These good-for-you foods are available during colder months
Cooking with these nutrient-dense foods can help keep you healthy, even during cold and flu season.
Search for information on superfoods and you’re likely to find more than you can digest in one sitting. This is due, in part, to the very informal definition of “superfood.” Though there’s some debate about what gives a food superfood status — or even whether there's any such thing — most proponents of the idea agree that superfoods are nutrient-dense, meaning they deliver a large number of nutrients for a relatively low number of calories. Eating even a very small amount of these foods can be beneficial for health and overall well-being. Though some of the most popular superfoods are exotic fruits and warm-weather produce, there are a number of nutrient-dense foods available during the colder months and cooking with these ingredients can help keep you healthy — even during the peak of cold and flu season.
Click here to see the Seasonal Superfoods to Keep You Healthy All Winter Long (Slideshow)
One of the great things about winter superfoods is that many are rich in immune-boosting vitamins; vitamin A, vitamin C, and zinc all play a unique role in a healthy and well-functioning immune system. Root vegetables that are available during colder months like carrots and sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin A-producing beta-carotene (“vitamin A deficiency is associated with impaired immunity and increased risk of infectious disease”) and citrus fruits are often high in vitamin C (which can help reduce the duration of an illness). This is good news when it comes to fighting the common cold and flu.
If you’re looking for a few delicious foods that can help keep you healthy during the winter months (while providing you with a host of other nutritional benefits), try cooking with these easy-to-find ingredients. Many of them are foods that you’re probably already familiar with that can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. Plus, we’ve got an abundance of tasty recipes starring these wholesome foods.
There’s a reason avocados have become so popular; they’re delicious and loaded with health benefits. A source of “good” fat, avocado can help you absorb more nutrients from other foods and may even help lower “bad” cholesterol. Looking for a few ways to incorporate more avocado into your diet? Click here for our best avocado recipes.
From the root itself to the leafy green tops, beets are full of nutrients. The root portion of the beet is rich in fiber and minerals and the tops are a good source of vitamin C. Click here for our best beet recipes.
This story was orginally published on February 4, 2015.
Winter superfoods you’re probably already eating
Off the top of your head, how many superfoods do you think you eat a day? Faced with the question, you might try to recall how many goji berry snack bars you manage to choke down or count the salads you bought made with vegetables you’ve never heard of.
But adding more superfoods to your diet is a lot easier than you’d think. You don’t have to break the bank buying the latest super-grain to hit the shelves. You don’t have to get 90 percent of your meals from that trendy juice shop that opened downtown.
In fact, chances are you’re eating a whole bunch of seasonal superfoods already. A superfood is just any food that’s filled with nutrients. There’s no “National Superfoods Council” deeming some foods super and others not and if there were, all nutritious foods would get their coveted seal of approval.
Winter seems barren and dull, but it actually offers a good amount of healthful produce you’ll find marked down in the colder months. It’s completely okay to nourish yourself with cozy winter classics like macaroni and cheese and pecan pie, so long as you’re also getting the vitamins and minerals your body craves. In-season superfoods, like the ones on this list, could help you feel your best all season.
5 Long-Lasting Superfoods To Keep You Healthy All Winter
Consuming seasonal superfoods – that is, foods that are nutrient-rich — strengthens your immune system so you can fight off those nagging colds and be at the top of your game no matter what life throws at you.
Here are five winter superfoods that you should consider adding to your list. Even better, they will store for weeks or months:
1. Root vegetables
Vegetables such as parsnips, celery, carrots, beets and turnips all grow under the ground, where they can take in nutrients from the soil. These high-fiber vegetables are truly versatile and can be added to soups or stews, or stir fried and even made into tasty chips (a great alternative to the potato chips you buy in the store). My whole family enjoys these root chips!
Research has even demonstrated that a compound found in raw carrots may inhibit the formation of breast cancer.
2. Winter squash
Squash and colder weather just sort of go together, don’t they? But rather than just using these beautiful veggies to adorn your front doorstep, why not consider adding them to your diet?
Antioxidants found in squash can help to reduce inflammation — good news if you suffer from achy joints. Just one serving of butternut squash has 35 percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. The high amount of beta-carotene and omega-3 in squash helps keep your skin looking radiant and young all winter long.
Both red and green cabbage are loaded with vitamin K and anthocyanins that improve both mental function and concentration. Also, both of these nutrients help to guard against dementia and Alzheimer’s, and they prevent nerve damage. Cabbage is also high in potassium that regulates blood pressure. The vitamin C and sulfur in cabbage helps to get rid of free radicals and uric acid – the main culprits of gout, arthritis, skin conditions and rheumatism.
