When the cold months of winter hit, it is important to boost the immune system with superfoods. With the summer vegetables and fruits out of season, that means looking towards vitamin-dense winter squash and potassium-rich kale.
Keep reading to learn more about the winter superfoods to add to your grocery list.
Cauliflower Is Loaded With Vitamins
The best thing about cauliflower is that many recipes cater to the vegetable. Whether it’s buffalo, raw on a salad, or steamed with a bit of seasoning, cauliflower still contains the same amount of nutrients.
It contains high traces of vitamins B, C, and K and a compound known as isothiocyanate. Studies have been done linking this compound to the breakdown of cancerous cells.
Cabbage Is 92% Water And Full Of Nutrients
Cabbage is a wonderful ingredient that can be added in soups, as a wrap for ground meat, or for an extra crunch in a salad. Even though it is 92% water, cabbage is also rich in nutrients.
Cabbage contains high amounts of vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, potassium and has been found to reduce cholesterol. Keep an eye out for this superfood between late fall and early spring.
Brussels Sprouts Are Full Of Good Nutrients
Brussels sprouts are a fantastic winter vegetable, as they are not only tasty but are also packed with healthy nutrients to keep a person’s immune system running smoothly during those colder months.
According to dietitian Amy Shapiro, MS, CDN, and founder of Real Nutrition, “These mini cruciferous veggies are high in vitamins K and C, and also contain folate, manganese, potassium, and vitamin B6.”
Citrus Fruits Are High In Vitamin C
While they might not be as big as they are during the summertime, citrus fruits should still be on everyone’s radar. Rich in vitamin C, lemons, oranges, and even grapefruits are amazing options for those months where runny noses are at an all-time high.
According to Ojai Friend’s Ranch, the best citrus during the wintertime are navel and blood oranges.
Kale Is Potassium Rish
When bananas go out of season, kale is a great option to get a solid potassium intake. According to dietitian Sarah Rueven MS, CDN, founder of Rooted Wellness, “Potassium can help reduce blood pressure by removing excess sodium from the body.”
“In fact, increasing potassium intake might be just as impactful as reducing sodium intake for lowering blood pressure.”
Broccoli Has Compounds That Might Help Fight Cancer
Not only does one cup of broccoli have more than the daily does of a person’s vitamin C needs, but it is also said to have compounds that might be helpful in fighting off cancer.
According to dietitian Sarah Rueven, “Studies have shown that cruciferous vegetables like broccoli contain compounds which may be protective against cancer….” Of course, more studies need to be administered.
Beets Are Full Of Folate, Potassium, And Beta Carotene
Beets are in season for most of the year and are typically easy to find in a local grocery store, making them a must-have on every shopping list. These root vegetables are high in folate, potassium, and beta carotene.
The latter actually converts into vitamin A, something that is known to be a good boost for the immune system.
Leeks Are A High Source Of Magnesium
According to dietitian Sarah Rueven, many people are magnesium deficient, something that can lead to irritability and anxiety. There is no need for either of those things during the winter.
So, it is a great idea to add leeks to each grocery shopping list. The vegetable is a high source of magnesium and is a magnificent addition to soups.
Avocados Are Full Of Healthy Fats
Contrary to popular belief, avocados are not solely a summer fruit. They are a great superfood to add to any meal during the winter months (at least until December!).
Not only are avocados rich in healthy omega-3 fats, but they also contain magnesium, potassium, multiple B vitamins, and vitamins C, E, and K.
Ginger Improves Digestion And The Immune System
Unfortunately, the winter months are known to bring a lot of illnesses. Thankfully, ginger is a great way to boost the immune system. For centuries, ginger root has been used to aid in digestion, improve the immune system, and soothe upset stomachs.
Throw a little ginger in a hot stir fry dish or seep it and make fresh ginger tea.
Sweet Potatoes Fight Inflammation
Sweet potatoes are a wintertime crowd pleaser. A good thing, too, since they are rich in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is known to help fight inflammation and free radical damage.
They are a great addition to soups, salads and are the perfect sweet and savory side to anything from chicken to pork.
Winter Squash Is Full Of Vitamins, Fiber, And More
Starting in early fall, winter squash such as acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash grace grocery store shelves. These superfoods are packed with fiber, protein beta carotene, magnesium, and even vitamins C and B6.
According to Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, winter squash has a wide range of health benefits, including the potential to decrease cholesterol and blood pressure.
Apples Contain Pectin, A Fiber Which Reduces Cholesterol
Apples not only contain a solid amount of vitamin C but also contain pectin, a fiber that is known to reduce cholesterol. It is the perfect fruit to eat during the cooler months.
According to dietitian Sarah Rueven, it is important to also eat the apple peel, as the peel contains “a large percentage of the fiber and phytonutrients…”
Parsnips Are A High Source Of Digestion-Improving Fiber
Parsnips almost taste like a carrot and can easily be swapped out with the other root vegetable in many recipes.
According to dietitian Amy Shapiro, people should think about the swap since parsnips “provide valuable digestion-improving fiber and folate, which can help build brain cells.” Parsnips are in season from late fall until early spring, so people have a long time to master their favorite way of cooking the root vegetable!
Pomegranates Improve Heart Health And Fight Infections
Delicious and in season from September to February, pomegranates are a great addition to salads, yogurt, and even a topping of chia seed pudding or a smoothie bowl. They’re also a great source of polyphenols.
According to dietitian Amy Shapiro, “polyphenols are known to improve heart health, fight infection, and improve memory.”
Swiss Chard Contains A Lot Of Protein
Swiss chard is a great soup addition for cold winter nights. The best part of the soup is its nutrient-dense ingredient. This vegetable contains many nutrients, particularly fiber in its leaves, that are great for digestive health.
Along with the fiber, Swiss chard also contains a sizable amount of protein.
Fennel Can Help Improve Heartburn And IBS
The licorice taste of fennel might not be for everyone, but the winter vegetable is packed with nutrients. According to dietitian Amy Shapiro, fennel is high in calcium, iron, magnesium, fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, and phosphorus.
Every part of fennel is edible and has been used to improve digestive health as well as the symptoms of IBS and heartburn. Studies have shown that eating fennel can protect cells from oxidative stress.
Persimmons Are A Nutrient-Dense Powerhouse
Persimmons pack a nutrient-dense punch. This fruit is a powerhouse, full of half of a person’s daily vitamin A needs. According to dietitian Sarah Rueven, “vitamin A is important for immune function and eye health.”
This fruit is in season from October to February and is the perfect sweet addition to any salad.
Turnips Can Help With Cardiovascular Health
While most people go for the root vegetable part of turnips, the really nutrient-dense part of the food is in its leafy greens. The tops of turnips are full of dietary nitrate.
According to a study done in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, “Dietary nitrate has been demonstrated to have a range of beneficial vascular effects, including reducing blood pressure…enhancing exercise performance in healthy individuals and patients with peripheral arterial disease.”
Endive Boosts Digestive Health
Whether it’s sautéed, braised, or roasted, one thing remains constant: endive is a great source of nutrients. They are rich in potassium, beta carotene, and vitamin A which boosts the immune system.
This particular vegetable also has a high amount of fiber which is amazing for a person’s digestive health.