Root vegetables are a wonderful part of the fall and winter seasons, and they end up on our tables in the form of breakfast, lunch and dinner…AND dessert. They are hearty and versatile which means you can juice them, eat them whole/raw or you can add them to soups and stews or you can bake them by themselves, or into something delicious and nutritious.

Root vegetables are high in fiber and are low in fat. They contain phytonutrients and antioxidants, which essentially help remove harmful free radicals and toxins from the body. And what follows is an introduction to a few of my favorites. There are at least 10 – 15 roots, tubers and taproots that are available this time of year, are packed with essential nutrients, and are absolutely delicious.

juicingrootsSome roots I prefer to eat raw in salads or by them selves like beets, carrots, daikon, radishes, artichokes, onions, garlic and fennel. You can shave, chop and juice them too, although you may want to work your way up to juiced garlic and onions. The others, you can use as toppings on your salad or make IT the salad. The colors will not only make your salad vibrant to the eye, but they also contain abundant sources of essential nutrients including antioxidants, betacarotene, Vitamins K, C, Calcium, Proteins and Amino Acids – giving your body a bit more nutritional vibrance on the inside!

The other 3-8 include sweet potatoes, potatoes, turnips (a raw foodie favorite), rutabaga, parsnips (another raw foodie favorite), and a plethora of winter squashes. As far as I know, squashes grow above ground and are “technically” fruits – because they have seeds. While many of these “other” beauties are used in cooked foods like soups, purees, stews, curries and desserts, many of them can still be consumed raw, chopped and/or marinated.

I hope you choose to try a few that are new to you, but always remember, talk to your physician before making any dietary changes.

Red Beets : These bulbous roots contain beta carotene, antioxidants and boron. The trace mineral boron is known to increases the level of sex hormones in men and women. So, get your groove, I mean your beet on! I love my beets juiced because they deliver alkaline minerals and just the right amount of zwitterions. Here’s one of my favorite beet juice recipes.

ginger_redGinger & Turmeric : Ginger contains an active compound called gingerol and turmeric contains high levels of an active compound called curcumin. Both have been studied for their effects on the endocrine system1 and both can be consumed raw, cooked or juiced and are known to have high anti-inflammatory properties. But the magic is in the synergy of these two because together they can positively affect the endocrine function and motivate the body’s “fire” energy to increase sex drive! Ooh, la la…

A great way to get these past the naysayers is with this delicious Orange Turmeric Juice recipe you can try at home.

Maca Root : This root vegetable is native to Peru and has been used as an aphrodisiac for centuries. It is considered to be a “superfood” and adaptogen (increases the body’s resistance to stress) and you can find it primarily in its dried form. Clinical research shows it increases libido and luckily for you, it can be easily added to your daily smoothie for a protein boost! I have used Maca successfully and without side effects for years, but figure out what works for you…the clinical research jury is still out on this one. But I did find this scientific review2.

As we approach the season of “love”, know that there are lots of reasons to love your roots in the kitchen, on the table, and in the garden, but the best reason to love your roots is because you love yourself. Eat clean, love you and take good care.

 

1. Physiological and therapeutical roles of ginger and turmeric on endocrine functions. Al-Suhaimi EAAl-Riziza NAAl-Essa RA2011

2. http://examine.com/supplements/Maca/

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January 26, 2014