Parsnip: Vegetable with the Goodness of Nutrients

Parul Dube

July 12, 2022

Parsnip is a root vegetable similar to carrot and parsley and belongs to the flowering plant family Apiaceae. It is grown as an annual and biennial plant. It has a long taproot with cream-coloured skin and flesh left in the ground to mature; after winter frosts, it becomes sweeter in flavour.

Parsnip has a sweeter, liquorice-like taste with a bit of spice and sweetness, same as carrots, but with nuttiness. When cooked, they are sweeter than carrots. In fact, in Europe, people used parsnips to make sweeteners before sugarcane became widely available. Native to Eurasia, Romans have been cultivating it for ages. Like many root vegetables, farmers harvest parsnips from fall through spring. Interestingly, spring-harvested vegetables tend to be the sweetest because the starch converts to sugars during winter hibernation. 

Parsnips vs Turnips vs Carrots

The difference between parsnips and carrots has been confusing for hundreds of years. However, experts believe that the Romans were the first to cultivate parsnips, but they have been categorised as carrots, making their starting place a touch murky. Both parsnips and carrots come from the same plant families. However, the most significant difference is their taste. Parsnips have a sweeter, liquorice-like taste with a touch of spice rather than the carrot’s sweetness, similar to other types of iciness squash. 

People frequently compare turnips to parsnips. However, the two are from different families. Turnips come from the Brassicaceae family, consisting of cabbage and mustard vegetables. They have an extra round, squatty shape and a pinkish-red crown. In flavour, turnips have a more sour, highly spiced taste in preference to the sweetness of parsnips.

Nutritional Properties of Parsnip

As per USDA, 100 grams of parsnip serving contains:

  • Energy: 75 kcal
  • Protein: 1.2 g
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18 g
  • Fibre: 4.9 g

Vitamins and Minerals

  • Calcium: 36 mg
  • Magnesium: 29 mg
  • Phosphorus: 71 mg
  • Potassium: 375 mg
  • Sodium: 10 mg
  • Vitamin C: 17 mg
  • Vitamin K: 22.5 µg
  • Folate: 67 µg

Nutrition Facts

The glycemic index of parsnips is 52, and the glycemic load is 5. In addition, parsnips are naturally low in fat, with only 0.3 grams in a 1-cup serving. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids account for most fatty acids in parsnips.

Parsnips are rich in nutrients and minerals like vitamin K, C, folate, and antioxidants. As a result, it is healthy for your immune system, digestive health, and weight loss. In addition, potassium in parsnip aids in fluid balance in cells and tissues, blood pressure regulation, and immune system development.

Parsnip is low in calories and an excellent fibre source as it has more than double the fibre of turnips! Also, parsnip is cholesterol-free because of its unique nutrient distribution, making it a perfect choice for weight loss.

The HealthifyMe Note

Anyone seeking to lose weight or follow a low-cholesterol diet can incorporate it into their diet. Parsnips are a naturally low-fat, cholesterol-free vegetable high in magnesium, potassium, calcium, iron, vitamin C, E, K, folate, and other critical micronutrients, making them a valuable source of vitamins and minerals for a healthy lifestyle.

Health Benefits of Parsnip

Parsnip has a rich nutrient profile. Therefore, the health benefits are innumerable. It is rich in fibre and an abundant source of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. As a result, parsnip can help you reduce cholesterol levels and lower heart disease chances.

The fibre content in parsnip is very high and aids in digestion. It strengthens the bones and prevents bone damage. Parsnip increases the healing power of the human body and boosts immunity. Here are some of the significant benefits of parsnip.

Healthy for Your Bones

Parsnips contain a good quantity of magnesium and calcium, two crucial minerals for bone improvement. In addition, it contains phosphorus and manganese. Research suggests that calcium and phosphorus are essential vitamins for healthy bones. They enhance bone density and prevent fractures by strengthening your bone structure. Parsnip may also reduce the risk of diseases like osteoporosis. Furthermore, studies also prove magnesium’s positive role in the structural formation of bone, and parsnips are a sensible desire for bone health.

