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by  13.02.2020 (comments: 0)

A superfood for fitness and health? Good old vegetables can fit the bill

A revival of traditional types of vegetables enriches cuisine - delicious, rich in vitamins, and in a modern guise

Hello from the beautiful district of Wesel! My name is Ludger Zens. As a master locksmith and the owner of one of the industry’s largest companies in the region, I have been taking care of aesthetic blacksmithing and everything made of metal for 32 years. In addition to modern metal design, I also spend time out and about for sport. As a team leader and passionate cyclist (mountain bike and racing bike), I look after an internationally successful team.

For my mountain bike team, Zens and Friends ( in Schermbeck, a proper diet for my teammates is an important factor in continually achieving good results and getting the bikes safely "over hill and dale" – in the truest sense of the word. We have always been interested in regional specialties because of our closeness to nature, and in this case, here in the Ruhr area – especially so. Reason enough to track down the so-called ‘old classics’ – and we often go past the fields where they are grown! So too do the health experts from Bottrop’s Naturheilzentrum (‘Nabo’ for short), who deal with the topic of terrific tubers and their benefits from a naturopathic and, thus, professional perspective.

Mountain-bike team, Zens and Friends – focus on a proper diet
Mountain-bike team, 'Zens and Friends': Delivering better performances through a healthy diet

Root and tuber vegetables are health boosters - especially in the Fall and winter time

We all need essential vitamins and minerals, particularly in winter. Some types of vegetables such as parsnips, beetroot, carrots or turnips are particularly good at supplying them. As a trainer, I can only confirm this fact. Incidentally, tubers and root vegetables can also be grown in a small area, e.g. in your home garden ("Why it's healthy to get up close to nature" – and they are extremely undemanding in terms of care and maintenance. They are therefore also perfect for beginner gardeners, who would nevertheless like to enjoy their own ‘produce’.

Vegetables are still very much in vogue – not just in the form of exotic produce, but also as regional classics. While fashionable superfoods usually come from South America or Asia, roots and tubers are common along our line of latitude, and they don’t just rank among the foods that are typical of the Ruhr area.

Healthy food - simple and inexpensive
Health boost through root and tuber vegetables

Root and tuber vegetables are especially prized because they are rich in vitamins A, B and C, calcium, iron, potassium, sodium and phosphorus. In addition, they have a high-fiber content, and a low proportion of fat or calories. It is no coincidence that horseradish, for example, has been used as a medicinal plant since the Middle Ages. Not only does it go very well with fish and meat dishes, but it also almost works like a natural antibiotic. This has even been scientifically proven, as the University of Heidelberg demonstrated from experiments which were conducted in 2005:

Black salsify, which is also used as a substitute for asparagus, hasn’t just won me over because it contains a whole lot of minerals. Above all, it is supposed to have a dehydrating effect and lower the cholesterol level. A great possibility for you to get your metabolism back on the right track in a natural way. Incidentally, this also applies to most other vegetables – which means that regional superfoods are definitely on the menu for me, and are a good tip for sports enthusiasts and health-conscious People.

Filling food on prescription - #nabomade
Fitness recipe from the health kitchen

Delicious pasta with parsnips – a meal from Nabo

To bring healthy vegetables closer to the readers of my blog post, I have created a filling vegetarian recipe for two People (if more People are sitting at the table, please adjust the amounts accordingly!) together with the naturopaths and Youtubers, Farid Zitoun and Christian Rüger. Incidentally, those who operate heavy machinery, will definitely be hungry afterwards. I am convinced that this dish will become a suitable and favorite meal. In any event, it's a very special treat for me and my sports colleagues, - and it's healthy too:

  • 2 pieces of parsnips (about 200 grams per piece)
  • 1 handful of plain parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 6 small tomatoes (or 3 large tomatoes)
  • 400 grams of pasta (spaghetti or tagliatelle - or any other variety, depending on taste)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pepper
  • Parmesan to taste


Freshly blogged: Naturheilzentrum Blog - Ludger Zens
On the move with the mountain biker and blogger, Ludger Zens

Wash, peel, and cut the parsnips into thin slices. Wash the tomatoes and parsley. Cut the tomatoes into large pieces and roughly chop the parsley. Put a large pot of salted water on the stove for the pasta, and then cook the pasta in boiling water. Simultaneously, heat a pan with the olive oil. Fry the parsnips in the hot oil until well browned. Crush the garlic, add the tomatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. When the pasta is ready, add it to the pan when still dripping wet, and mix everything together. Sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan cheese and serve hot. Bon appetit and stay healthy!

Of course, as an athlete and trainer, I am interested in how the readers of the Nabo blog create their own Personal fitness cuisine. Are regional classics among them? Or are you more into exotic superfoods? How do you ensure the supply of vitamins in winter - and, most importantly, what is your Personal tip for remaining fit, even during the cold season? I look forward to reading your creative ideas. So, comments are expressly desired! And don’t forget: "Strength comes from the tuber".


about the author

gastautor ludger zens

guest author ludger zens

... was born in 1962. It is important for him to pass on a conscious way of life. As a master locksmith with his own company and an expert in cycling, he is almost always ‘active’ – not only in the Ruhr area, but also on his many travels and at sporting events in Germany and abroad. Friends and acquaintances often refer to him as a ‘multi-talent’. The married father of two children spends most of his time on the move amongst nature. Whether he’s running or on a bike, his motto is: "Don’t complain – do it and laugh through it!" Whether he’s working with iron or on two wheels, Ludger Zens is always at the forefront of the action, and the successes speak for themselves.

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