Parsnips, Pastinaca sativa, are a root vegetable in the Apaiaceae family. They have white or cream-colored flesh and a sweet, slightly nutty flavor. Parsnips originated in the Mediterranean region and spread around the world. They were domesticated early in agricultural history and became a staple food. The benefits of parsnips include dense nutrient content and hardiness. They grow almost anywhere agriculture is possible, and have a long growing season. Planting before winter enhances their sweet flavor.
Many of parsnip's digestive and cardiovascular health benefits are due to the root's high fiber content. Dietary fiber reduces the risk of diverticulitis and helps prevent constipation or diarrhea. Most fiber in parsnips is soluble. This type of fiber dissolves in water, to a limited extent, but it is not absorbed during digestion. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol particles and carries those particles out of the body. It can help reduce cholesterol levels and lower the risk of heart disease.
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