Winter Superfoods

ADDITIONAL CONTRIBUTORS Michele Bacigalupo

By Michele Bacigalupo

Photo courtesy of woodleywonderworks.

As shocking as it may sound to some people, avocados and sweet potatoes are not the only superfoods in existence. As a matter of fact, plenty of nutritious superfoods are in their prime season during the fall and winter. Root vegetables especially remain fresher than other types of produce during these times of year, since they are equipped for growing in cold, harsh conditions.

Superfoods are known for many health advantages, including an extraordinary impact on the immune system, healthy skin, and detox attributes. They are sometimes referred to as “nature’s medicine.” The nutrients available in superfoods help to build up a person’s strength while simultaneously rejuvenating the mind and body.

Buy some beets to beat getting sick this season. These hearty root vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals. Eating a refreshing beet salad will provide you with vitamins A, B, and C. The vegetable is also a great source of potassium and folate. It’s known as a cleansing food, eliminating many toxins in the body. Betalain pigments present in the vegetable trigger a detoxification process in the liver. Beets also have an anti-inflammatory effect, which may lower the risk of colon, stomach, lung, prostate, breast, nerve, and testicular cancers.

Hot chocolate even falls into the superfood category. All you have to do is replace the powdered cocoa mix with a couple squares of dark chocolate. In order to make the winter beverage count as a superfood, simply mix a few squares of melted dark chocolate with milk. Dark chocolate contains flavonoids, an antioxidant that is known to reduce damage caused by free radicals. Try a mug with almond milk, which has been found to help prevent heart disease, to make the drink even healthier.

Pomegranates are an excellent source of fiber and potassium. The vitamin C will help build immunity against catching the common cold. The fruit is also rich in vitamin D and is low in fat. Scientific research discovered that the nutrients may be helpful in preventing lung, prostate, and breast cancer. In addition, pomegranates may help contribute to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Brussels sprouts contain an extremely high level of vitamin C, with 75 milligrams per cup. Consuming this vegetable is a fantastic method for reducing a risk of the dreaded common cold. They are also a good source of fiber and phytonutrients, which are known for fighting heart disease and types of cancer. Try a dish of Brussels sprouts roasted with olive oil and your taste buds will certainly thank you.

If you’re thinking in terms of which nice, warm, filling dish makes for a worthy winter superfood, black bean soup is a great way to fill up on protein and fiber. An average serving contains 15 grams of each. The protein available in black beans also contains almost no saturated fat. Black beans are rich in iron, copper, and flavonoid antioxidants. Warming up with this soup will help strengthen the immune system. The iron present supplies more oxygen to working muscles, contributing to quick muscle recovery.

Another salubrious root vegetable is the turnip, which is fat free and cholesterol free. Turnips are rich in vitamin C and low in sodium. They are an excellent vegetable for people watching their weight, as they provide a high number of nutrients for a very minor measure of calories. The bulbous root contains 54 percent of your daily dose of vitamin C, which is great for maintaining healthy eyesight, lowering blood pressure, and aiding digestion.

Chili is another food that will keep you warm this winter while providing many health advantages. The peppers in chili contain capsaicin, which contributes to the rate of spiciness, and is known to boost metabolism and decrease fat buildup. Not only does it have the potential to decrease body weight, but a bowl of chili contains muscle-building protein present in the beans. The tomato paste provides the antioxidant-boosting chemical lycopene, and the onions offer additional antioxidants.

However, nutrition experts advise to go light on the red meat. It should not always be a key ingredient in your chili recipe, since men and women who consume a lot of red meat are at an increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Squash, loaded with nutrients in any of its many forms, rounds out the winter superfood lineup. A serving of squash is rich in calcium, vitamin C, and potassium. The high amount of fiber can curb hunger cravings. Butternut squash is particularly high in vitamin A and contains carotenoids, which fight against heart disease. Squash is an easy addition to any meal, so make sure not to miss out on it this winter.

Hopefully the selection made you hungry for some healthy alternatives to the typical palate of traditional holiday indulgences.

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