Root vs. Above-Ground Vegetables: What’s the Difference?

Fresh and healthy organic root vegetables on a rustic background

It’s no surprise that a diet filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables is an essential part of maximizing health. These plant-based ingredients are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and many other health-boosting compounds.

Above-Ground vs. Root Vegetables

Vegetables can grow both above-ground and below-ground, with different health benefits coming from the various types of vegetables. An above-ground vegetable is a plant with roots in the soil, and the leaves and vegetable harvest happen above the ground level. Examples of above-ground vegetables include:

  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Asparagus
  • Kale
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell peppers
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Green Beans

Edible plants, known as “root vegetables,” grow in the dirt. They have leafy green stems that stick up above the ground level, with the harvested vegetables being pulled out of the ground when it’s time to eat them. Pulling up a root vegetable from your garden is like uncovering a buried treasure!

Most root vegetables have edible bulbs that thrive under the soil's surface, with root networks that gather nutrients and water from the earth. Examples of root vegetables include:

  • Onion
  • Carrot
  • Radish
  • Potatoes (white, yellow, red, russet, etc.)
  • Sweet Potato
  • Turnip
  • Beet
  • Parsnip

Most root vegetables are harvested in the fall months, but modern farming and shipping make them available throughout the year.


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Health Benefits of Root Vegetables

Since root vegetables grow underground, they contain high levels of nutrition that is gained from the soil. These vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals, giving your body the vital building blocks needed to support overall health and wellness.

Research shows that root vegetables can play an influential role in protecting your health against various diseases, such as diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease, and more. The antioxidants and fiber in root vegetables help combat inflammation, which positively impacts overall health.

Many health conditions are associated with blood sugar issues, resulting from the Standard American Diet that includes a lot of refined carbohydrates. These unhealthy foods spike blood sugar and cause chronic inflammation – taking a toll on the body over time. On the other hand, root vegetables tend to be low on the glycemic index and cause less inflammatory issues than refined carbs and grains.

One of the benefits of root vegetables is that they can stay fresh for months if they are stored in the right conditions. For many years, people living in colder climates could harvest root vegetables in the fall, then have food to get through the harsh winter months by keeping root vegetables in the cellar.

Well-Balanced Diet to Optimize Health

Root vegetables can be an essential part of a well-balanced diet, helping you reduce inflammation, lose weight, and prevent disease. The antioxidant properties of root vegetables are powerful for combatting free radical activity in the body, offering protection on a cellular level.

Do you know how much healthy eating and a well-balanced lifestyle impacts your overall health? If you are overcoming illness and looking for ways to thrive, then Back On Track 2 Wellness offers the full-service solutions you need. Call for an appointment to learn more about how you can benefit from functional and lifestyle medicine: (916) 782-3141.

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The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.


Dr. Todd W. Bunning, DC, PC

Dr. Todd W. Bunning’s chiropractic and functional medicine services reach far beyond the local Roseville area, with webcam consultations available for patients in any location. With 17 years of Private Practice experience, Dr. Todd continues to focus on the individual: science-based methods to address whole-body health factors.

Dr. Todd’s education didn’t stop when he graduated from Life West Chiropractic College in 2003. Today, he’s continuing to receive training and is chipping away on numerous post-graduate degree programs. This unique blend of clinical health investigation and Lifestyle Medicine application helps people of all ages find the underlying factors that result in chronic disease.

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