Cabbage can be eaten raw, juiced, sauteed, roasted or included in soups, salads or stews.
4. Chia seeds
5 Long-Lasting Superfoods To Keep You Healthy All Winter
While you may know that flaxseed is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds are even better. These tiny black seeds are loaded with vitamins A, B, E and D, along with the minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, niacin, potassium, thiamine, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur and zinc.
Throw some of these potent little seeds into your salads, smoothies, soups and more to enjoy all they have to offer.
5. Citrus fruits
How could I forget the ever popular winter citrus fruits? Citrus is just one of the things that makes me smile — whether it be grapefruits, oranges, limes, tangerines or lemons. Eating citrus in the winter is a great way to keep your immune system strong and your energy high. Not only are citrus fruits high in vitamin C, but they are also rich in thiamin and folate. Research shows that citrus fruit can help protect against heart disease and cancer. Enjoy citrus fruits fresh, in salads or juiced.
5 Winter Super Foods You Need in Your Diet
The cold winds and snow may have you wanting to lounge by the fire, but that’s no reason to neglect healthy eating. Now’s the time to take advantage of seasonal winter superfoods that are loaded with essential vitamins to get you through the winter months. If you’re looking to boost your immunities without adding in supplements, we’ve got you covered.
Winter Season is Pear Season
There are over 10 varieties of pears growable in the U.S. and each pack a punch of essential vitamins and nutrients. Pears are loaded with vitamin C, K, copper, and potassium, in addition to being high in fiber. Vitamin K and copper are essential in bone health and producing energy. Vitamin K and copper are also aid in preventing iron deficiencies and anemia. Your body also needs fiber to help absorb other vitamins and minerals and is important for healthy blood pressure levels and a healthy heart. Try this pear crisp recipe to get a taste of this season’s pears.
No Sweeter Potato
Sweet potatoes have begun to gain in popularity once again. Maybe it’s because you can use sweet potatoes in just about every dish you can use a russet, red, or Yukon, or purple potatoes. The sweet potato is highly underrated but high fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamins A and C. Furthermore, sweet potatoes, are low on the glycemic index and aid in blood health. Whether you mash, bake, or roast them, sweet potatoes are one of the perfect root veggies for winter eating.
Bring on the Citrus
When you think summer, you might think of fresh squeezed orange juice or lively spring salads with lemon vinaigrette dressing—but then you’d be missing out on the best time to add citrus into your diet. Oranges, grapefruit, tangerine, clementine, lemon, and lime are all high in vitamin C. The citrus family aids to protect your bones, teeth, blood vessels, and skin by producing collagen. Citrus fruits also help your body recover from injury and illness. Fire up the juicer for the freshest juice you’ll ever have or add them to your favorite smoothie for a healthy breakfast. Let’s not forget orange and chicken are besties at the dinner table.
Please Pass the Garlic
Garlic isn’t only for warding off vampires. Garlic is a natural antibiotic that goes back thousands of years because of its immune boosting properties. This award winner for the best bad breath also helps fight heart disease and may help with other chronic conditions, such as colitis, and high cholesterol. High in antioxidants, B6, vitamin C, sulfhydryl amino acid, and selenium. While it’s best crushed and eaten raw, it can easily be added to your diet in a number of ways.
Go Beyond Decorating with Gourds
Ditch the Pinterest decorating boards and create some amazing dishes using winter squash and other gourds. During winter squashes are at their peak ripeness and flavor. If you’re concerned about freshness, storing winter squash couldn’t be easier. High in vitamin B6, C, A, and potassium, popular varieties include acorn, butternut, spaghetti, delicata, pumpkin, and kabocha. Winter squash is extremely versatile when it comes to cooking because you can do just about anything to it bake, mash, stuff, roast, or use in soups, stews, and salads. What other food do you know that can do all of that?
As the temperature drops, so can your immune system. Try experimenting with different flavors and combinations to come up with recipes that will feed you and help keep you healthy all winter long.
15 feel-good recipes to nurture your body with superfood goodness
We've rounded up recipes featuring some of our favourite healthy and nutrient-packed foods deserving of the critically acclaimed superfood title.
Homemade Almond Milk
Incorporating almonds into your diet will do you some serious good. A 28-gram serving (about 20 almonds) of this nut provides a considerable amount of fibre and protein, which will help curb those hunger pangs. Try making your very own almond milk and reap this superfood's health benefits.
Ginger & Turmeric Elixir
Ginger and turmeric on their own are already at superfood status, but they're even better together. With both containing anti-inflammatory properties, this elixir will soothe sore throat woes.
