Apiaceae family members like carrots, parsley, celery, cumin, dill, etc. Botanically, they belong to the Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) family, in the genus, Pastinaca.
Pastinaca sativa is a biennial cool season crop native to Mediterranean region. In the first year, it grows about 1-1.5 meter tall and bears underground taproots which are generally harvested after the first-frost of the season. If left undisturbed, the plant develops umbrella-shaped clusters of small yellow flowers, and seeds during the next season.
Its fleshy, stout roots appear as that of carrots, but are white or cream in color and sweeter than that of carrots. Adequate winter frost is essential for good crop production since it facilitates convertion of much of its starch into sugars and helps develop long, narrow, and firm parsnips. The roots generally harvested when they reach about six to ten inches in length, by pulling the entire plant along with its root (uprooting) as in carrots.
Health benefits of parsnips
Generally, parsnip contains more sugar than
turnips. It has calories (100 g provide 75
calories) comparable to that of some
fruits like banana,
Nonetheless, its sweet, juicy root is
rich in several health-benefiting phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals,
It is one of the excellent sources of soluble
and insoluble dietary
fiber. 100 g root provides 4.9 mg or 13% of fiber.
Adequate fiber in the diet helps reduce blood cholesterol levels,
obesity and constipation conditions.
As in carrots and other members of apiaceae
family vegetables, parsnip too contains many poly-acetylene
anti-oxidants such as falcarinol,
falcarindiol, panaxydiol, and methyl-falcarindiol.
Several research studies from scientists at
University of Newcastle at Tyne
found that these compounds have
anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer function and offer
protection from colon cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Fresh roots are also good in vitamin-C; provide
about 17 mg or 28% of RDA. Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble
anti-oxidant, easily available to us from
It helps the human body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and
Its anti-oxidant property helps protect from diseases and
scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.
Further, the root is rich in many B-complex
such as folic acid,
vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic
acid as well as vitamin K and vitamin E.
In addition, it also has healthy levels
minerals like iron, calcium, copper, potassium, manganese and
important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling
heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium.