend to have a lower intake of vitamin C, as well as other key nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, beta-carotene, vitamin E, zinc and vitamin D.

“Vitamin C appears again and again in scientific studies that involve the causes and prevention of macular degeneration”.

The consumption of parsnip is an excellent natural way to increase vitamin C levels, since its high vitamin C content is a staple of parsnip nutrition.

2. Improves Digestive Function and Prevents Constipation:

As a vegetable, and more specifically as a root vegetable, parsnips come with a significant dose of fiber. You probably already know that one of the key ways to keep your digestive system in good condition is to have regular bowel movements. A wide intake of fiber is one of the main ways in which you can avoid or relieve constipation and keep things moving. In the United States, it is very common for people not to consume enough fiber in their diets. To avoid being among those deficient in fiber, you can increase your intake of fiber-rich foods such   as parsnips, which probably helps improve your overall digestive health.

3. It can Prevent Birth Defects (as well as Gum Disease and More!)

It is not usual to have a   folate deficiency, which is also known as folic acid or vitamin B9. Folate is what is naturally obtained from food, while folic acid is technically an artificial version of this key nutrient. Good news: Only half a cup of parsnips provide approximately 11 percent of the daily folate requirements of most people. Folate is extremely important for human health. It is also especially essential for pregnant mothers and their developing babies. Research has shown that pregnant women need a higher intake of folate to decrease the likelihood of having children with birth defects of the neural tube, such as cleft palate, spina bifida and brain damage. While supplementation is usually necessary for women to meet their requirements before conception and during their pregnancies, parsnip nutrition offers a natural way to increase dietary folate intake. However, folate is not only for women or pregnant women. Being low in folic acid or folic acid is also known to cause:

  • Gingivitis (gum disease)
  • Poor growth
  • Swelling of the tongue
  • Short of breath
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • I forget
  • Mental slowness
  • Irritability

4. Help to the Health of the Heart (and General):

The parsnip nutrition is not only rich in heart-healthy fiber, but also contains other nutrients such as vitamin C and folate that are known to positively affect your ticker to help prevent heart disease. It is believed that the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet is to turn your next meal into a kind of rainbow. It is definitely good advice and, to be more specific, it means that you should fill your plate with fruits and vegetables of five different color groups: red and pink, blue and purple, yellow and orange, green and, last but not least . White and brown. Not surprisingly, parsnips have two colors on the list, such as white and brown. So, for the sake of your heart and your overall health, including parsnips in an already healthy diet can help you cover all your bases in terms of vitamins, minerals and nutrients.

5. Supports the Production of Enzymes and Bone Health:

Manganese is a key component of many enzymes in the body. What kind of enzymes? Enzymes that affect digestive health, antioxidant function and wound healing, just to name a few. Bone health also tops this list, since manganese is a cofactor (“auxiliary molecule”) of glycosyltransferases, which are enzymes that are needed for healthy production of cartilage and bone. Without enough dietary manganese, weak bones and other skeletal problems become a concern. Women with osteoporosis have actually been shown to have lower levels of manganese in their bodies. Fortunately, a good dose of manganese is part of the nutrition of parsnip, which can help both the production of enzymes and bone health.

Nutritional Data of Parsnip:

The powerful parsnip root appears on my shopping list of healing foods for a good reason: it is full of nutrition.

A half cup of cooked parsnips slices contains approximately:

  • 55 calories
  • 3 grams of carbohydrates
  • 1 gram of protein
  • 8 grams of fiber
  • 1 milligrams of vitamin C (17 percent DV)
  • 2 micrograms folate (11 percent DV)
  • 2 milligrams of manganese (11 percent DV)
  • 286 milligrams of potassium (8 percent DV)
  • 6 milligrams of magnesium (6 percent DV)
  • 5 milligram pantothenic acid (5 percent DV)
  • 8 milligrams phosphorus (5 percent DV)
  • milligram of copper (5 percent DV)
  • 8 milligrams of vitamin E (4 percent DV)
  • milligram of vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
  • milligram of thiamine (4 percent DV)
  • 6 milligrams of niacin (3 percent DV)
  • 9 milligrams of calcium (3 percent DV)
  • 5 milligram iron (3 percent DV)
  • 3 micrograms of selenium (2 percent DV)

How to Use and Cook Parsnips?