Kale & Fennel Salad With Lemon Dill Dressing
Kale still retains its superfood status and with good reason. It's chock full of fibre and water content that will help with digestive issues, and also contains vitamins B and C which promotes iron absorption. Try this kale and fennel salad to reap some of this leafy green's health benefits.
One-Pot Quinoa Chili
This healthy grain is gluten-free, high in protein and one of the plant superfoods to contain all nine essential amino acids needed for your body to function. Our yummy quinoa chili is the perfect meal to get your dose of this superfood.
Baked Avocado Eggs
Avocados are loaded with heart-healthy monosaturated fatty acids which help keep cholesterol in check, and so much more. These baked avocado eggs will keep you full and satisfied until lunch.
Spicy Sweet Potato Nachos
The anti-carcinogenic properties found in sweet potatoes can help prevent cancer, and they're also great for heart health, thanks to a good source of B6 vitamins and potassium. Get your sweet potato dose with our take on a healthy-ish version of nachos.
Salmon Cakes & Spicy Tartar Sauce
Not only is salmon delicious, it also has some impressive health benefits. It contains a high concentration of B vitamins which are essential in turning food into the energy your body needs, as well as reducing inflammation that can lead to heart disease. Whip up these salmon cakes for a quick, healthy dinner.
Pumpkin Seed Overnight Oats
Also known as pepitas, 30 grams of these seeds (about 7.5 milligrams) contains nearly 80% of the recommended daily intake of zinc which helps support cell growth and development. Sprinkle over some oats or your favourite salad for an extra nutritional boost.
Curried Lentil & Chicken Soup
Lentils are a good source of fibre, protein, minerals and vitamins&mdashall while being super low in calories and fat. Try them in this curried lentil soup with chicken for an extra boost of protein.
Edamame & Blueberry Salad With Herbed Chicken
Blueberries are packed with antioxidants and phytoflavinoids (compounds that protect our bodies from stress) and are also high in potassium and vitamin C, making them a great addition to your diet. Add these berries to some plain Greek yogurt or try it with our edamame and chicken salad.
Vegetarian Watermelon Poke Bowl
So sweet and juicy, watermelon does a lot more than refresh you on a hot, summer day. It's an excellent source of vitamins C and A, and the high concentration of carotenoid lycopene found in this yummy fruit has antioxidant and cancer-preventing properties. Reap the rewards with this veggie poke bowl.
Looking to kick that stubborn flu? Elderberry syrup will help. A spoonful of this tasty herbal remedy will keep you happy and healthy all winter long.
Sautéed Mushroom Linguine
So delicious and versatile, mushrooms pack some seriously superfood nutritional benefits. They can help improve your immune system as well as lower hypertension and cholesterol. Indulge in a little while also nurturing your body with this easy and delicious pasta recipe.
This pretty, purple root vegetable can help lower blood pressure and aid overall heart health thanks to its high levels of nitrates. They can also help your endurance during cardio routines by enhancing the oxygen that gets to your muscles and thus reducing the work your heart needs to do during the exercise. You'll enjoy it in our almost too-pretty-to-eat risotto.
Squash, Quinoa & Pomegranate Salad
This recipe is packed with three superfoods we love but we're highlighting the beautiful and ruby red pomegranate. This fruit owes its superfood status to powerful antioxidants called polyphenols which have anti-cancer benefits and aid in overall heart health.
#7 – Garlic
Garlic has been used as a natural remedy for colds and flu for centuries, dating back to Ancient Greek times when patients were prescribed raw garlic cloves when suffering from flu like symptoms!
Garlic contains a unique compound called allicin, which has proven immune boosting properties, along with a rich sulfur content which has anti-microbial effects in the body.
In this large scale study, garlic consumption was shown to reduce the number of colds by 63% over a 12 week period!
Clementines are easy to peel and make them an easy snack to carry around to save you from any unwanted temptations. They are rich in potassium, vitamins A and C and fibre, and if that wasn&rsquot enough they are also low in sugar and calories. You can also pop them into your salads or stews for extra flavour and colour.
Swap the preserves or commercial sweet sauces for actual fresh fruit to your dishes. Your plate will not only look livelier but you&rsquoll gain more nutrients and fewer calories out of your dishes. Cranberries are in season, so try mixing them with lean cuts of meat, popping them into a yogurt snack with nuts or your lunchtime salad. Cranberries are rich in antioxidants which make them an ally against winter viruses and also give smoother skin. If you prepare them without added sugar, they&rsquove also been associated to help control bladder infections and glucose levels.
Reishi mushroom oil comes from a fungus that grows in various hot and humid locations in Asia. Reishi mushroom spore oil is a strong anti-inflammatory and has been associated with longevity and mental clarity. This powerful extract can also help boost immune systems and fight fatigue and depression.
