7 Delicious Superfoods to Charge Your Batteries This Winter
Summer is the perfect season to enjoy fresh, savory goods packed with vitamins. In fact, even autumn is a great moment to meet your nutritional needs with delicious veggies and fruit (grapes and pumpkin anyone?).
But as the temperature starts dropping, so does our mood for salads. After all, winter is made for hot chocolate and baked goodies, right?
Well, sort of. However, your body’s nutritional needs remain the same all-year-round and it’s our job to provide the best foods to stay healthy. We also need to make sure that our meal choices strengthen the immune system since there may be more viruses and germs lurking around during these months (not to mention the pandemic).
Luckily, there are plenty of delicious superfoods you can enjoy even during the cold season to increase your energy levels.
What are ‘superfoods,’ you ask? Let’s start by answering this question first.
What is a superfood?
Okay, I’ll admit that there is no scientific definition for the term ‘superfood.’ This word is commonly used to describe a food with a very valuable nutritious value (vitamins, minerals or macronutrients like protein, fats and carbs).
Amy Shapiro, MS, registered dietitian and founder of Real Nutrition, explains that a food becomes a superfood when it meets one or more of the following criteria:
- Offers plenty of vitamins and minerals
- Is rich in antioxidants that fight off free radicals
- Prevents long-term chronic illnesses
- Provides other valuable health benefits
7 delicious winter superfoods
Today, we’re privileged enough to choose from a very wide variety of foods right from the nearest grocery store. Here are 7 superfoods you can enjoy during the winter months:
Whether we talk about acorn or butternut squash, both options are great (and delicious) superfoods and you can even find them during fall! Some of the most notable qualities of winter squash are its high content of fiber, magnesium and vitamins C and B6.
This food is also rich in beta carotene, which provides you with a healthy dose of antioxidants. Not impressed? My post ‘What’s All The Fuss About Antioxidants?’ explains exactly how these little guys can save your life and preserve your health in the long run naturally.
As a side benefit, squash is very versatile in terms of cooking. If you’re a cooking enthusiast, you can enjoy a delicious pie with your loved ones, while the lazier of us can simply roast it in the oven with a pinch of cinnamon on top.
If you’re looking for an ally to prevent and fight-off winter viruses, then ginger is your best friend. This plant has been used for centuries mainly to improve digestion or cure digestive problems.
What our ancestors may not have known is that ginger also strengthens the immune system and helps your body fight off illnesses caused by viruses (common cold or the flu). The best part? The freshest ginger roots are harvested in the winter months!
Since ginger has a fairly strong flavor, it’s best to be cautious about how much you’re adding to your meals. Generally, this food works best In Asian-inspired dishes or as a fresh ginger tea.
Am I the only one who associates the smell of oranges with Christmas? Anyway, if you’re looking for a healthy snack that keeps you hydrated too, citrus fruits are the best winter option.
These fruits basically burst with vitamin C, a crucial micronutrient for strong immunity and healthy bones. Whether you like oranges, grapefruits, lemons or other alternatives, all varieties are high in minerals and phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals known for reducing cancer risks).
For a delicious experience, you should opt for navel and blood oranges because they naturally become ripe during the coldest months of the year.
According to Shapiro, Brussels sprouts are one of the best cruciferous veggies to enjoy during winter. Aside from being a great source of vitamins K and C, this type of sprouts is also rich in folate, manganese, vitamin B6 and potassium.
If you’re usually including these veggies to your Thanksgiving menu, you probably already know they’re harvested in late fall. One of the most delicious ways to enjoy them is by tossing halves in avocado oil, sea salt and pepper; roast them in the oven and you get the ideal side dish for a balanced lunch or dinner!
Sweet potatoes are another powerful source of antioxidants due to their high beta-carotene content (the same nutrient that gives them the orange hue). Their peak season ranges between October and December, which means you get several months to enjoy their health benefits.
You can enjoy this delicious veggie by making a soup, pie or simply roast it with some condiments on top.
Doctors always recommend broccoli, but do you know why?
This green vegetable is loaded with vitamin C which improves your immunity – more than 100% of your Recommended Daily Value. Multiple studies have also proved that cruciferous vegetables – broccoli included – provide you with protective compounds against cancer. While more research needs to be done on the subject, this is yet another proof of their positive nutritional impact.
The best part about broccoli is that it takes literally a couple of minutes of boiling and seasoning to get a healthy, balanced side dish for dinner or lunch. The peak season for broccoli is between October to April, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy its benefits!
When I think of avocados, the first things that come to my mind are summer guacamole and tacos. However, Shapiro points out that the ideal season to consume this superfood is in winter!
Aside from being a great source of healthy fats, avocado is also rich in B vitamins such as niacin and folate, B6 vitamins and magnesium and potassium.
Looking for more useful nutrition content? Try one of our posts:
- Are Chia Seeds Really That Beneficial? These 5 Facts Say YES
- 9 Amazing Things That Happen When You Eat Bananas
- 5 Side-Effects of Soy You Should Know About
What is your favorite winter meal? Share your recipes in the comment section and let’s keep our taste buds and body happy!