Defined as an edible plant that grows underground, potatoes, carrots and onions are a few common examples that most are familiar with.
However, there are many other types—each with a distinct set of nutrients and health benefits.
Here are the 13 healthiest root vegetables to add to your diet.
Onions are popular root vegetables, serving as a staple ingredient in many cuisines.
They're high in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants (1).
Research shows that eating onions may be associated with a wide array of health benefits.
For instance, one study found that eating 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw onions per day significantly reduced blood sugar levels in people with diabetes (4).
What's more, other research observed that onions may possess powerful anticancer properties, with observational studies linking a higher intake of this root vegetable to a lower risk of common types of cancer (5, 6).
Onions work well in a variety of meals and can easily be added to salads, soups, scrambled eggs, casseroles, rice or pasta dishes and many more.
Onions are high in antioxidants and may help reduce blood sugar levels and your risk of certain cancers.
2. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are vibrant and delicious root vegetables that are highly nutritious and jam-packed with health benefits.
Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, roasted or sautéed and enjoyed as a delicious side dish or added to everything from sandwiches to salads to breakfast bowls.
Sweet potatoes may help improve blood sugar control and are high in vitamin A, which may preserve vision and improve immunity and skin health.
Turnips are a delicious root vegetable and have been cultivated for centuries.
They have an impressive nutrient profile, being a great source of vitamin C, fiber, manganese and potassium (14).
Adding vitamin C to your diet can help boost your immunity, with one study noting that getting enough of this vitamin could help reduce symptoms and shorten the severity of respiratory infections, such as the common cold (15).
Turnips can be swapped into nearly any recipe in place of potatoes. Try making turnip fries, coleslaw, stir-fry or salad.
Turnips are high in immune-boosting vitamin C and considered a root as well as cruciferous vegetable. Eating it may be associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer.
Ginger is a flowering plant from China that is closely related to other root vegetables like turmeric.
It's loaded with antioxidants, including a specific compound called gingerol, which has been associated with a long list of health benefits (20).
Ginger makes a great addition to tea, soups, smoothies and stews and can bring a zesty zing to just about any dish.
Ginger is rich in antioxidants and can help reduce nausea and decrease pain and inflammation.
Beets are one of the most nutritious root vegetables available, packing a good amount of fiber, folate and manganese into each serving (25).
They're also high in nitrates, which are beneficial plant compounds that can help dilate your blood vessels, potentially lowering blood pressure and improving heart health (26).
To take advantage of the unique health benefits of beets, try roasting, juicing, pickling, boiling or steaming this delicious root vegetable.
Beets are a good source of nitrates and may improve exercise performance, increase blood flow and decrease the growth of cancer cells—according to human and animal studies.
Garlic is a root vegetable that belongs to the Allium genus and is closely related to onions, leeks, chives and shallots.
Plus, it's well-known for its medicinal properties, which are mostly attributed to the compound allicin, which is released when cloves of garlic are crushed, chewed or chopped (33).
Best of all, garlic is highly versatile and can be used to amplify the flavor of your favorite savory soups, sauces, side dishes and main courses.
Garlic has potent medicinal properties due to the compound allicin. It may help improve your immunity, reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Radishes may be small, but they manage to pack a punch when it comes to nutrition.
Not only that, but one rat study found that the leaves of the radish plant may protect against stomach ulcers (42).
Radishes are great for bringing a bit of crunch to your meals or snacks. Try adding slices to slaws, sandwiches, salads or tacos to give your dish a nutritious and tasty upgrade.
Radishes contain a good amount of fiber and vitamin C. They may also have antifungal properties and could protect against stomach ulcers, according to animal and test-tube studies.
Known for its licorice-like flavor, fennel is a flowering plant species closely related to carrots.
In addition to supplying very few calories per serving, fennel packs fiber, vitamin C, potassium and manganese (43).
It also contains the compound anethole, which gives fennel its distinct flavor, aroma and a wide array of health benefits.
Fennel can be enjoyed fresh, roasted or sautéed, as well as mixed into salads, soups, sauces and pasta dishes.
Fennel contains the compound anethole, which has been shown to reduce blood sugar and block the growth of bacteria in test-tube and animal studies.
As one of the most well-known root vegetables, carrots also top the charts as one of the most nutritious.
Other research shows that a higher intake of carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, may be associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including breast, prostate and stomach cancer (51, 52, 53).
Carrots make a great snack when eaten raw or dipped in hummus, but they can also be cooked and used in stir-fries, stews or side dishes.
Carrots are high in beta-carotene, which may be tied to a lower risk of vision problems and certain types of cancer. Eating carrots has also been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved antioxidant status.
Also known as celery root, celeriac is a highly versatile and delicious root vegetable that's easy to cook and enjoy.
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient, necessary for proper blood clotting (57).
It's also needed for the function of osteocalcin, a protein hormone that is key for your bone health (58).
Celeriac has a nutty taste and crunchy texture that works especially well in salads. It can also be boiled, roasted, baked or mashed and used in place of potatoes in nearly any recipe.
Celeriac is a nutrient-rich root vegetable that's high in vitamin K, a vitamin that is necessary for blood clotting and bone health.
Turmeric is a type of root vegetable that belongs to the same plant family as ginger and cardamom.
The rhizomes, or root, of the plant are often ground into a spice, which is used to add a splash of color, flavor and health benefits to many dishes.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to prevent blood clot formation, lower cholesterol levels and reduce markers of inflammation in both test-tube and animal studies (59, 60, 61).
Turmeric is widely available as a spice and can be added to both savory and sweet recipes, as well as drinks, such as golden turmeric milk.
To reap its benefits, be sure to pair turmeric with black pepper, as the latter contains a compound that can significantly boost the absorption of curcumin in your gut (65).
Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that has been associated with a long list of benefits, including improved joint pain, blood sugar levels and symptoms of depression.
They're also very nutritious, packing a good chunk of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese (68).
Steer clear of fried potatoes or processed potato products, which are often high in fat, salt and calories yet lacking in nutrition. Instead, select baked, boiled or steamed potatoes to get the most nutrients.
Potatoes pack many nutrients and are high in resistant starch. They're also very filling, which may promote weight loss.
Rutabagas are root vegetables that belong to the mustard family and are commonly cultivated for their edible leaves and roots.
They also provide glucosinolates, sulfur-containing compounds that are commonly found in cruciferous vegetables that may help protect against cancer cell development and growth and prevent oxidative stress (76, 77).
Rutabaga can be mashed, baked or roasted and enjoyed in soups, salads, noodles and even desserts.
Rutabagas are high in fiber and glucosinolates, which may help protect against cancer and prevent oxidative stress.
The Bottom Line
Plenty of nutritious and delicious root vegetables exist—each with a unique set of health benefits.
From reducing oxidative stress to preventing chronic disease, adding a serving or two of root vegetables to your daily diet can be incredibly beneficial.
For best results, combine these tasty root vegetables with a variety of other nutrient-rich ingredients to help optimize your diet and your health.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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By Eoin Higgins
Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.
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By Joni Sweet
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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