Improves Heart Health 

Parsnip is rich in potassium. By regulating muscular contraction in the coronary heart, potassium helps easy blood flow through the arteries and controls heart rate and blood pressure. 

High LDL (bad cholesterol) is responsible for cardiovascular illnesses, including heart attack, stroke and many more. Research shows that parsnips’ nutritional fibre reduces cholesterol because fibre binds with cholesterol and helps flush it out of the body.  Additionally, studies state that parsnips provide vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, and folate, which extensively reduces the danger of stroke. 

Parsnips Prevent Diverticular Disorders

Getting enough fibre is crucial for intestinal fitness. Studies suggest that consuming adequate amounts of insoluble fibre from ingredients like parsnips can lessen the chance of diverticular disorder by as much as 40%.

Enables Wound Healing

Without enough vitamin C, our bodies cannot synthesise collagen, a critical structural aspect of the skin. Studies have suggested that vitamin C and its antioxidant effects play a crucial role in wound healing, in conjunction with its capacity to act as a precursor to collagen.

Our bodies cannot produce vitamin C; we need to get that from foods. Since parsnip is rich in vitamin C, its consumption can fasten wound healing.

Lowers the Risk of Breast Cancer

Studies say that fibre consumption at some point in adolescence can lower breast cancer chances later in life. Parsnips are an excellent food to increase fibre intake. Beyond fibre, parsnips offer antioxidant vitamins, like vitamin C and E. These vitamins help scavenge free radicals and decrease DNA damage that can cause cancer.

Strengthens Immunity

The positive role of antioxidants in boosting our immunity is no secret. However, fibre also plays a positive role in boosting immunity. Studies show that fibre is a meal for the healthy micro organism within the gut. Fibre consequently promotes good bacteria and kills dangerous microorganisms. Furthermore, parsnip reduces inflammation, enhances immune reaction to such pathogens, and kills them.

Parsnips Improves Digestion

Since parsnip is rich in dietary fibre, it is healthy for the digestive system. The dietary fibre improves bowel movements. Our stool softens as nutritional fibre absorbs water inside the intestines. As a result, due to water absorption, the stool passes out easily. As a result, fibre-rich ingredients in parsnip relieve constipation. 

Parsnip additionally improves gut fitness by fostering good bacteria inside the frame. In addition, studies have suggested that parsnip prevents infections and irritation by enhancing immunity.

May Aid Weight Loss

Parsnip can aid weight loss due to its rich nutritional properties. It is full of fibre, which keeps you satiated for a long time, preventing you from overeating add reducing your calorie intake. It also improves gut health. In addition, parsnip is rich in protein consisting of important amino acids, which may be essential in building muscle. Studies suggest that proteins assist in improving your metabolism. As a result, eating parsnips can help in losing weight.

Parsnips Prevents Cancer

Recent research proves that parsnips have anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, recent studies say that parsnips contain an active ingredient called falcarinol that can trace and destroy cancer cells in the colon. Thus incorporating this vegetable into your diet will help reduce the chances of developing colon cancer.

Prevents and Controls Diabetes 

Parsnip is an ideal food for people with diabetes because it is abundant in dietary fibre and protein. A study suggests that parsnip helps control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Fibre passes through the digestive tract slowly, taking time for food to get digested and preventing blood glucose levels from shooting up after a meal.

The HealthifyMe Note

Parsnip provides several health benefits due to its diversified nutritional profile. Parsnips have a high fibre content, which helps in lowering cholesterol, heart disease prevention, and digestion. It also protects and strengthens the bones. In addition, parsnip improves the body’s ability to heal and boosts immunity. 

Ways to Use Parsnip

Before using parsnips, you must know how to make them safe for consumption. Here are some tips that you should remember. 

