8 Winter Superfoods to Keep You Healthy

By on December 16, 2015
Winter Superfoods

By Dennis Hung –

From deliciously plump pumpkins to iron-enriched leafy greens, you can find a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in season during the cold winter months. Increasing your intake of these superfoods will keep you in tip-top shape when flu season rolls around. Keep reading to discover which superfoods you need to add to your shopping list.

Persimmons

At only 120 calories and zero grams of fat per serving, Persimmons are an excellent choice of winter’s superfoods. They are high in vitamin C and A and also contain cancer-fighting phytochemicals. In addition to being sodium and cholesterol free, they are packed with iron, fiber and calcium.

roasted root vegetablesRoot Vegetables

During the winter months, there are many root vegetables in season including sweet potatoes, turnips and beets. These hardy veggies are high in vitamins C, A and E and are excellent sources of folate and fiber. They can easily be added to soups and stews or roasted with a touch of olive oil.

Carrots are powerhouses when it comes to beta-carotene, which our bodies convert to vitamin A. Most commonly orange in color, they can also be found in red and purple varieties. Vitamin A helps to protect us against infections and reduce the duration of respiratory illnesses. Keep in mind that beta-carotene is a fat-soluble compound, so it requires minimal amounts of fat to be absorbed. A small pat of butter or drizzle of olive oil will do the trick.

Fennel

You have probably seen this vegetable in the market a hundred times without giving a second thought. Fennel resembles a cross between celery and a white onion. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and folate. Its mild licorice flavor is excellent in salads when combined with red onion, red peppers and sweet navel oranges.

Brussel Sprouts

Although you can find these tasty tidbits year-round, brussel sprouts are at their peak from fall to mid-winter, which means they are less expensive during this time. They are an excellent source of vitamin C and antioxidants. Roasting them with high-quality olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper will help to retain their heart-healthy nutrients, as well as help you in absorbing the vitamin A. You can enjoy these veggies alone or mix with cranberries, apples and walnuts for a delicious side dish. 

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are in abundance during the winter season. Kale, collard greens and Swiss chard are good sources of iron and folate, as well as other antioxidants. They are also a great alternative to dairy when looking to boost your calcium level.

Kale chips are all the rage now and are super easy to prepare. Simply rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. You can drizzle with olive oil, a pinch of salt and then bake until crisp for a healthy alternative to potato chips. If you want to jazz up your salad, toss you favorite leafy green with feta cheese, sliced almonds, pomegranate seeds with a splash of balsamic vinegar. 

Winter Superfoods

Citrus Fruits

Citrus fruit is available year-round, but peak season can be during the winter, depending where it’s cultivated. Navel oranges, grapefruit and mandarin oranges are among the most savory options during this time. They are high in vitamin C and A. Enjoy alone or combine with fennel to make a scrumptious salad. Citrus fruits also score big points when it comes to food storage. Since they are acidic, the have a longer shelf life than other fruits. 

Pomegranate

This beautifully colored fruit is in season beginning from late autumn until early winter. Rich in antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C, it’s also a good source of beta-carotene. Pomegranate seeds make an excellent topping for low-fat yogurt or on top of hot cereal such as oatmeal.

Winter SuperfoodsPumpkin

Pumpkin is not only high in carotenoids but contains more than 200 percent of our recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Often overlooked as a low-calorie treat, pumpkin only has 49 calories per cup and can be prepared in a multitude of different ways. From low-fat pumpkin cheesecake to spicy pumpkin chickpea soup, the possibilities go on forever.

Keep in mind you don’t need to avoid produce that is not “in season”. Frozen fruits and vegetables are less expensive than fresh. Additionally, they also pack more health benefits because they are harvested at peak season and immediately frozen to preserve their nutrients.

 

Dennis Hung is a business consultant and writer who is passionate about health technology trends and medical technology topics. 

 

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8 Winter Superfoods to Keep You Healthy