One of the benefits of fall is the availability of fresh root vegetables like turnips and parsnips. These nutritious foods can be roasted for added sweetness or chopped and added to soups, stews or side dishes. While both turnips and parsnips are nutritious, you'll get more nutrients per cup if you opt for parsnips, although you'll also get more calories.
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Calories and Major Nutrients
If you are on a diet, especially a low-carb diet, opt for turnips over parsnips. A 1-cup serving of cooked turnips provides 34 calories, 1.1 grams of protein, 0.1 grams of fat and 7.9 grams of carbohydrates. In comparison, the same amount of cooked parsnips contains 111 calories, 2.1 grams of protein, 0.5 grams of fat and 26.5 grams of carbohydrates.
Getting more fiber in your diet may help you lower your cholesterol and your risk for heart disease, as well as helping you control your blood sugar levels and your appetite. When it comes to fiber, parsnips beat turnips with 5.6 grams, or 22 percent of the daily value, compared to the 3.1 grams, or 12 percent of the DV, in turnips.
Vitamin C and Folate
Parsnips are more vitamin-rich than turnips, with 34 percent of the DV for vitamin C and 23 percent of the DV for folate per cup. The same amount of turnips provides 30 percent of the DV for vitamin C but only 4 percent of the DV for folate. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent cell damage from compounds called free radicals. You also need vitamin C for forming collagen, which is a component of your ligaments, skin, tendons and cartilage. Folate helps prevent birth defects and form DNA.
Turnips don't provide large amounts of any of the essential minerals. Parsnips, however, contain 23 percent of the DV for manganese, 16 percent of the DV for potassium and 11 percent of the DV for magnesium, phosphorus and copper in each 1-cup serving. Manganese helps process cholesterol, and potassium is essential for limiting blood pressure increases from consuming too much sodium. You need magnesium for producing energy and controlling blood sugar, phosphorus for kidney function and strong bones, and copper for immune function and forming red blood cells.