  • Avoid large parsnips, as large ones have a woodier core that can be tough and fibrous. Go for straight, small parsnips instead. 
  • To prepare parsnips, cut off the tops and bottoms as you do with carrots. The best flavour of parsnips is right below the skin, so if you choose to peel, be careful not to remove too much of the skin. 
  • Like most root vegetables, parsnips go well with many cooking methods, such as roasting, sauteing, braising, mashing, and pureeing for soup.


1. Salad: You may use raw parsnip for a salad. Cutting thin parsnip slices using a peeler is best because it has a strong taste.

2. Soup: You may boil parsnip in lots of soups. You could cut it into thin slices and cook it in the soup, peel a big parsnip, boil it inside the soup and strain it later. This way, you will get a tasty soup without the parsnip texture if you don’t find it irresistible.

3. Creamy parsnip soup:  This is a hearty dish and thoroughly suited for a diner if you want to include extra veggies in your meals. You may integrate it with other greens if you don’t want the overall taste of parsnip. Combining it with peas, broccoli, potatoes, or cauliflower can be an excellent idea for a nice healthy creamy soup. But you could combine it with something you need and assume it will work appropriately for a soup cream. 

4. Roasted parsnip: Roasted parsnip may be a good and healthy dish. Additionally, you can have it with other vegetables such as carrots, eggplants, and bell peppers.

Healthy Recipes for Parsnip

  1. Creamy Roasted Parsnip Soup

Serves: 10 servings

Preparation time: 25 mins



  • Parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces: 900 g
  • Carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces: 3
  • Olive oil: 2 tbsp
  • Large onion, diced: 1
  • Stalks Celery, chopped: 1
  • Butter: ½ tbsp
  • Minced Garlic Cloves: 3
  • Ground ginger: 1 tsp
  • Ground cardamom: ½ tsp
  • Ground allspice: ½ tsp
  • Ground nutmeg: ½ tsp
  • Cayenne pepper: ¼ tsp
  • Chicken stock: 4 cups
  • Whole milk: 1 cup 
  • Heavy cream: Just a drizzle
  • As needed, season with sea salt and black pepper.


Method of Preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C)
  • Place the parsnips and carrots into a bowl, and add one tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. 
  • Roast for about 30 minutes in the preheated oven until the parsnips are tender and golden brown.
  • Heat the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat and stir in the onion and celery. 
  • Cook for about 7 minutes until the vegetables have softened, and the onion begins to turn golden brown. 
  • Stir in the butter, garlic, roasted parsnips, and carrots, keeping the heat low. 
  • Continue to cook for about 10 minutes and stir until all the vegetables are tender and beginning to brown.
  • Season it with ginger, cardamom, allspice, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper, and stir for 1 minute. 
  • After that, add chicken and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover, and simmer gently for about 15 minutes until all vegetables are very tender.
  • Blend the soup in a blender, and make a puree. Alternatively, you can use a stick blender to blend and puree the soup in the cooking pot.
  • Stir milk and cream in the puree and simmer over medium-low heat. 
  • As needed, season with sea salt and black pepper.
  1. Roasted Parsnips and Carrots

Serves: 4 servings

Preparation time: 10 mins


  • Carrots: 900 g
  • Parsnips: 900 g
  • Extra-virgin olive oil: 3 tbsp
  • Butter, softened: ¼ cup
  • Minced shallot: 2 tbsp
  • Chopped fresh chives: 2 tbsp
  • Chopped fresh rosemary: 1½ tsp
  • Chopped fresh thyme: 1½ tsp
  • Garlic, minced: 1 clove

Method of Preparation

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C)
  • Cut carrots and parsnips into 2-inch and about 1/4-inch thick and toss with olive oil.
  • Then, sprinkle salt and pepper and toss again.
  • Spread carrots and parsnips on a 10*15-inch baking sheet
  • Roast in the oven for about 40 to 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until browned.
  • Mix butter, shallot, chives, rosemary, thyme, and garlic in a small bowl. 
  • Then add it to hot vegetables and toss to coat. Ready!

