Are the short winters days getting you down? Does the chill in the air making you want to crawl back under the blankets? Then keep reading!
Check out these ten seasonal superfoods that will help lighten your mood and put a spring back int your step, even before the snow melts!
There’s a lot more on their resume than just jack-o-lantern grins or grimaces. Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, linked to a reduced risk of death from certain cancers in independent studies, and they contribute to heart health. Pumpkins are high in fiber, low in calories, sodium, and fat. And toasted pumpkin seeds are just packed with iron and magnesium.
Sure, they resemble carrots, but parsnips’ sweeter, nuttier flavor is unequaled in Bugs Bunny’s favorite snack. An excellent add-in to rice and potatoes, pureed into sauces and soups, or drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven, parsnips are rich in potassium and very high in fiber.
Butternut & other ‘Winter’ Squash
One of the healthiest foods around is the often overlooked butternut squash. Similar in health benefits to pumpkin, butternut squash is beneficial for strengthening the immune system and treating cancer thanks to its high vitamin C content. It’s also great for improving skin elasticity, helping us maintain our youthfulness as we age. Can’t find butternut at your local grocer? Look for Acorn, Hubbard, Turban, or any of the winter season squashes.
Don’t scrunch up your face when these little ones find their way onto your plate. Brussels sprouts mild, slightly bitter taste is the perfect complement to savory and tangy sauces (think balsamic vinegar), and they deliver valuable amounts of folate, vitamin K, and iron. They help the body detoxify and prevent painful inflammation.
Yummy kale contains lutein, responsible for protecting your vision against cataracts and macular degeneration. Along with beta-carotene, kale is also high in vitamin E, folate, calcium, and magnesium, essential for keeping bones strong, and muscle cells healthy.
Ginger Root is a must for autumn dishes. Increasing circulation and lowering blood pressure has never been so easy, or tasted so good. Many people also find ginger helpful in the treatment of migraines and arthritis. It’s also an excellent, natural cure for indigestion and nausea, including bouts of morning sickness.
Bell peppers, especially red peppers, are ideal sources of vitamin C; just one pepper contains as much as three oranges! And the capsaicin in bell peppers helps control diabetes, eases inflammation, relieves pain, and reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol.
Raw or baked, tart or sweet, apples are one superfood everyone should be eating daily. Apples have been shown to help stave off Alzheimer’s, protect against Parkinson’s disease, prevent gallstones, promote colon health, neutralize irritable bowel syndrome, boost your immune system, and prevent cataracts.
Pomegranates (aka Winter Jewels)
Legend has it that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, planted the very first pomegranate tree in Cyprus. So it should be no wonder that pomegranates are linked to increased blood flow that improves overall sexual potency.
Okay – not true winter produce, but tomatoes can grow amazingly well indoors. Small tomato plants can thrive in sunrooms or other sunny parts of your home.
Rich in lycopene, Tomatoes are linked to a reduced risk of prostate, lung, and breast cancers in studies. They also have positive effects on heart health, lessening the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. And since cooking helps to activate lycopene, autumn is the perfect time to get a big pot of your favorite pasta sauce simmering for a warm, healthy evening meal. (Throw in some red peppers for additional benefits!)