Other Names of Parsnip: Pastinaca sativa

Useful Parts of the Plant: Roots

The parsnip plant has a thick fleshy root that is whitish or yellowish in color. The pulp of the root is succulent and flavorful and can be used in a multitude of dishes. Parsnip is native to the Mediterranean and is cultivated in much the same way as carrots i.e. the entire plant is pulled out with the roots. Parsnips are in facts members of the carrot family though they contain higher levels of health promoting vitamins and potassium than carrots.

When choosing parsnips look for tubers that are firm to touch and even colored. They stay fresh for four to five days if stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Nutritional Information and Properties

Parsnips are extremely high in soluble fiber that is responsible for lowering cholesterol levels and maintaining blood sugar balance. As a rich source of vitamin B and folic acid, parsnips can help reduce birth defects if eaten during pregnancy. Parsnips contain a high starch and sugar content. This makes them sweet to taste. In fact, parsnips were often used in sweet dishes during Elizabethan times. Parsnips also provide the body with potassium, manganese, niacin, thiamin, and some amounts of vitamin E. Parsnips are a low calorie (75 calories per 100 grams) addition to any meal and chock full of nutrients and minerals that can both improve health and combat a variety of diseases.

As with other members of the carrot family such as celery and parsley, parsnips are also rich in phytonutrients that may prevent certain types of cancers.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

  • Eating parsnips regularly can treat a variety of health problems and conditions such as asthma, arthritis, pneumonia, ulcers, hay fever, and kidney damage.
  • It is recommended that you eat parsnips if you are on a weight loss program or want to reduce cellulite. Parsnips are an amazing fat burning food.
  • Parsnip can boost immunity and aid healing and recovery during the convalescence period after an illness.
  • Eating parsnips can stimulate growth in children.
  • The soluble fiber in parsnips is responsible for regulating blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol.
  • Pregnant women are encouraged to eat parsnips due to their high folate content. Folic acid also helps combat dementia and osteoporosis.
  • The anti-inflammatory properties of parsnips improve respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and asthma. It also prevents swelling of the blood vessels that can lead to stroke and heart attack.
  • Just a cup of parsnips every day can meet 14% of your daily recommended intake of potassium. Potassium is essential for preventing stiff joints and swollen muscles as well as boosting energy levels.
  • The niacin and vitamin C in parsnips help to improve the digestive and nervous system.
  • Eating parsnips can reduce constipation by encouraging regular bowel movements and proper functioning of the liver.
  • Parsnips can improve oral health and prevent problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.
  • The antioxidant properties of parsnips can fight cancers by reducing the number of harmful free radicals in the body.
  • Parsnip tea can be drunk to promote elimination of toxins through urination. It works as an excellent diuretic and cleanse the system thoroughly. Mixing parsnip tea with equal quantities of barley water can also cure urinary tract infections.

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, care should be taken when handling parsnip plants. Reactions such as contact dermatitis or Oral Allergy Syndrome may develop as a result.

Other Uses

There are no other significant uses of parsnips.