Storage and Food Safety

If kept at room temperature, clean parsnips will stay good for one to two weeks. Afterwards, store root veggies in a root cellar, fridge, or freezer to extend their shelf life. If you need parsnips to remain consumable for longer, keep them away from fruits and vegetables emitting ethylene gas (the gas for ripening), such as apples, avocados, and bananas.

How to Store Parsnips

  1. Keep freshly harvested parsnips in a root cellar. While harvesting parsnips out of your lawn, keep in mind storing them in a cool, darkish region like a root cellar, basement or shed. Appropriate conditions are between thirty-two and forty degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of ninety per cent. Cast off the inexperienced stems before storing parsnips. It is excellent to keep parsnips dry, so face the urge to rinse them off. Alternatively, brush away excess dust with your palms or a rag. Store parsnips in layers in a container or bucket and cover them with sand, easy sawdust, or peat moss. If stored well, parsnips can last as long as six months in a root cellar.
  2. Store parsnips in your refrigerator. If you have purchased parsnip from the grocery store, wrap parsnips in dry paper towels and seal them. They need to be closed for at least two weeks within the refrigerator.
  3. Freeze parsnips. Earlier than placing parsnips in the freezer, cut them into one-inch cubes and blanch the cubes in boiling water for three to five minutes, then soak them in ice water for a while. Unfold them in a single layer on a parchment-covered, rimmed baking sheet, place them in the freezer, and allow them to freeze. Then store them in the freezer for eight to ten months. Alternatively, you can keep it by making a parsnip puree and storing it in the freezer for ten to 365 days.

Potential Drawbacks of Parsnip


Some people may have oral hypersensitivity syndrome (OAS)- rashes or burning sensations in the lips, mouth, and throat are some signs of OAS. For this reason, it’s advisable for people with allergies to consult a medical doctor earlier than incorporating this vegetable into their diet.

Stomach Ache

Parsnips contain a toxin called furocoumarins present in the peel, the outermost surface layer, and any damaged areas. However, cooked parsnips have lower toxin levels. These toxins are responsible for stomach aches and skin reactions. You can make it safe to use by doing the following.

  • Before cooking, peel them and remove any damaged areas.
  • Don’t use the leftover water after cooking from parsnips.

Cause Phytophotodermatitis

Wild parsnips’ leaves, stems, and flowers contain a toxic sap on contact or, when consumed, can cause phytophotodermatitis, resulting in severe burns, rashes, or blisters. In addition, intake of wild parsnip can impact weight gain and fertility.


Parsnip is a nutrient-rich vegetable that helps you meet your standard dietary requirements. Also, it is rich in many vital nutrients. In addition, it has reasonable amounts of protein and fibre. The low calories, high protein and fibre content make parsnip a go-to option for diabetes. In addition, parsnips are high in fibre, which helps with regularity, digestion, blood sugar control, and heart health.

Parsnip also has many other health benefits. For example, they aid in weight loss, heart health, immunity, etc. In addition, it can be a healthy ingredient in innovative dishes. However, if you have a history of food allergies, then be cautious while eating parsnip.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Are parsnips healthy for you?

A. Parsnip is a nutrient-rich vegetable that offers several health benefits. For example, the potassium in parsnips helps reduce blood stress and the threat of heart sickness. In addition, fibre allows digestion, relieves constipation, and lowers bad cholesterol. The abundance of vitamins like vitamin C and E help improve your immunity and prevent disease by eliminating the free radicals that could damage our bodies.

Q. Are parsnips healthier than carrots?

A. Parsnips and carrots have their advantages. Regarding their nutrients, parsnips contain more calories and carbohydrates than carrots. At the same time, parsnips have more fibre and protein. Although both are low in fats, carrots have a lower glycemic index value than parsnips. 

