Parsnips are a staple part of Christmas dinner for most of us, but should we eat them more often and are they good for us?

The answer is yes – with caveats! Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to carrots, and contain high amounts of potassium. This is an important mineral for cardiovascular health, but some people on blood pressure medications or those with kidney disease who are on a low potassium diet should give parsnips a miss.

As well as potassium, parsnips contain antioxidants that can help support the immune system – ideal at this time of year when so many people have colds.

Parsnips contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, which can help relieve constipation and lower cholesterol. They also have a glycemic load of 4 (under 10 is good) which means that they won’t raise your blood sugar excessively, but you do have to be careful how you cook them. Many Christmas recipes suggest roasting them in honey or maple syrup, which will dramatically effect the glycemic impact!

Our suggestion is to make parsnip soups or add them to stews. It goes really well with Asian spices such as cumin.  They can also be boiled or roasted in a little olive oil – leaving the skin on retains more of the fibre and goodness, but make sure you scrub them well first.