by Andrea Purcell, ND
The vegetables found under the ground and the heartier ones above ground are packed with vitamins and minerals and perfect for grating, roasting, steaming & mashing this time of year.
The below ground varieties include: Beets, Sweet Potatoes, & Carrots
The above ground varieties include Kale, Brussels sprouts, & Winter squash.
Lets tackle the above grounders first:
Kale and Brussels Sprouts are in the same famous family known as cruciferous. This famous family of vegetables has gained A LOT of press for its anti-cancer benefits. In fact half of the studies on brussels sprouts revolve around its cancer fighting properties. They are high in Vitamin A, C and folic Acid.
Kale is a coarser green and many people have no idea how to prepare it. Once you figure it out you can enjoy one of the healthiest, nutrient greens on the planet. Kale has Vitamins A, C, B6, and minerals of calcium and iron. Did you know that when prepared properly we would get more calcium out of kale than spinach? When preparing cut off the stem part about 1.5 inches and then chop. Try sautéing in a bit of olive oil and water.
Winter Squash comes in a number of varieties, such a butternut, kombucha, and acorn; there are multi-striped varieties as well. The toughest thing about squash is the preparation, the peeling, de-seeding, and chopping. If you have a man, put him to use in this department. Otherwise I suggest cutting in half and placing open side down on a baking sheet and roasting in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool; the skin will be A LOT easier to remove. Once cooked squash can be mashed or added into soups. Any vegetables orange or yellow in color contain Beta-carotene, and vitamin C, these are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Winter squashes also contain B-vitamins, and folic acid.
Check out my latest You Tube cooking video on Sautéed Brussels and Kale, I also have one on making Kale chips. You can access my You Tube channel through the www.AskDrPurcell.com site.
Now for the below grounders:
Carrots and Sweet potatoes are little darlings of the culinary world because of their natural sweetness. In fact many people who don’t like vegetables will eat them. Due to their orange color and carotenoid content leading to anti-oxidant protection within the eye. They are high in Beta Carotene, which is converted inside our bodies to Vitamin A that helps boost the immune system, and protect our skin.
Beets are amazing grated fresh into salads, and roasted. Boiled beets are less appealing.
Beets are high in fiber and can assist with constipation. They are also high in iron and folic acid the two main causes of anemia. If you’re anemic eat your beets! They also contain choline, an important detoxifier for our livers. Beets can be roasted with sweet potatoes, or roasted and then added to chilled salads. Once cooked, beets can be marinated in any dressing and will absorb those flavors bringing a lot of sweet, tangy goodness to the table.