What Makes Root Vegetables So Powerful


I’ve always wondered why Mother Nature decided to grow some of her most powerful medicinal foods underground? With the exception of the pepper/chilli families, the spiciest foods I can think of like horseradish, garlic, ginger and onions all seem to develop underground. Well, I’ve found out that there are good reasons for this.

First, there’s obviously two parts to most plants (seaweeds and water plants aren’t included in this article). The above ground stem system (stem, branches, leaves, fruit) otherwise known as the aerial system, and then there’s the root system, the below ground system.

The two very different worlds which these plant parts exist in has a lot to do with how and what they produce. The stem system is negatively hydrotropic, which means it moves away from water, while the root system is positively hydrotropic, it moves towards water. And the stem system is also negatively geotropic, which means it is growing up against the force of gravity, while the roots are positively geotropic, they are growing down with gravity.

This article is not meant as a biology lesson, and I know there are various different root types, with different purposes, but in the interest of keeping it short, I’m grouping them all together. Roots and root vegetables come in amazing different shapes, colors and sizes. Carrots and beets for example come in many different colors and sizes, and contain essential nutrients like beta-carotene, B-complex vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Because the roots have access to water and are not fighting gravity, they become the perfect storage system for the plant. They also have direct contact with the soil, allowing for strong nutrient intake. The roots also don’t bear buds, leaves or fruit, so their energy is focussed on gathering nutrients and converting them into food for the plant, while also spreading out and holding the plant firmly in the ground.

While there are quite a few more scientific reasons why roots are so powerful, I recommend trying to incorporate as many varieties in your daily regiment as possible! Not only are they extremely nutritious, they are also delicious!

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(c) Alex Du Toit 2018. All Rights Reserved.