Winter Wellness: Embracing the Nutritional Power of Seasonal Vegetables
February 01, 2024
This time of year, there's abundant cold-weather produce to choose from. Winter vegetables are planted and harvested when the thermometer begins to drop. Certain vegetables do better in the winter and can combat those cold temperatures because they store more sugar, which gives these winter morsels a sweeter taste. Winter vegetables can be used in a variety of ways in your diet. Some are great raw as salads like kale and Swiss Chard, while others are better cooked like turnips and winter squashes. Here are a selection of tasty winter vegetables to add to your menu with nutritional information and cooking suggestions:
Although kale is available year-round, it thrives in cold weather. It is very nutrient-dense, providing vitamins A, K, C, and folate, along with the minerals potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It is also a good source of fiber. Kale is excellent raw as a salad or in a salad with other greens, but it is also good to stir fry with onions, garlic, and tomatoes, add to some leftover cooked brown rice, and then top with a couple of fried eggs. YUM!
A winter root vegetable like carrots, parsnips grow sweeter as the temperature drops. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins B, C, and E, as well as manganese, potassium, and magnesium. They are delicious cut up and roasted with other winter vegetables like leeks and Brussels sprouts or blended into a soup.
Brussels sprouts are a popular vegetable, especially when roasted hot and crispy. They belong to the cruciferous family of vegetables, along with broccoli and cauliflower. One of the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables is that they are high in a phytochemical called sulforaphane, which may protect against cancer. It helps the detoxification process in the body and reduces free radical damage. Brussels sprouts are also high in fiber and vitamins B, C, and K.
With a mild, sweet flavor, Swiss Chard is less bitter than other leafy greens. One serving provides a whole day's supply of vitamin K, a vital and underrated nutrient. It is also a good source of vitamins A and C. It is excellent raw chopped in a salad, and sautéing rainbow card with other vegetables makes a tasty and colorful side dish.
Carrots are a trendy vegetable, both raw and cooked. It is known for supplying an abundance of vitamin A. Dipped in hummus or bean dip, carrots make a tasty snack. Try them cut and roasted with fingerling potatoes, onions, and cauliflower for a delicious side.
Winter squashes are both tasty and super high in nutrition. You can find them in abundance in the fall and winter. Some of the most popular are butternut and acorn. Spaghetti squash is a fantastic substitute for pasta if you are trying to reduce carbohydrates in your diet. Several health benefits include supplying vitamin A and potassium plus many carotenoids, which can help protect the body against cancer and certain eye diseases.
This vibrant red root vegetable has many health benefits. Research has shown beets can lower blood pressure and support heart health. Beets have a mild earthy flavor with a slight sweetness. Beets are great shredded raw into a salad or blended into a smoothie. They are also tasty when roasted with olive oil and some balsamic syrup.
Another vegetable in the cruciferous family, cabbage boasts vast amounts of vitamins C and K. Both red and white cabbage are great to add to your diet. Shred some raw into a salad or make a healthy homemade slaw. It can be a great addition to a soup or stew when cooked.
Diet and Nutrients , Blog