Sunchokes are used by many people around the world. But if you don’t know about this vegetable, read these sunchokes nutritional benefits to know more.
What are Sunchokes?
Sunchokes are vegetables that belong to the sunflower family and are native to Central North America. They are root tubers that resemble ginger in appearance and inconsistency; they are similar to potatoes. Their color varies from cream to brown to pink and purple. They have a sweet,
nutty flavor and they are fast to cook, and are very versatile. They are seasonal vegetables available in the winter and fall months. Keep reading the article to know the sunchokes nutritional benefits along with certain recipes that you can try to incorporate this vegetable in your diet.
Sunchokes Nutritional Benefits
1. Great Nutritional Value
Sunchokes are composed of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins C, E, B1, B6, and sugar. They are cholesterol-free, low in fat, and rich in dietary fiber. They are a great source of iron, calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. 100g of sunchokes provides 73 calories.
2. Protects from Diseases
Potassium promotes heart health and lowers high blood pressure. They have antioxidants like vitamin C and carotene, which help prevent cell damage from free radicals, thereby offering protection from chronic diseases, infections, and cancer.
3. Good Gut Health
The dietary fiber keeps bowel movements regular. Their carbohydrate is in the form of inulin which is a prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic fibers are non-digestible fibers that help balance blood sugar levels and promote good gut bacteria growth. They help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and are also liver-protective.
4. Other Benefits
Vitamin B1 is essential for healthy muscles and nerves. The rich iron contents aid new blood cell formation and help prevent anemia. They are a good substitute for potatoes if you have diabetes. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory properties in it promote cardiovascular health.
How to Use
Choose sunchokes that are firm and without blemish. Scrub them and wash them in running water to get rid of the dirt. You can thinly slice the vegetable and store in cold acidulated water to prevent them from getting brown. You can cook them without peeling their thin skins.
One can eat raw sunchokes or even cook them by steaming, grilling, roasting, frying, or even boiling them. You may add them in soups and salads for a nice crunch and eat with meat dishes as well.
You can roast them with oil, salt, and pepper at 425 degrees F for 35 minutes. Or slice and saute it in olive oil and use salt and pepper for seasoning. They also pair well with garlic, thyme, and rosemary.
To avoid gas and bloating, you can slow cook them in lemon juice and water. This way, the inulin are converted into fructose that is easier to digest and good for gut health.
- Sunchokes may cause allergic reactions in some people. If you have an allergy to other plants of the Compositae family, then it is better to avoid consuming sunchokes.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid them as there are no scientific studies to ensure their safe consumption during these crucial phases.
- The carbohydrate inulin in sunchokes can cause gas, bloating, diarrhea and abdominal pain, especially when consumed raw.
- The recommended amount of inulin that you can have in a day is up to 70g which is beneficial for humans without undesirable side effects.