Curcumin is the yellow pigment that is most often associated with the curry spice, turmeric. The extract exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects and is a strong antioxidant. Curcumin extract powder can be used in teas, tonics, roasted with veggies or blended into smoothies.
7 SUPERFOODS TO SEE YOU THROUGH THE WINTER
NUTRITIOUS & DELICIOUS WINTER FOODS
It’s the beginning of a New Year and in honor of MENU MONDAY we’re discussing 7 great foods to keep you happy and healthy all winter long. In fact, we’re going to be discussing 7 SUPERFOODS that thrive during the winter months and are always available and affordable.
And while we may not have access to wonderful fresh tomatoes, sweet corn on the cob, or summer peaches, we do have some great cold weather alternatives.
So, first let’s clear one thing up. What exactly is a superfood? Well, according to Amy Shapiro, a registered dietitian and the founder of Real Nutrition, “a food is promoted to superfood 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.”
Now add to this the common sense approach which simply states that a superfood is one that is:
- Cheaper because it’s abundant
- More nutritious because it’s in season
- Environmentally friendly because most seasonal produce is locally sourced
- Fresher because it’s harvested at the peak of ripeness and sold immediately.
Keeping all this in mind, here are some of the best choices of superfoods to grace your table and complement your diet this winter.
The avocado makes our list of health enriching foods every time. This delicious and nutritious choice is in season all year long. It’s packed with the healthy fat of omega 3s and vitamins B, C, E and K. It also offers folate, magnesium, potassium and riboflavin to lower cholesterol, protect against heart disease, increase energy, and improve digestion. Add them to your favorite salad, use them to whip up some guacamole or eat one plain as an afternoon snack.
This particular type of potato is loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants that guard against free radicals and inflammation. They are rich in fiber, minerals and vitamins that aid digestion, improve brain function, and protect our eyes and vision. This weight-friendly veggie is great in a souffle, soup or all by itself as the perfect side dish.
A member of the cabbage family, this dark green beauty is an excellent source of vitamin C, A and K. It contains plenty of fiber, potassium and selenium, which regulate weight and digestion, protect vision and help protect against cancer. Because it can be eaten cooked or raw, it makes a perfect on-the-go snack.
Fortunately, there are so many citrus fruits that are available all year long. They are packed with vitamin C, which is great for fighting cold weather flus and viruses. Oranges, lemons, and grapefruits also contain a multitude of minerals and plant-based phytochemicals that may help prevent cancer. Add them to your breakfast cereal, use them in a smoothie, use them as garnish for your afternoon tea. They’re all delicious, refreshing and weight-friendly.
Here we’re actually talking about several different varieties of squash, the most common being butternut, acorn and spaghetti squash. All are bursting with vitamins A, B, C and K, and all contain fiber, manganese, potassium, copper and cancer-fighting antioxidants. Winter squash improves our vision, lowers blood pressure, boosts our immune system, and strengthens our bones. Baked, roasted or boiled this winter superfood will please the palate, mind and body.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” We’ve heard this adage a thousand times and for good reason. Apples are a wonderful source of vitamin C, which is great for our immune system and for fighting winter colds and viruses. They’re low in calories, high in fiber, and contain polyphenols a type of antioxidant. Apples can lower blood pressure and protect against strokes and heart attacks. Cooked or raw, keep the skin on for maximum benefits and enjoy this versatile fruit all winter long.
This is one of the best foods and spices around. Ginger has been used for centuries to aid digestion, relieve nausea, and settle upset stomachs. It’s loaded with nutrients that help reduce muscle pain, fight inflammation and protect against heart disease. It has a wonderful flavor and can be added to any stir fry, salad, drink or dessert.
So, the next time you go the grocery store or visit the local farmer’s market, keep an eye out for all these luscious fruits and veggies. They’ll do wonders for your health and keep your taste buds satisfied even on the coldest of days!
And with that, thanks again for joining me everyone. I’m looking forward to a happy and healthy 2020, and I wish the same for you! Until next time, take care of yourself, stay in GOOD HEALTH and . . .
Take Precautions to Fight the Common Cold
In the peak of cold and flu season, it’s important to take extra measures to protect yourself from getting sick. Be sure to wash your hands regularly and use hand sanitizer after coming in contact with other people. It’s not too late to get your flu shot either – getting the vaccination will help your body flight off strains of the flu to keep you healthy all winter long. Additional precautions to take include sticking to a consistent sleep schedule to give your body the rest it needs to recharge and boost your immune system. You should also find ways to include vitamin and antioxidant-rich foods into your diet to keep yourself in tip-top shape.