Here are some Winter Healthy Foods
We lose more than just a few hours of daylight as the cooler months arrive; all the summer’s fresh fruits and vegetables also vanish. We understand your sorrow if you’re lamenting the loss of your favourite summer superfoods (we’ll miss you, blueberries and tomatoes). However, there is some good news: winter superfoods are abundant throughout the chilly months.
All of the winter superfoods have a powerful nutritional punch and are ready to be incorporated into your favorite dishes for the colder months.
What exactly is a superfood?
For a moment, let’s go back: what constitutes a “superfood”? Does it have a formal definition?
Not really, at least not in a scientific sense, I’m afraid. The company’s founder, registered dietitian Sarah Rueven MS, CDN, claims that the term is really marketing jargon designed to encourage customers to purchase more of the food categories they should be eating.Never considered preparing kale in a dish? In the past, it might have been referred to as a “superfood” rather than a simple leafy green vegetable.
However, this does not imply that superfoods fall short of their nutritional claims.
According to registered dietitian Amy Shapiro, MS, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition, “Generally, a food is promoted to “superfood star” status when it delivers ample amounts of vitamins and minerals with antioxidant power, is linked to the prevention of a disease, or is thought to offer several health benefits.”
How to eat more winter superfoods and why you should
Be certain that’s not true before you presume superfoods must be difficult to find outside of specialty stores, expensive, or obscure.
You can get what Rueven refers to as “superfoods” in the produce section of your local grocery store or at your neighbourhood farmers market. These are unprocessed, whole foods from plants that can give us vital nutrients like fibre, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Additionally, purchasing superfoods that are in season is the easiest way to maximise their effectiveness. When purchasing seasonal superfoods, especially the winter ones, you may expect them to be:
Because they are in greater supply, they are less expensive; they are also fresher and more environmentally friendly because they are frequently gathered at their peak of ripeness from local sources (which decreases the amount of fuel used to transport your food to the store).
and healthier than their out-of-season equivalents. According to Shapiro, the availability of nutrients and antioxidants can decrease the longer food is kept on the shelves. Long transportation distances and food that has “expired” on grocery store shelves appear to have a significant impact on nutrient density.
Which winter superfoods are the healthiest to buy?
You can go shopping now that you are aware of what superfoods are and why you should purchase them. The following 17 winter superfoods are all in season during the winter and are simply waiting to share their nutritional advantages with you on the grocery store shelves.
Choose between acorns and butternuts because they are both winter superfoods. Beginning in early September, either variety of winter squash is widely available (and remains so throughout the winter).Beta-carotene, magnesium, fibre, and vitamins C and B6 are all in plenty in winter squash. Additionally, eating it might lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.
Squash is also really simple to prepare in the kitchen. For a tasty side dish, simply cut, season, and roast in the oven. Alternatively, use the roasted vegetables as the base for a silky, velvety butternut squash soup that is seasoned with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Looking for a natural cure for one of the several terrible infections that linger during the winter? Ginger, which Shapiro claims has been used for generations to enhance digestion, calm upset stomachs, and strengthen your immune system, is the answer to your search. Although it is widely available all year, the roots picked in the winter are likely to be the freshest.
A little ginger goes a long way because it has a strong flavour, but it also tastes fantastic in Asian-inspired recipes like stir-fries and when steeped in hot water to make fresh ginger tea.
Are you potassium deficient? As one of the most adaptable winter superfoods, kale can save the day.
Potassium, according to Rueven, can lower blood pressure by flushing the body of excess salt.In fact, increasing potassium intake may have a similar blood pressure-lowering effect as lowering salt intake.
Women who are expecting should be aware that kale is a fantastic source of folate, a nutrient that aids in the development of the unborn neural tube. It is a cold-weather plant that peaks primarily in the autumn and winter. Make kale chips, shred it for a salad, or substitute it for spinach in your soups to increase the amount of kale in your diet.
Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C throughout the winter when the cold and flu season is at its peak, according to Shapiro. She continues by noting the high mineral and phytochemical content of citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons, which the American Institute for Cancer Research claims may help lower the risk of cancer.
The coldest, snowiest months of the year are when navel and blood oranges are at their peak. To add a fresh OJ flavour to smoothies, blend orange flesh into the mixture. You may also make a grapefruit salad or add lemon wedges to your afternoon tea.
