Winter Superfoods

Verdure e frutta invernale mista,We’re back with our seasonal edition of superfoods and today we’re focusing on winter superfoods!  We’ve got the best fruits and vegetables to nourish your wintertime meals and help stave off seasonal illnesses, ailments and even emotional lows.  Add these winter superfoods to your diet for a super-charged season:

Winter Squash:  Move over fall pumpkins, winter squash is taking the spotlight this season.  Filled with the same nutritious beta-carotene as pumpkins, winter squash include butternut squash, spaghetti squash and acorn squash, among others.  Each variety has its own merits and specialties.  Spaghetti squash yields long thin strands and makes a great alternative to pasta.  Other squashes can replace regular squash or zucchini during winter or can be whipped into faux mash potatoes for a lighter, lower-carb version of a winter classic.

Fennel:  Hailing from the Mediterranean, fennel is bursting with vitamins and minerals including potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A and many others.  It has cardio-protective properties, strengthens the immune system, intensifies bony capacity and combats inflammation.  The distinctive fennel bulb has a licorice-like flavor that adds robust intrigue to many cuisines.

Beetroot:  This beautiful deep red root vegetable has a high concentration of antioxidants that help counteract free radicals that damage bodily cells.  Beets can be served cold, often as salad toppers, baked or as a soup puree.  Even the leafy top is nutritious and can be cooked with the flesh of the vegetable for added value.

Jicama:  Most commonly found in Central America and Asia, jicama is a crunchy vegetable with a slightly nutty, refreshing flavor.  It is often chunked or shredded and tossed into salads for a little phyto-crunch, but it can also be eaten raw in strips.  Jam-packed with Vitamin C for immune strength as well as iron, potassium and fiber, jicama is a great low-calorie snack option.

Avocado:  In the U.S., avocado is eaten all year long but it is truly in season in the wintertime.  It is a terrific plant source of omega-3 and omega-6 essential fatty acids, plus other healthy monounsaturated fats. Avocado also contains folate and the B vitamins, all of which are good for disease-prevention and have heart-healthy benefits.

Pears:  Sweet and scrumptious, pears are a wonderful winter superfood.  Although the saying goes, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” in wintertime we can include pears as well.  They contain Vitamin B2, Vitamin E, pectin and copper, which help lower bad cholesterol levels and support the cardiovascular system.  Plus, pears come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes to add to your winter kitchen décor.

Pomegranates:  Pomegranates are rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, two super-charged antioxidant categories that help stave off cancer and other diseases caused by cellular mutations.  This festively bright red fruit is somewhat difficult to gut but once you do the work, the sweet and tart pomegranate beads are your treat.  Add them to salads, cereals or pop them individually as a snack.

Kiwi:  Little fuzzy kiwis are a small fruit with a large amount of nutrients.  One kiwi contains more Vitamin C than an orange plus it has great fiber and potassium that yield heart-health benefits.  Kiwis are good for digestion, smooth skin and even help you sleep better.

Tangelo:  This mix between a tangerine and a pomelo has enough Vitamin C to meet your daily recommended value.  Vitamin C is, of course, known to boost immune strength and has terrific disease-fighting capacity.  Tangelos are a fabulous twist on more common citrus fruits that are ripe during winter.  And tangelos are easy to carry for an on-the-go wintertime pick-me-up.

What are you waiting for?  Enjoy these winter superfoods today!

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