The root vegetables include carrots, potatoes, turnips, rutabagas and onions. Other root vegetables are sweet potatoes, garlic, beets, onions and cassavas. Some of these vegetables are true roots, while others are tubers, bulbs or modified stems.
Beta carotene is the usable form of vitamin A. It is also what gives carrots their vibrant orange color. The nutrients in carrots support vision and guard against some types of cancer. Potatoes are full of vitamin C and dietary fiber, which aids in digestion. The substance that gives carrots their orange color also gives it to sweet potatoes.
The abundance of folic acid in beets protects against birth defects. Garlic might not cure cancer or lower cholesterol, but it is indispensable in many cuisines, as are onions. Parsnip, which looks like a bleached carrot, is rich in vitamin C, folic acid and fiber. Rutabagas and turnips are related, but rutabagas have a more robust flavor.
Cassava is low in fat and sodium and has no cholesterol. It is from Brazil and is grown throughout the American tropics. Used in Latin American and Caribbean cuisine, its skin is tough and brown, but its flesh is bright white. As versatile as the white potato, cassava is served steamed, broiled, baked, fried, grilled or mashed. It can also be grated and turned into flour or meal.