You probably weren’t aware that apples are a fantastic source of vitamin C. According to Rueven, apples also contain pectin, a soluble fibre that has been found to help lower cholesterol levels, and eating enough vitamin C is essential for immune support (particularly useful during the cold and flu season). Depending on where you live, apple season begins at the end of summer and frequently lasts well into late fall or early winter.
Because a significant portion of the fibre and phytonutrients in apples are located in the peel, Rueven advises eating the peel. Apples go well with almond butter as a snack or in a kale salad with roasted butternut squash or sweet potatoes, according to the author.
According to Shapiro, Brussels sprouts are among the top winter staple foods in terms of flavour and nutrient density. In addition to being rich in folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6, these tiny cruciferous vegetables are also high in vitamins K and C.
Shapiro suggests sprinkling halved Brussels sprouts in avocado oil, sea salt, and pepper, then roasting them in the oven if you want a delicious yet nutritious side at dinner (you don’t see them popping up on Thanksgiving tables for nothing).
Fennel is a winter powerhouse, whether you like it or not. According to Shapiro, fennel is a fantastic source of fibre, potassium, manganese, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and copper. Fall through early April is prime time.
If you can handle its potent licorice flavour, fennel can be used as a digestive aid and may help with heartburn and IBS symptoms. All parts of the fennel plant are edible; the bulbs can be consumed raw or braised, and the stalks and greens can be cooked and added to soups, stuffings, or broths.
In addition to being one of Rueven’s favourite foods for cooler weather, sweet potatoes are also a fantastic source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that fights inflammation and free radical damage. They are busiest between October and December.
When you get tired of baking sweet potatoes, mix some diced sweet potatoes into soups and chilli (although a baked sweet potato is a simple and yummy way to round out a meal). Alternately, if you’re feeling daring, try making sweet potato toast for breakfast.
Leeks are a great source of magnesium, which Rueven says is insufficient in nearly half of Americans and can cause anxiety and irritability.
Leeks combine nicely with winter soups and salads, like this low-carb cauliflower leek soup. They can simply be incorporated into the majority of your go-to dishes and have a slightly milder flavour than their onion siblings. They normally remain in season from October through the beginning of March.
Yes, collecting pomegranate seeds requires some dedication, but it is well worth it.
Pomegranates are rich in polyphenols, according to Shapiro, “which are known to enhance memory, combat illness, and boost heart health.”
Pomegranates are readily available from September to February and are fantastic in cooking. Consider adding them to yoghurt, smoothies, chia seed pudding, or sprinkling them on a salad.
Similar to apples, broccoli is a surprising source of vitamin C; according to Rueven, one cup provides more than 100% of your daily requirements.
She also mentions how broccoli may be useful in the fight against cancer: “According to studies, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain substances that may be cancer-preventing…
“Although additional research is required to determine the connection between cruciferous vegetables and cancer, the current evidence is very encouraging.”
Although tacos and margaritas might come to mind when you think about avocados, according to Shapiro, this “near-perfect meal” is really in season during the winter (depending on the variety, avocados are ripest between August and December). A healthy fat content of omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins like riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, and B6, as well as magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C, E, and K, are just a few of the many advantages of avocados.
Try avocado hummus, a keto-friendly avocado soup, or even sliced avocado with warm chicken fajitas as an alternative to fiesta-ready guacamole.
You’re missing out on a cheap and filling winter option if you go right past heads of cabbage at your neighbourhood market since it’s not St. Patrick’s Day. Cabbage, which is in season from late fall to early spring, is a superfood because of its high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, and 92% water content.
Additionally, adding cabbage to recipes is simple. Make homemade egg rolls out of it, stuff it with ground beef and tomato sauce, or make a hearty soup out of it with kielbasa and potatoes.
These deep red root vegetables are a distinctive yet nutrient-dense addition to your table from the summer through the end of the fall. They are high in folate, potassium, and beta-carotene.
Although they aren’t the simplest vegetable to prepare—you can’t exactly roast them on a sheet pan—they remain a mainstay of winter salads. They can also be made into borscht, a traditional Russian soup, or pickled for a sour side dish.
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