Breaking out the warm sweaters, scarves, hats, boots, and jackets is all part of the season. They offer warmth and protection from winter weather, but bundling up isn’t the only way to fight back against cold weather. It’s time for a winter survival guide — foodie style.
Superfoods are those healthy foods that have a little something extra. Vitamins, minerals, proteins, and fiber are only some of the benefits that can be found in the extensive range of superfood-food lists. Eating healthy in-season may have the reputation of being a summer, spring, and fall diet plan. Farmers Markets are easily accessible, and the natural of sweetness of berries or melons make them great additions to desserts. But don’t be fooled — winter has its fair share of the superfood glory. Whether you find yourself a chronic battler of the common cold, someone who is ready to kick-start their fitness program, or trying to incorporate more seasonal foods into your meals, you’ll find seven delicious superfood options for meals this winter.
This vibrant red fruit is not only in season during the winter months, it is also high in polyphenols, including flavonoids and tannins, which act as antioxidants according to Registered Dietitian (R.D.) Jill Taufer. Pomegranates can provide folate, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin B6 for your diet as well. As it packs nutrients into your body, it is also fighting inflammation and free radical damage through its antioxidants. Meeting daily potassium requirements is important, especially if you’re hitting the gym during long winter nights, because potassium levels can drop as you sweat.
For sufferers of poor circulation, cinnamon might be the spice for your life. Dr. Stephen Sinatra explains research which shows cinnamon may trigger the release of nitric oxide. Blood vessels then widen, increasing circulation and blood flow. Cinnamon, like pomegranates, has antioxidants that battle back against inflammation. Research has also shown that cinnamon helps keep blood sugar levels stable.
3. Winter Squash
Another food great for winter-workout recovery and all-around health – winter squash. Suzanne Girard Eberle, R.D. says that after a run outdoors in cold conditions, ”it’s nice to come home to a warm and healthy dish.” Of course, it is always nice to come home to a warm, healthy dish when the temperatures plummet. Half a cup will provide you with one-third of your daily target for vitamin C, important for immune system health. It will also give you more than 100 percent of needed beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, and Eberle note that this ”keeps the mucous membranes working properly.” Winter squash can help hydrate the body as well.
Poor persimmon, it is often labeled a “forgotten” winter fruit. R.D. Alexandra Hardy likes the idea of persimmons as a snack or addition to a meal. Vitamins A and C help out the immune system and with plenty of fiber, but no cholesterol, sodium, or fat, they make for a great addition to a healthy winter diet.
If you’re trying to get the most bang for your nutritional buck when it comes to healthy food items, look no further than broccoli. One serving gives you more than double the daily needed percent of vitamin C, and adds vitamins A, B6, K, iron, calcium, potassium, and much more to your plate. Like with persimmon and winter squash, broccoli is an immune system booster. Researchers have found that large doses of vitamin C while battling the common cold may help shorten the length of time you suffer the sniffly symptoms.
World’s Healthiest Foods explains that broccoli aids in all three steps of detoxification in the body: activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants, making it a potent addition to a post-holiday pig-out detox plan. It can help all winter with vitamin D too. Vitamin A and K balance levels of vitamin D in the diet, so if you incorporate vitamin D rich foods, or take a supplement during the winter, broccoli will help keep everything in check.
Quinoa is a shockingly versatile grain; depending on how it is cooked, it can make for a nice warm breakfast or a side dish at dinner. Researchers call it a “complete food” because its amino acid balance, protein content, and other vitamins and minerals.
Medical Daily listed some of those other vitamins and minerals as: magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, lysine, manganese, and iron. One cup of the grain has five grams of fiber, and eight grams of protein. It is a seed, related to spinach and beetroots, and is gluten-free.
With legumes, warming winter soups just got a lot healthier. R.D. Susan Moores says kidney, garbanzo, black, white, and pinto beans, or lentils “have a hearty, meaty taste to them, which makes them great on a cold winter day in a soup or a stew.” Warm up by incorporating legumes, and benefit from a lean vegetable protein, that also rank high for their soluble fiber, folate, magnesium, iron, and potassium content. The fiber will keep you feeling fuller longer, a key way to battle winter-weight gain.
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