The start of cold weather bring thoughts of slow-cooked stews, hearty casseroles and other fall and winter favorites. When planning the menu this season, consider some of these end-of-the-year superfoods to include in your meals for a healthy holiday season!
Brussel sprouts are a traditional Thanksgiving favorite, but they are also incredibly healthy for you! It is load with sulfur – which helps to reduce the risk of cancer development. And it also is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep you healthy through the cold and flu season.
Apples are another quintessential fruit for the fall and winter – and they are also one of the healthiest. They are rich in vitamins (including Vitamin A and C), high in fiber to help avoid winter weight gain and are one of the fruits with the highest levels of antioxidants to maintain a healthy immune system.
A member of the crucifer family like Brussels sprouts, cauliflower can be used to make low-carb versions of many holiday favorites, such as mashed “potatoes”. It, too, is incredibly high in sulfur and dietary fiber and is low on the glycemic index as well. All this can make holiday fare much healthier!
Whether in a casserole or mashed, sweet potatoes lend a wonderful flavor to fall dishes. They are healthier and lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes and also rich in Vitamins A and C and carotenoids like beta-carotene which can strengthen immunity and reduce oxidative cell damage.
Pomegranates are freshest in fall of the year, which is great news since they are a powerhouse of antioxidants like Vitamin C and ellagitannin compounds. These strengthen the immune system and make it less likely that your body will succumb to illness or infection.
Turnips are often part of cold-weather dishes like stews and they are a wonderful fall or winter treat. Apart from their rich, nutty flavor, they are also incredibly high in fiber and contain phytonutrients like indole that have demonstrated cancer-fighting properties.
Rutabagas, like turnips, are often found in the heavier soups and stews that come out in the fall and winter. They are rich in Vitamin C, providing nearly 53% of the recommended daily intake! They are also fiber-rich and are a good source of healthful antioxidants and minerals.
Winter squashes, like their warm-weather cousins, are rich in Vitamins A, B, C, E and K as well as calcium and magnesium. Vitamin A is particularly good for cold weather as it has antioxidant properties to keep your immunity strong and can also support and nourish skin health.
This particular winter squash deserves to be mentioned all by itself because it is so healthy! It is high in beta-carotene like carrots and similarly-colored vegetables. It also has three grams of fiber per serving, which is great for the digestive system. Even the seeds are healthful to consume.
Another wonder root vegetable for cold weather dishes, parsnips are rich in folate, potassium and Vitamin C and are also incredibly high in fiber. The potassium is particularly beneficial as it can offset the blood pressure problems caused by sodium and regulate it naturally.
So make your fall and winter healthy – add these superfoods to your holiday menu!
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