Parsnips are sweet, succulent underground taproots closely related to the carrot family of vegetables. They indeed have similar appearance and growth characteristics as other Apiaceae family members like carrots, parsley, celery, cumin, dill, etc.
Generally, parsnip contains more sugar than carrots, radish, turnips. It has calories (100 g provide 75 calories) comparable to that of some fruits like banana, and grapes. Nonetheless, its sweet, juicy root is rich in several health-benefiting phyto-nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
It is one of the excellent sources of soluble and insoluble dietary fiber. 100 g root provides 4.9 mg or 13% of fiber. Adequate fiber in the diet helps reduce blood cholesterol levels, obesity and constipation conditions.
Fresh roots are also good in vitamin-C; provide about 17 mg or 28% of RDA. Vitamin-C is a powerful water-soluble anti-oxidant, easily available to us from natural sources. It helps the human body maintain healthy connective tissue, teeth, and gum. Its anti-oxidant property helps protect from diseases and cancers by scavenging harmful free radicals from the body.
Further, the root is rich in many B-complex groups of vitamins such as folic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, and pantothenic acid as well as vitamin K and vitamin E. It also has healthy levels of minerals like iron, calcium, copper, potassium, manganese and phosphorus. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure by countering effects of sodium.