What are the health benefits of root vegetables?

A large ongoing Europe-wide study examining the links between diet, cancer and other diseases, found that people who ate the most root vegetables had a 13% lower risk of diabetes compared with those who ate the least.

That’s no surprise. They’re a great source of healthy carbohydrates, which experts say should make up 50% of our nutrient intake, plus gut-friendly fiber and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory vitamins, minerals and nutrients all in the form in which we can absorb them best: in food.

Health Benefits of Root Vegetables Like Sweet Potatoes

We’ve heard that root vegetables are healthy. But, what are the health benefits of root vegetables?

Sweet potatoes are vibrant and delicious root vegetables that are highly nutritious and jam-packed with health benefits.

They’re rich in fiber, vitamin C, manganese and vitamin A and a good source of several antioxidants — including beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid and anthocyanins.

A review of three studies showed that eating 4 grams of white sweet potato extract each day for 12 weeks improved blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

Due to their vitamin A content, some studies suggest that this root vegetable may also improve immune function, protect against vision loss and support skin health.

Sweet potatoes can be baked, boiled, roasted or sautéed and enjoyed as a delicious side dish or added to everything from sandwiches to salads to breakfast bowls.

Here’s a healthy sweet potato recipe to try.

Spiced Sweet Potato Cakes

This recipe uses sweet potatoes. But you have other options as well. Try butternut squash or carrots. This recipe also works well with a combination of all three. You can substitute 1 tsp. chili powder or curry powder for the paprika and coriander.

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients (Serves 4)

  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups grated sweet potato or yam
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. hot or smoked paprika
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander or cumin
  • 2 Tbs. + 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Place a large rimmed baking pan in the oven and heat to 275°F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Stir in the sweet potato and onion.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, salt, and spices. Stir into the sweet potato mixture. Mix well to evenly coat the vegetables.
  4. In a large nonstick pan, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat until shimmering. Form 6 pancakes by scooping 1/3 cup of the mixture per pancake into the pan.
  5. Cook until well browned, 3-5 minutes. Gently flip and cook until well browned on the other side, about 3-5 minutes more. Remove from the pan and keep warm in the oven.
  6. Wipe out the pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 Tbs. of oil and the remaining sweet potato mixture to form 6 more pancakes.

Per serving (3 pancakes):

  • Calories: 340
  • Total fat: 16 g
  • Carbs: 42 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Added sugar: 0 g
  • Protein: 7 g

Click here to read full recipes and learn about the health benefits of root vegetables.