The parsnips have a pale yellow, creamy or ivory skin with a shape that can be described as a lumpier or heavier carrot. When choosing parsnips, always look for those that are firm, dry and, ideally, without stains. In terms of size, small and medium seems to offer the best flavor profile. Parsnips are root vegetables that are not hard to find in the grocery store throughout the year, but are at their peak between fall and spring. Store fresh parsnips by wrapping them in a paper towel and putting them in a sealed bag or container. Do not wash them until you are ready to use them. You can also store them without packaging. Either way, they should do well in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for about two weeks when stored in this way. Before using a parsnip, you must peel it and cut the top and bottom (like a carrot). Then you can cut it as you prefer. When it comes to cooking parsnips, you have many different options. They can be cooked and used in a similar way to carrots. Parsnips can be eaten raw, but they are sweeter and more shocking when cooked. They can be baked, roasted, boiled or steamed. Once cooked, you can also mash the parsnips in a mash similar to mashed potatoes.

When included in any dish, parsnips add a distinct earthy richness and really increase the flavor factor. The parsnips are excellent cooked in soups, stews and stews. It is better to add parsnips to soups and stews for the last 30 minutes so that they can better preserve their flavor and texture. Parsnips can also be grated and eaten raw in salads.

History and Interesting Facts About Parsnip Nutrition:

In 1753, Carolus Linnaeus first described the parsnips in his «Species Plantarum». It is suspected that European settlers brought wild parsnip to North America by European settlers. At that time, it was cultivated for its edible root. However, since then, wild parsnip has escaped from the gardens and has made its way to roads and other places where it grows wild. You can find wild parsnip throughout the North American continent from north to south and from east to west. Parsnips are closely related to carrots and parsley. Sometimes parsnips are confused with parsley root. How can you tell the difference? You will usually find that parsley root is sold in the grocery store with greens still attached, while parsnips are sold only with the root. Apparently, many people used to consume parsnips to improve   toothache and tired and sore feet.

Possible Side Effects and Caution with Parsnip Nutrition:

Wild parsnips have an edible root, but their leaves and stems are highly toxic. That is why wild parsnip is also called poisonous parsnip. Wild parsnip produces a sap that contains chemicals that can cause human skin to react to sunlight, resulting in severe burns, rashes or blisters (phytophotodermatitis). Wild parsnips are most often found in open areas such as roadsides, pastures and fields. They have yellowish-green flowers that appear in umbrella-shaped groups in June and July. I strongly recommend avoiding the consumption of wild parsnip root because you run the risk of contact with the juice of wild parsnip. When cattle consume wild parsnips, it is known to negatively affect their fertility and weight gain. It is possible to be allergic to parsnips. If you have   symptoms of food allergy after consuming parsnips, discontinue consumption and seek medical attention if necessary. If you are not used to eating fiber-rich foods, adding parsnips to your diet can cause gas, bloating and cramping at first due to the fiber content.

Final Thoughts on Parsnip Nutrition:

Now you definitely know the answer to “what are parsnips?” And how they can improve your health in many really meaningful ways. Also, the parsnips are really delicious. They are earthy, nutty and the perfect amount of sweet. When added to soups, stews and other dishes, they make the food much more satisfying and healthier. For example, parsnip nutrition benefits the health of the eyes, bones, heart and digestive health, in addition to parsnips can help with childbirth due to its folate content. If you have not tried parsnips to date, I suggest you give them a chance. However, if you see wild parsnips growing near your home, I recommend that you pass them because you do not want to risk serious skin repercussions. Fortunately, it is easy to find parsnips (only the safe and edible root) at the local market or at the supermarket.