Q. Is parsnip a Superfood?

A. People call them the November superfood. Parsnips are abundant in nutrients and contain a lot of potassium. Due to parsnip’s nutritional profile, it offers several health benefits. However, parsnips are a winter vegetable.

Q. Are parsnips better for you than potatoes?

A. Parsnips are underrated and overlooked vegetables rich in fibres, phosphorus, zinc, copper, magnesium, and vitamins, folate. Potatoes are rich in potassium, iron, and vitamins B3, B6, and C. Potatoes have a lower glycemic index than parsnips. Parsnips and potatoes have similar calories, and both are low-calorie foods. Parsnips and potatoes are identical in carbs content, and Parsnips have more fibres than potatoes. Potatoes are higher in protein. However, these amounts are meagre and classified as low-protein foods. Both are very low in sodium.

Q. Is it safe to eat raw parsnips?

A. Yes, parsnips are safe to eat raw, but you must peel off the skin before that. Raw parsnips are sweet and nutty in taste, with tiny hints of liquorice. If you are on a diet, then it is for sure a good option. You can also use parsnip when making salads, and it is very nutritious and beneficial when boiled and used for soups or different recipes.

Q. Do parsnips make you poop?

A. Parsnip has a reasonable amount of dietary fibre, which is helpful in digestion. Dietary fibre helps to add bulk to the stool and facilitates the smooth movement of the bowel through the digestive system. Fibre is essential for a healthy gut as it moves food along the digestive tract and improves bowel health. Therefore, preventing constipation and gastrointestinal disorders.

Q. Are parsnips inflammatory?

A. Root vegetables such as parsnips are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. These anti-inflammatory properties make parsnips an excellent source to fight serious diseases caused by inflammation in the body, such as cancer. 

Q. Do parsnips cause gas?

A. People having parsnips for the first time may experience bloating, gas, stomach cramps, and food allergy symptoms such as burning, itching, and swelling of lips and tongue, redness in the eyes, and difficulty in breathing. Parsnips have a toxin called furocoumarins, which is responsible for stomach cramps.

Q. Are parsnips keto?

A. No, parsnips are not keto. While following a keto diet, we should avoid high-carb vegetables. Vegetables containing more than 5 g of carbs per 100 g of weight are starchy vegetables. One hundred grams of parsnip has 18 grams of carbs, so it is not a keto-friendly vegetable. 

Q. Can parsnips make you sick?

A. Parsnips are safe to eat; they don’t make you sick. But one must have parsnip after washing and peeling the upper layer, as the skin contains some natural toxins which can cause stomach aches, bloating, and skin rashes when consumed in large quantities. Consuming raw parsnips in large amounts can cause such problems. So, before consuming them raw, wash and boil them; after boiling, the amount of these toxins drops and parsnips are much healthier.

Q. Do parsnips have a lot of sugar?

A. Per 100-gram serving, parsnip contains 4.8 grams of sugar which is a bit high. However, the nutritional profile of parsnip helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. Due to the high content of dietary fibre, the food in our digestive tract takes time, causing the food to digest slowly and preventing sugar levels from rising after meals, thus regulating blood sugar levels.

Q. Is parsnip a carb?

A. Yes, parsnips are carbs. As per USDA, 100 grams of parsnip consist of 18 grams of carbs. Parsnips and potatoes have similar carbs. Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source, providing energy to your brain, kidneys, heart muscles, and central nervous system.

About the Author

Parul holds a Masters of Medical Science in Public Health Nutrition from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and has worked across the globe from the U.K to New Zealand (NZ) gaining her License with the Health Professionals Council (HPC, UK) and the NZ Nutrition Council. From being a Gold medalist in Clinical Nutrition to being awarded an internship with World Health Organisation (WHO, Cairo, Egypt) and Contracts with CDC Parul has had a wide spectrum of work experiences. She is very passionate about Nutrition and Fitness and holds strong to her guiding mantras ‘ Move more’ and ‘Eat Food that your grandmother can recognize’!

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