The Healing Power of Parsnips
By Adrian Joele
Parsnips have a strong taste and with their pale skin, they look like carrots who have seen a ghost. But despite these characteristics, parsnips are full of healing power. They are excellent sources of folate, fiber, and phenolic acids, which have been shown to help block cancers.
One cup cooked parsnips contain almost 7 grams of fiber, which is 28 percent of the Daily Value. A little bit more than half of the fiber in parsnips is of the soluble type, which means that it becomes gel-like in the digestive system. This helps block the intestine from absorbing fats and cholesterol from foods. At the same time, it dilutes bile acids in the intestine, which can prevent them from causing cancer.
Parsnips also contain insoluble fiber, which speeds up the rate of which stools move through the intestine. This is important because the less time bile acids are present in the intestine, the less likely they are to damage cells, that could lead to cancer.
In a review of more than 200 scientific studies, researchers found that getting more dietary fiber can protect against a wide variety of cancers, such as cancer of the stomach, pancreas and colon cancer. Fiber has shown similarly impressive ability to relieve or prevent many other conditions as well. Researchers have found that getting enough fiber in the diet can help prevent hemorrhoids and other intestinal conditions. Fiber can also curb the blood sugar swings that occur with diabetes.
Parsnips are also a good source of the B vitamin folate. I cup of parsnips contain 91 micrograms of folate, which is 23 percent of the Daily Value. Folate prevents certain birth defects. It can also reduce the risk of heart attacks and stroke. Folate decreases blood levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that may cause the blockage of blood vessels.
Researchers in the Framingham Heart Study found that men who ate the most produce had a 59 percent lower stroke rate than those who ate the least.hat Even those who ate just a little more produce reaped substantial benefits. The study found that those who helped themselves to an extra three servings of fruits and vegetables a day lowered their risk of stroke by 22 percent.
Eating just a half cup of parsnip will provide not only fiber and folate, but also 280 milligrams of potassium, or 8 percent of the Daily Value for this mineral.
Parsnips, along with carrots, are members of the Umbelliferae family. Foods in this family contain a number of natural compounds called phytonutrients. You can read more about phytonutrients or phytochemicals in my article: “Phytochemicals compounds to cut cancer and heart risks”. They have been shown in laboratory studies to block the spread of cancer cells. Chief among these are compounds called phenolic acid. Phenolic acid attaches themselves to potential cancer-causing agents in the body, creating a bigger molecule – so big that the body can’t absorb it. Research has shown that members of the Umbelliferae family can also fight cancer by inhibiting tumor growth.
Parsnips take less time to cook than carrots. Buy them not bigger than 20 inches long. Large parsnips have a strong flavor that most people don’t like. Parsnips about 8 inches long are the tenderest. You can accentuate their sweetness by adding ginger, cinnamon, or nutmeg,
Keep the parsnips cool in the refrigerator to prevent them from drying out and losing some of their nutritional value. Some of the nutrients in parsnips are water-soluble and are quickly lost during cooking. They’re fragile in boiling water – “some of the vitamins float away,” according to Anne Dubner, R.D. a nutrition consultant in Houston.
Next time you go shopping, include some parsnips in your shopping trolley.
Article source: http://www.amazines.com