August 14th, 2018

From Our Table: Root veggies can keep you rooted in health

By Medicine Hat News on September 12, 2017.

Vegetables contain many nutritional benefits and help contribute to a healthy and well balanced diet. --Metro Image

Gardening time is getting closer to an end. So many delicious fresh fruits and veggies have come our way over the past few months and there’s still some to come.

There are a bounty of benefits from enjoying a variety of vegetables in a healthy well balanced diet. Not only are there many nutritional benefits their bright beautiful colours add both beauty and sensory appeal to our plate.

So far this summer we’ve had the opportunity to enjoy the following veggies and here is a quick summary of their secret to success.

Greens (romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, dandelion greens etc.)

* The deeper the green the more nutrients that are in them

* Rich in beta-carotene, fibre, calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin K

* Lots of folic acid which reduces the risk of heart disease and neural tube birth defects

* Spinach is high in lutein which slows macular degeneration of the eye

Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, turnips, etc.)

* These have carotenoids which are proven to contain cancer preventative compound found especially in deep green and red varieties

* Rich in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, vitamin K, fibre

* Contain indole which is shown to lower cholesterol levels and protect against cancer, especially breast cancer

Peppers (sweet bell peppers and hot peppers)

* Lots of vitamin A and vitamin C, minerals, fibre

* Red and green peppers contain carotenoids

* Hot peppers contain capsaicin — lowers cholesterol, etc.

* In general the riper (redder) varieties are higher in nutrients than the unripe (greener) varieties.

Squash (zucchini, yellow, acorn, spaghetti, butternut, pumpkin)

* Deep yellow and orange varieties like pumpkin, butternut, and acorn squash are rich in carotenoids.

* Rich in potassium, B-vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, fibre, and carbohydrates.

* Delicious! Spaghetti squash is one of my very favourites!

Now come the root-a-toot-toot veggies. Some of these may have been harvested but many may still be in the garden. Wherever they are they are just waiting to be enjoyed in a variety of delicious dishes throughout the next few weeks.

Root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, turnips, parsnips etc.)

* Full of fibre, potassium, vitamin C and carbohydrates

* Orange, yellow, and red roots have high concentrations of beta carotene and other antioxidants associated with a decrease in cancer and heart disease.

Allium vegetables (onion, garlic)

* organosulfur compounds (allylic sulfides) inhibit blood clotting, reduce blood cholesterol levels, and lower the risk of some cancers.

* Rich in vitamin C, potassium, and trace minerals.

Enjoy this beautiful summer weather while it lasts while you also take in as many mouthwatering fresh garden vegetables as you possibly can.

Thank you to Andrea Holwegner, RD, and her Calgary based business Health Stand Nutrition.

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Root Veggie Medley

2 large beets peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

2 parsnips peeled and sliced about 1-inch thick

3 carrots scrubbed well and sliced about 1-inch thick

6-8 small potatoes scrubbed well but not peeled about 2 inches big or larger potatoes cut into 2-inch chunks

1 large or 2 smaller onions cut into 1-inch cubes

2 Tbsp olive oil

1tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme

1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Place the beets on a quarter of the baking sheet. Place the parsnips, carrots, potatoes and onions on the other side of the beets (this will keep the beets from staining the other vegetables). Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder, onion salt and pepper, and fresh rosemary and thyme. Gently toss the vegetables to coat and spread evenly on the pan. Roast until tender, about 35 minutes, turning midway through roasting. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Place the vegetables in serving dish and top with fresh parley.

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