7 Best Root Vegetables that Support Brain Health

Best Root Vegetables that Support Brain Health

Root vegetables, often overlooked in favor of their flashier counterparts, hold an invaluable secret to nurturing brain health. Rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, these humble underground wonders offer a potent combination of benefits.

From sweet potatoes brimming with beta-carotene to beets packed with nitrates, these earthy delights support cognitive function, enhance memory retention, and even contribute to mood regulation. Their low glycemic index ensures a steady release of energy, which is crucial for sustaining mental clarity and focus throughout the day.

Additionally, the fiber content aids in maintaining stable blood sugar levels, further safeguarding against cognitive decline. By incorporating root vegetables into your diet, you not only nourish your body but also fortify your mind, laying a solid foundation for optimal brain health.

Best Root Vegetables that Support Brain Health

1. Sweet Potatoes

is sweet potato a root vegetable

Sweet potatoes are native to the tropical Americas and are sometimes referred to as ‘yams’ in the USA. Consuming purple sweet potatoes may improve brain function. One animal study found that the anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes could help protect the brain by reducing inflammation and preventing free radical damage.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium. According to the USDA, 100 grams of baked sweet potato contains 90 calories and 20.7 grams of carbohydrates.

2. Carrots

is Carrots a root vegetable

Carrot (Daucus carota) is an herbaceous, generally biennial plant of the Apiaceae family that produces an edible taproot. Flavonoids are a fancy word for nutrients, and carrots have the flavonoid luteolin in them that improves brain health.

Cognitive Benefits of Carrots

The Vitamin B9 in carrots will heighten your energy. Carrots are a particularly good source of beta carotene, fiber, vitamin K1, potassium, and antioxidants. They also have a number of health benefits. They’re a weight-loss-friendly food and have been linked to lower cholesterol levels and improved eye health.

The nutrition facts for two small-to-medium raw carrots (100 grams) are:

  • Calories 41
  • Water 88%
  • Protein 0.9 grams

3. Beets

what are some root vegetables

The beetroot is the taproot portion of a beet plant, usually known in North America as beets, while the vegetable is referred to as beetroot. It may support brain health. Mental and cognitive functions naturally decline with age, which can increase the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like dementia.

The nitrates in beets may improve brain function by promoting the dilation of blood vessels and thus increasing blood flow to the brain. Beets are good sources of vitamins and minerals, such as folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. For every 100 grams of raw beetroot, there are 43 calories and 88% water. Beets also contain 1.6 grams of protein, 9.6 grams of sugar, and 2.8 grams of fiber.

4. Turnips

types of root vegetables

The turnip or white turnip is a root vegetable commonly grown in temperate climates worldwide for its white, fleshy taproot. Turnips contain nutrients like folate and vitamin K, which support cognitive function and memory.

Supports weight loss: Low in calories and high in fiber, turnips can be a nutritious addition to a weight loss diet. Turnips are a good source of vitamin C, folate, iron, and calcium. 1 cup of raw turnips has 8.36 g of carbohydrate, including 4.66 g of sugar. 2.34 g of fiber. 39 milligrams (mg) of calcium. 0.39 mg of iron and 36.4 calories, according to the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Data Central database.

5. Radishes

healthiest root vegetables

Radishes are annual or biennial brassicaceous crops grown for their swollen tap roots, which can be globular, tapering, or cylindrical. The root skin color ranges from white through pink, red, purple, yellow, and green to black, but the flesh is usually white.

Radish and mustard microgreens have special compounds like quercetin and kaempferol that may help reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Also, studies suggest that sulforaphane may help protect brain cells from damage and promote the growth of new brain cells. Radishes are also a rich source of magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C.

Several varieties of radishes come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. You can enjoy radishes cooked or raw in salads, sandwiches, tacos, and more. There are 16 calories in 100 grams of Radishes. Calorie Breakdown: 5% fat, 79% carbs, 16% Protein.

6. Onion

what are root vegetables

Onion, also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is a vegetable that is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. Raw onions contain sulfur compounds, which increase the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, leading to improved memory, attention span, and concentration levels.

Onions are a rich source of fiber and prebiotics, which are necessary for optimal gut health. Prebiotics are non-digestible types of fiber that are broken down by beneficial gut bacteria. Gut bacteria feed on prebiotics and create short-chain fatty acids, which may help strengthen gut health.

Raw onions are very low in calories, with only 40 calories per 3.5 ounces (100 grams). By fresh weight, they are 89% water, 9% carbs, and 1.7% fiber, with tiny amounts of protein and fat.

7. Potatoes

root vegetables list

The potato (/pəˈteɪtoʊ/) is a starchy root vegetable native to the Americas that is consumed as a staple food in many parts of the world. Potatoes are tubers of the plant Solanum tuberosum, a perennial in the nightshade family Solanaceae.

Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, which can increase the production of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin also helps to calm your nervous system and reduce stress.

Both sweet and white potatoes are excellent sources of vitamin C, potassium, and B6 and provide similar amounts of protein (2g and 3g, respectively). The nutrients found in 2/3 cup (100 grams) of boiled potatoes—cooked with the skin but without salt—are 87 calories, Water 77%, and Protein 1.9 grams.


Root vegetables emerge as potent allies in promoting brain health due to their rich nutrient profiles. Their abundance of nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, and various antioxidants contribute to neuroprotection, reducing inflammation, and enhancing cognitive function. Additionally, their versatility in culinary applications makes them easily incorporable into diverse diets, ensuring sustained brain support.

Incorporating root vegetables into your diet can significantly enhance cognitive health. These brain-boosting vegetables, often rich in key nutrients, play a vital role in supporting cognitive function and reducing inflammation.

Beyond root vegetables, incorporating green leafy vegetables like Brussels sprouts and collard greens—both members of the cruciferous family—helps protect cells and supports overall brain health. This group of vegetables is essential for anyone looking to bolster their cognitive function and maintain a healthy, vibrant mind.

Johan Perez
Johan Perez is an experienced agriculturalist with over twenty years in the field. He holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences and has contributed extensively to research on sustainable farming practices. Johan has also written for numerous agricultural periodicals, offering expert advice on farming technologies and methods. In his free time, he enjoys outdoor adventures, which often inform his professional insights into ecological agriculture.

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