Parsnips are a delicious type of root vegetable that has been cultivated and enjoyed around the world for thousands of years.
Closely related to other vegetables like carrots and parsley roots, parsnips have long, cream-colored tuberous roots with a sweet, slightly nutty flavor.
In addition to bringing a unique taste to your dishes, parsnips are incredibly nutritious and have been associated with many health benefits.
Here are 6 nutrition and health benefits of parsnips.
Parsnips are an excellent source of many important nutrients, packing a hearty dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals into each serving.
In particular, parsnips are a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, as well as several other important micronutrients.
One cup (133 grams) of parsnips provides the following ():
- Calories: 100
- Carbs: 24 grams
- Fiber: 6.5 grams
- Protein: 1.5 grams
- Fat: 0.5 grams
- Vitamin C: 25% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin K: 25% of the RDI
- Folate: 22% of the RDI
- Vitamin E: 13% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 10% of the RDI
- Thiamine: 10% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 8% of the RDI
- Zinc: 7% of the RDI
- Vitamin B6: 7% of the RDI
In addition to the nutrients listed above, parsnips contain a small amount of calcium, iron, and riboflavin.
Summary Parsnips are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate, as well as other important micronutrients.
In addition to being highly nutritious, parsnips also supply many antioxidants.
Antioxidants are health-promoting compounds that help prevent oxidative stress and decrease damage to your cells ().
Increasing your intake of antioxidants may also protect against chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease ().
In particular, parsnips are high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C) — a water-soluble vitamin that doubles as a powerful antioxidant ().
It also contains polyacetylenes, compounds that may have anticancer properties according to some test-tube studies (, ).
Summary Parsnips are high in antioxidants including vitamin C and polyacetylenes that may prevent oxidative stress and chronic conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Parsnips are a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
One cup (133 grams) contains 6.5 grams of this nutrient — or 26% of your daily fiber needs (1).
Fiber moves through your gastrointestinal tract undigested, helping to get things moving and optimizing digestive health.
In fact, increasing your fiber intake has been shown to aid in treating digestive conditions like gastroesophageal reflux disease, diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and intestinal ulcers ().
It may also promote regularity, with one review reporting that eating fiber increased stool frequency in people with constipation ().
What’s more, fiber has been shown to support blood sugar control, reduce cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and decrease markers of inflammation (, , ).
Summary Parsnips are high in fiber, which can support regularity, improve your digestive health, regulate blood sugar levels, and enhance heart health.
Low in calories yet rich in fiber, parsnips make an excellent addition to a healthy weight loss diet.
Fiber passes slowly through your digestive tract, helping to keep you feeling fuller for longer which may reduce your appetite and food intake ().
According to one review, increasing your daily fiber intake by 14 grams may decrease your calorie intake by up to 10% — leading to weight loss of 4 pounds (1.9 kg) in four months ().
One cup (133 grams) of parsnips has just 100 calories yet squeezes in 6.5 grams of fiber ().
This root vegetable also has a high water content of about 79.5% ().
Studies show that eating more water-rich foods may be associated with decreased calorie intake and increased weight loss (, ).
Summary Parsnips are low in calories but contain a good amount of water and fiber, both of which may benefit weight loss.
Parsnips are loaded with vitamin C, providing about 25% of your daily needs in just one serving (1).
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that plays a central role in immune function.
According to one review, getting enough vitamin C in your diet may help decrease symptoms and shorten the duration of the common cold and other respiratory tract infections (, ).
It may also aid in preventing and treating other conditions, such as pneumonia, malaria, and diarrhea infections ().
Plus, parsnips are high in disease-fighting antioxidants — such as quercetin, kaempferol, and apigenin — which may enhance your immunity and protect against infection as well (, ).
Summary Parsnips are high in vitamin C and antioxidants, both of which may enhance your immune function and optimize health.
Parsnips have a sweet taste similar to carrots, but with a nutty, earthy undertone.
They can be mashed, roasted, sautéed, boiled, baked, grilled, or fried and add a rich flavor to many dishes, working especially well in soups, stews, casseroles, gratins, and purees.
They can also be easily swapped in for nearly any other root vegetable in your favorite recipes, including carrots, potatoes, turnips, and rutabagas.
Here are a few interesting ways to add parsnips to your diet:
- Combine parsnips with mushrooms and lentils for a vegetarian shepherd’s pie.
- Mash parsnips and mix with lemon and herbs.
- Prepare a parsnip gratin with ingredients like feta, turmeric, and cumin.
- Bake sliced parsnips in the oven to make vegetable crisps.
- Toss with olive oil and spices and roast alongside carrots.
Summary Parsnips can be prepared in many ways and used in soups, stews, casseroles, gratins, and purees.
Parsnips are a type of root vegetable, closely related to carrots and parsley root.
They’re rich in several important nutrients and antioxidants that may improve immunity, enhance digestive health, and aid weight loss.
Best of all, they’re easy to prepare and have a sweet, earthy taste that works well in a variety of recipes, making them a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet.