Winter season is not when people expect a good harvest and a wholesome platter. However, to everyone’s surprise, winter too can be accredited with seasonal fruits and veggies that have multiple health benefits. Winter season calls for cold, cough and flu for most of us and boosting the immune system is one of the first things in everyone’s mind. Here are some amazing winter superfoods that will help you sail through the entire winter season fit and healthy.
Here Are 12 Winter Superfoods You Should Start Eating Right Away:
If you ask the nutritionists about the root veggie with highest beta carotene content the answer will be unanimously carrot. The body converts beta carotene into vitamin A which is crucial for better immune function. Hence, regular intake of carrots during winters makes you less prone to infections. Carrots also keep your lungs healthy so that you do not pick up cough and other such respiratory illnesses that are common during winters. Carrots also make great pastime snack.
Not many people are aware of chicory or its amazing health benefits. But chicory is here to wonder you. It is effective against a good number of health disorders like heartburn, digestive disorders, liver problems, bacterial infections, and arthritis pain (of which the winter season is a reminder). It aids in weight loss and boosts the immune system. It also prevents heart diseases. Some of the most beneficial nutrients in chicory are folic acid, magnesium, zinc, manganese, potassium, iron, calcium and essential vitamins like vitamins A, C, E, B6 and K. It can be readily served as a salad or a side dish.
It has strong antibacterial properties, it enhances immune response and is great in soothing your skin. Besides, it aids in digestion which often takes a backseat during winters. Sipping on a teaspoonful of manuka honey in winter mornings prove to be great energy booster and gets you going for the entire day. Its expectorant quality makes it a good remedy for cough during winters.
Loaded with iron, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin E, wheat germ is one superfood you cannot miss out during winters. It has strong antioxidant properties that come in handy during winters as it improves immune response of the body. Zinc aids in formation of white blood cells that bust infection. Zinc is also attributed to beautiful skin which is much needed during winters. The nutty flavor of wheat germ makes it an ideal addition to casseroles, cereals, muffins, etc.
People just tend to ignore this cousin of broccoli nowadays which has its own health perks. Cauliflower is high on vitamin K, vitamin B6, thiamin, folate, riboflavin, niacin, protein and minerals like manganese, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. It is a potent cancer killing veggie as it contains sulforaphane that delays tumor growth by killing cancer stem cells. It helps in brain development in babies as it contains choline. Vitamin C, beta carotene and many other antioxidant compounds make it a good to go for winter superfood.
You say omega-3 fatty acids and chia seeds have loads of them in it. In addition, chia seeds has omega-6 fatty acids in it. High on nutrients and low on calories, chia seeds can be easily incorporated into any type of diet or cuisine. Remember how each winter you put on weight? Well, the high quality fiber and protein in chia seeds help in weight loss by cutting down on unnecessary cravings. Antioxidants in chia seeds make it an anti-cancer superfood. It also improves heart health and is highly beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
Winters in places where the sun does not show up at all for days can be really harsh. So, people have to look for alternatives to sun’s rays for their daily vitamin D intake. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the immune system regulation. Adequate presence of calcitriol and vitamin D prevents T cells from attacking own tissues of the body. Salmon is one of the best rare food sources of vitamin D and 120g of salmon provides about 400IU of daily recommended intake.
One of the most favored comfort foods during winters is winter squash partly because of its seasonal flavor and partly for its sheer inexpensiveness. Out of the many varieties, the butternut squash, spaghetti, and acorn are popular. It is one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids and has loads of beta carotene and antioxidant properties which makes it a anti-cancer food. Folic acid in winter squash makes it good for pregnant women.
One thing is for sure you need avocados for your skin this winter considering what the cool breeze does to your skin. Apply it on your skin or eat it in more ways than just guacamole. It manages cholesterol, relieves arthritis pain, and even has the capacity to lower chemotherapy side effects. The best part of avocado is that it contains monounsaturated fat that improves heart health and brain activity. Vitamin E aids the body in getting rid of free radicals, helps in red blood cell formation and oxygen circulation. Vitamin B6 in avocado improves skin health and aids in glycogen formation.
Citrus fruits and winter do not really go together when all you can think of eating or drinking something hot. But this cross between pomelo and tangerine truly deserves a place in your grocery list this winter primarily because it is loaded with vitamin C. T-cells and phagocytes require vitamin C to perform properly and in the absence of adequate vitamin C your body becomes more prone to attack from pathogens. A single tangelo can meet 100% of your recommended daily vitamin C intake.
This seasonal winter fruit is a must have in your cart this winter. It only tastes great but also contains high amounts of polyphenols such as tannins and flavonoids that have great antioxidant properties. Pomegranates are also rich in vitamins B6, folate, vitamin E and potassium. It not only fights inflammation and pain caused by it but also prevents damage from free radicals. If you go to gym or jog in cold winter mornings, upping your potassium levels is a must since workout during winters takes a heavy toll on your body’s potassium levels.
This tropical plant which is also known as yam bean, is low on calories. But what makes it a superfood is its fiber content and antioxidant properties. The fiber in Jicama is called oligofructose inulin which has zero calories. It also contains vitamin C and certain B vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, folate, pantothenic acid and pyridoxine. It also offers magnesium, copper and manganese. It’s nutty flavor, crunchy texture and zero calorie count make it a great snack, even for diabetics.