The favorite root vegetable of Roman Emperor Tiberius, skirret was also a popular offering on tables during the Tudor period. Sweet, dainty, and delicate, this veggie was beloved by many a taste bud throughout history, but as industry and progress altered the agricultural world, farmers found the low yield of skirret was simply not commercially viable. Instead, farmers opted for similar but higher-yield root vegetables like parsnips and potatoes. Because of the health benefits of skirret, many home gardeners have taken to planting this delicacy once again.
Most gardeners and farmers grow skirret for its roots. Its name comes from an old English word that means “white root.” The Germans refer to it as “sugar root.” Skirret is traditionally boiled and served much like carrots or parsnips, cut into long strips. Some of the roots contain a woody core that cooks should remove during preparation. Skirret boasts a sweet taste and aromatic fragrance.
Skirret is rich in healthful antioxidants, which the body uses to help combat free radicals, oxidized molecules that are the harbingers of disease. Normal cellular processes can cause free radicals, but their numbers increase because of pollution, smoking, and other detrimental practices. A diet rich in antioxidants helps keep the body healthy.
Women who are or are trying to get pregnant should be sure to eat a diet rich in folate. This B vitamin is essential for preventing neural tube defects in developing babies and ensures that the brain and spinal cord form properly. When women suffer from folate deficiencies, the developing infants are at increased risk for health conditions like spina bifida. Skirret is rich in folate, making it a good choice for pregnant women or anyone else who wants to get enough of this important nutrient.
Historically, folk medicine practitioners advised people to eat skirret to soothe bouts of indigestion. Eating it may ease related conditions like bloating or constipation. Some people find that it helps treat complaints like loss of appetite, too. Adding skirret to spicy stir fry dishes might even prevent heartburn.
Vitamin A plays an important role in vision health, and skirret is a good source of this nutrient. The vitamin is important for supporting the outer membrane and surface of the eye and helping guard against viruses and bacteria. Studies show vitamin A can help reduce dry eyes while protecting the cornea. When working together with other nutrients, vitamin A can also reduce vision loss.
As a rich source of vitamin C, skirret offers anti-aging benefits. The skin, in particular, benefits from vitamin C. This nutrient supports collagen production, which ensures skin retains or regains its healthful—and youthful—elasticity. With ample collagen production, the skin looks and feels more supple and is less prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C can also help the skin appear more uniform in color and less prone to patches of discoloration, a common occurrence that comes with age.
The natural sugars contained in skirret can give the body a physical and mental energy boost. Additionally, skirret is rich in B vitamins like niacin and riboflavin. These nutrients help the body convert carbohydrates into energy-giving fuel. The body’s cells require this fuel for their various processes.
Skirret contains zinc, a nutrient that offers both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Many diseases stem from increased inflammation, which also causes pain. Individuals with conditions like arthritis can benefit from adding anti-inflammatory foods like skirret to their weekly diet. Zinc can also help reduce the length of time infections like the common cold affect the body.
Since at least the 16th century, folk medicine practitioners have advised adding skirret to the diet to promote urination as the primary means to rid the body of toxins. An over-concentration of urine is not good for the bladder or kidneys. Promoting a healthy amount of urination helps eliminate toxins and potentially harmful pathogens from sticking around inside the body too long.
Skirret is a good source of vitamin E, which nourishes the hair and scalp. Vitamin E has powerful antioxidant properties that reduce the presence of free radicals. By maintaining healthy cells in the hair and scalp, hair appears healthier and is less prone to dryness and breaking. There is some evidence that vitamin E encourages healthy shine and may even help reduce hair loss.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.