Keep healthy this winter by including plenty of these 5 foods in your diet. Although there are fewer foods that are in season in winter than in summer, winter boasts some surprising health superstars. Here are 5 of the healthiest winter foods you should be eating.
Pomegranates are one of the world’s oldest fruits (Greco-Roman mythology, anyone?) as well as one of the most nutritious. Chances are you’ve tasted pomegranates in their newly popular juice form. And from a heart-healthy perspective, that’s probably a good thing. Pomegranate juice is rich in antioxidants (more so than other fruit juices)—just a cup daily might help to keep free radicals from oxidizing “bad” LDL cholesterol, according to a preliminary study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Oxidized LDL contributes to plaque buildup in the arteries.
Dark Leafy Greens
Trendy kale and flavorful collards have their moment in the sun (ironically) during the winter. These greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and K. Plus; they’re low in calories and versatile enough to fit nearly any dish. Kale and collard greens are members of the super-healthy brassica vegetable family, which means they aid in digestion, help lower cholesterol, and protect the body against cancer.
Dark winter days getting you down? Stock up on lemons, oranges, grapefruit, kumquats, blood oranges, limes, and clementine’s to get your citrus fix this winter. Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids, which may reduce risk of cancer. The predominant flavonoid in these fruits—hesperidin—is credited with boosting “good” HDL cholesterol and lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Citrus consumption has also been linked to lower risk of a laundry list of ailments, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cholera, gingivitis, cataracts, and Crohn’s disease.
Potatoes sometimes get a bad rap for being a white starch, thrown into the same category as white rice or white bread. But unlike those other starches, which have indeed been stripped of healthful nutrients, potatoes are a whole food that contains several beneficial nutrients. They are an excellent source of two immunity boosters—vitamins C and B6, delivering 25% and 29% of your daily needs per medium potato, respectively. If you can find purple potatoes, you’ll get an added health boon—they are rich in anthocyanins—antioxidants that are linked to a host of health benefits, from lowering cancer and heart disease risk to quelling inflammation.
There are many varieties of winter squash—including butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash—and they are all excellent choices in the winter. One cup of cooked winter squash has few calories (around 80) but is high in both vitamin A (214 percent of the recommended daily value) and vitamin C (33 percent), as well as being a good source of vitamins B6 and K, potassium and folate.