Yay, it’s spring! And there are lots of different things in the grocery store, especially in the produce section. I’m so ready for some veggie variety, how about you?
So, you may be looking at the picture and wondering – so what ARE those? They’re sunchokes! Also known as Jerusalem artichokes, sunchokes are a spring root vegetable. I just love how nature works with our bodies and provides exactly the foods that our our bodies need in each season. During the winter, we eat a lot of things like stews and chili to keep us warm. Root vegetables are the primary winter produce, and they’re great sources of complex carbohydrates to give us energy in a time when our energy is kind of low. So now that it’s springtime nature’s giving us food to help clear all those heavy things out of our bodies.
Back to our sunchokes. They’re really nutritious, full of vitamins A and C and all of the B vitamins, as well as all of the major minerals. One of my favorite things is that they’re a good source of prebiotic fiber. You’re probably familiar with probiotics – they’re the friendly bacteria that live in our guts. They eat what’s called prebiotic fiber, and that’s how they grow and multiply. So, it’s really important that we eat a variety of different kinds of fibers, so that we feed and grow a population of different kinds of bacteria. These bacteria are a part of almost everything the body does.
A couple of those things are:
Digestion – helping us to absorb nutrients from the foods we eat, and keeping the tissue of the digestive system healthy, so that we don’t develop food sensitivities or other disorders.
Immunity – did you know that about 70% of your immune system is located in the intestines? Crazy! It’s the bacteria that live there that do a lot of the immune heavy lifting. So, these sunchokes are feeding the bacteria AND providing our bodies with vitamins and minerals that support a healthy immune system.
When I’m buying produce at the grocery store, I’m frequently asked what I do with the things I’m buying that the cashier has never seen before 🙂 Happened this week with the sunchokes. I peel them and put them on a salad or eat them raw. I’ll often eat one as a snack. When it’s peeled, it kind of looks like a lumpy potato. It doesn’t have a ton of flavor but when I eat it, I know that it’s feeding those super-important gut bacteria and keeping me healthy. So, next time you’re in the grocery store, take a look. If you find them, take one home and give it a try. Your bacteria will thank you!