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The Health Benefits of Root Vegetables

The Health Benefits of Root Vegetables

The Health Benefits of Root Vegetables

Winter is often associated with warming Root vegetables as many of these nutritious vegetables come into season just in time for the cooler months.  Root vegetables include potatoes, carrots, turnips, parsnip, beetroot, celeriac just to name a few.  These amazing vegetables have rich nutritional profile and offer numerous health benefits, particularly for peri-menopausal women. Incorporating root vegetables into your diet during perimenopause can provide many essential nutrients including fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. 

1. Rich in Essential Nutrients

Root vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants essential for maintaining health during perimenopause:

Carrots and Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, also known as pro-vitamin A and Vitamin C, as such they will support your skin and immune health. Vitamin C is used to build collagen.  Try grating Carrot into a salad.  

Potatoes, sweet potatoes beets, and turnips are excellent sources of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and maintain fluid balance.  

Beetroot is high in polyphenols and antioxidants which help to reduce inflammation.  They are also a good source of iron needed for oxygen transport around the body. Beetroot is delicious juiced with apple, celery and ginger all of which are great for cardiovascular health and will help your skin glow.

Some root vegetables are also rich in Calcium and Magnesium, so incorporating roots vegetables into your diet may also help protect your bones against osteoporosis

Fibre found in them helps to promote healthy digestion, prevent constipation, and help control blood sugar levels.  Fibre also helps to bind excess hormones in the digestive system, preventing them from re-entering circulation, which can be useful for fluctuating oestrogen levels.


2. Supports Hormonal Balance

Sweet Potatoes have been found to be source of phytoestrogens and as such may be useful in the prevention of some symptoms of perimenopause such as hot flushes. Phytoestrogens are plant compounds that can mimic estrogen in the body, helping to alleviate symptoms of estrogen decline.

A 2005 study replaced 2/3 of the participants staple food of rice with yam or sweet potato significantly improved biomarkers of menopausal women commonly associated with health conditions of menopause such as lipid profiles.  I always recommend eating a variety of foods.

Many women experience low energy, and low mood during perimenopause.  Root vegetables are rich source of B vitamins, which play an important role in hormone production and regulation, energy metabolism, and overall mood stabilization, 


3. Aids in Weight Management

Many women find that during perimenopause it becomes harder to lose weight, and what worked for them in the past no longer works.  This is partly due to a decline in estrogen and other hormones, and due to lower stress resilience.  Many women start to skip meals to cut calories, and this can be the worst possible thing to do, as it further drives the stress hormone cortisol causing visceral to fat to increase.  For many women including root vegetables into the diet may feel counterintuitive but they are low in calories and nutrient dense as discussed above, making them an excellent choice for weight management.  Because they are rich in fibre it leaves you feeling fuller for longer


4. Promotes Heart Health

Cardiovascular health should be a concern for all perimenopausal women due to decreasing hormone levels causing changes to cholesterol profiles which can increase the risk of heart disease:

Potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams are high in potassium and may help regulate blood pressure, reducing the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

They are also a rich source of Soluble fibre which helps lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, promoting heart health.


5. Enhances Digestive Health

Good digestive health is essential for nutrient absorption and overall well-being, especially during perimenopause:  It is now known that the gut microbiome also contains species which help with the metabolism of hormones such as estrogen in addition to all the other roles it known to control.

The high fibre content in root vegetables promotes regular bowel movements, preventing constipation and supports the all-important gut microbiome.  The fibre is metabolised by the gut microbiome to provide energy.

Some root vegetables, such as Jerusalem artichokes, contain prebiotics that feed beneficial gut bacteria, enhancing gut health and immunity.


So enjoy a variety of root vegetables in your diet this winter.   


Recipe:  Winter Root Vegetable Roast 


Posted on 9 June 2024
Author:Elemental Health
Tags:NutritionPreventative medicineGut healthMenopause

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