6 Winter Superfoods to Incorporate Into Your Diet
When it comes to combating flu season, nutrient-rich superfoods are key to boosting your immune system.
As the weather changes, so does your body’s needs. For instance, citrus is a popular winter fruit, and it’s no surprise that it comes along just when our body is craving the ever-important Vitamin C. In-season foods are packed with the nutrients we need most in the winter, especially amidst the added health concern of the pandemic.
The options below will protect your health, warm you up during the chilly weather and offer some variety to your favorite meals!
Why buy in-season foods?
First, let’s take a quick look at the benefits of eating seasonally.
While we miss watermelon and fresh corn as much as the next Marylander, opting for out-of-season foods means losing out on big health benefits. The longer that foods sit on the shelves, the more its nutrient density decreases.
Food that’s harvested at the peak of its freshness, on the other hand, offers greater health benefits. Because it’s naturally in abundance, it’s also cost-effective and better for your wallet.
It doesn’t hurt that in-season foods are environmentally friendly, too. If you’re worried about your carbon footprint, you can rest assured that farmers don’t have to use as much energy to grow them and keep them alive.
Nutritional benefits aside, in-season foods just plain taste better! They’re picked when they’re naturally ripened, which means they’re packed with more flavor and nutrients. Most out-of-season fruits and veggies will be chilled to stay fresh — which means it won’t have the same rich flavor.
Give these winter superfoods a try
Ready to take advantage of all that in-season produce? Here are some great options to include in your next meal.
What can’t you do with winter squash? From butternut squash to Acron, simply tossing some oil and spices on them and roasting them in the oven makes for a fantastic snack. There’s also plenty of ways squash can be used in soups.
Winter squash is packed with fiber, magnesium, beta carotene, and vitamins C and B6. Plus, it’s known for decreasing both blood pressure and cholesterol — just another reason to include them as a side dish for your next family dinner.
Sweet potatoes are antioxidant-rich powerhouses! They help tackle common problems like inflammation to heal your gut and assist with weight loss. They’re also a great source of potassium and magnesium, and support glowing, healthy skin thanks to an abundance of beta-carotene.
Consider chopping them thin and tossing them with oil and spices for at-home sweet potato fries. Or cube them and throw them in your favorite soup recipe.
Like we mentioned before, citrus is the perfect winter fruit because of its Vitamin C power. Plus, citrus fruits are at their ripest and juiciest during the winter.
Oranges, grapefruits, cuties and limes all present endless options for creativity, from a winter fruit salad to healthy muffins to homemade chicken in orange sauce. Or switch up your breakfast with a side of tangy grapefruit in the morning. They can also help you stay hydrated. Next time you fill up a glass of water, pop a wedge in for some added flavor.
Like many root veggies, the parsnip is great for digestion due to its abundance of fiber and brain-cell building properties. But what makes it super special is its many uses. This versatile veggie can be enjoyed from breakfast to dinner!
Like a carrot, a parsnip can be chopped up for stews or add a crunch to your salad. You can also roast them alongside other vegetables like your winter squash and sweet potatoes.
Did you know that ginger has been used for centuries as a natural immune booster and digestive? The freshest roots are harvested during the winter, and best of all, there’s a million ways to enjoy its healing goodness.
You can add to a hearty soup, toss it in a stir-fry or include in your next smoothie. It can also be added to a variety of desserts to add a little nourishing spice. Or, simply steep some ginger in hot water with honey and lemon for a soothing tea.
Brussels sprouts have definitely seen a surge in popularity in recent years…and it’s high time! These antioxidant-rich veggies are loaded with vitamin B6, potassium, and vitamin K and C. In fact, just one cup of cooked Brussels sprouts packs over 150% of the minimum daily vitamin C target. Plus, they’re low-carb and low in calories.
To add some irresistible flavor, roast them with a little oil, salt and pepper. To jazz it up a bit more, add some parmesan cheese, garlic, onion or bacon bits. Or, enjoy sauteed with some lemon juice.
Boost your health with CA
Exercise is the perfect complement to a healthy diet when it comes to bolstering your immune system. CA’s three fitness clubs offer a variety of ways to stay active, whether through personal training programs or group fitness classes. Learn more on our website.