What's soft, slightly sweet, old-fashioned-sounding and brimming with goodness? Well, yes, that could describe your grandmother.
But it also describes winter's favorite root vegetables: sweet potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, and beets. They give you unconditional love, too, because they're loaded with heart-happy nutrition, whether you roast or puree them, make soups from them, or add them to casseroles.
Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber, which helps control bad LDL cholesterol levels. They also have antioxidant-polyphenols (beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid, and anthocyanins) that ease inflammation, helping protect your blood vessels from plaque buildup.
And how much immune-strengthening, heart-friendly vitamin A does 1 cup of baked sweet potatoes deliver? It's 769% of the recommended daily value.
Rutabagas belong to the mustard family and have a good supply of heart-helpful potassium, vitamin C, and fiber as well as manganese, which is involved in healthy blood clotting.
Turnips also have plenty of heart-healthy vitamin C, fiber, manganese, and potassium. And they provide blood-vessel dilating nitrates that help lower blood pressure.
Beets are one of the most healthful root vegetables. Loaded with nitrates that dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure, and boost heart health, a serving also has 17% of the daily value for folate and 13% for manganese. One study even found that they increase blood flow to the brain.
So put these root veggies front and center on your wintertime dinner plates. Choose olive oil for roasting and pureeing.