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Root Vegetables: How Do They Rate?

Root Vegetables: How Do They Rate?
November 20, 2009 Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

All vegetables are carbohydrates, but you’d be amazed to hear how much lower they are in carbohydrates than grain products.  Root vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, but some rank better than others in terms of calories, fiber and carbohydrate content.

Turnip: 1 cup   46 calories     8g carb      2g fiber   5g sugar     1g protein

*high in vitamin C, high balance of omega 3s.

Jicama: 1 cup   46 calories   11g carb   6g fiber    2g sugar     1g protein

*good source of vitamin C and fiber, some omega 3s and 6s

Rutabaga: 1 cup    50 calories   11g carb   4g fiber  8g sugar   2g protein

*good source fiber, high in vitamin C, good source potassium, high in omega 3s.

Parsnip: 1 cup   100 calories   24g carb   7g fiber  6g sugar     2g protein

*good source of fiber, high in vitamin C and vitamin K and folate, good source vitamin E, potassium, and magnesium

Yams:  1 cup     177 calories   42g carb     6g fiber  1g sugar     2g protein

*good source of vitamin C and fiber, some omega 3 and 6s but large uneven balance of omega 6s over omega 3s, high in potassium, can be higher in sugars if cooked with sugar, but naturally low sugar

Potatoes: 1 potato 164 cal   39g carb   5g fiber    2g sugar     4g protein

*good source fiber, very high in fiber, good source niacin, high in vitamin B6 and potassium, high unbalance omega 6s

In general, aim for root vegetables that are low in carbohydrates and high in fiber.  All of these carbohydrates have natural sugars, cooking the vegetables in sugar can increase the sugar content.  Vegetables are notorious for being low calorie, but some root vegetables are higher in calories than others.  Instead of eating your potato a day(which is high in carbs and calories), see if rutabagas, parsnips or other vegetables can be substituted.  Rutabaga is not a commonly heard of vegetable but located in the produce section with potatoes and turnips.  The rutabaga can be cooked just the same as a potato; mashed, baked, or cooked in stew.

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