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Top 5 Healthiest Winter Foods

Mar 6, 2015 //

In the winter when the sky is gray and the weather’s cold, it
can be hard to live healthily
. It can be hard to summon the energy to
exercise, and a lot of people don’t get the nutrition they need. Even though
some of the healthy foods you enjoy in the summer are unavailable or expensive
during the winter, eating in winter can still be nutritious and delicious. Here
are some of the healthiest
winter foods
.

1. Citrus   

Unlike some fruits that are better in the summer, citrus
fruits tend to be at their best in the winter. Citrus
fruits like oranges
, grapefruits, limes and lemons aren’t only juicy and
delicious, they have a number of wonderful health benefits. They contain lots
of vitamin C—eating a large orange can provide you with more than 100% of your
RDA—and they also contain flavenoids, which may help to lower LDL and triglycerides,
which can contribute to cardiovascular disease.

Eat citrus fresh, juice it, or add it to a smoothie.

2. Winter Squash

Winter squash is another food that’s great for eating in
winter. Hard squashes like acorn and butternut are vitamin-dense. A cup of
backed acorn squash only has 115 calories, but it has 9 grams of fiber, over
20% of your RDA of vitamin B-1 and B-6, 21% of your daily folate, 37% of your
vitamin C and over 30% of your daily magnesium.

Butternut squash is similarly impressive. With only 82
calories per cup, it contains nearly six grams of fiber, over 175% of your
vitamin A, 22% of your folic acid and over half your RDA of vitamin C.

Some people turn winter squash into a much higher-calorie
meal than it needs to be by slathering it with butter or syrup. Try cutting
back. You may not need more than a sprinkle of brown sugar or a splash of
melted butter. If you can get used to the natural taste of the squash, you may
find that baked squash becomes one of your best winter recipes.

3. Pomegranate

Pomegranate is a fruit that’s great for eating in winter. This
delicious fruit
contains extremely high levels of antioxidants, and studies
suggest that it may be able to help prevent or slow the buildup of plaque in
the arteries. Pomegranates are at their best and most available in the winter,
so enjoy them while you can.

You can eat pomegranate seeds by themselves, cook with them,
add a handful to a salad, place them into a smoothie, or even juice them. One
easy way to get fresh pomegranate juice doesn’t require any special equipment.
Simply take your pomegranate and roll it firmly on your table or counter. You
should be able to hear the seeds cracking inside and letting the juice out.
Continue rolling the fruit until you can’t hear any more crackling. Then,
simply pierce the skin of the pomegranate and squeeze the juice out.

If you’re juicing your pomegranates or adding them to a
smoothie, make sure that you only get the seeds. The white, translucent
membrane of the pomegranate is very bitter, and your juice will taste much
better without it.

If fresh pomegranates are too much work, you can also buy
pomegranate juice from the stores.

4. Dark, Leafy Greens

Although you might associate leafy greens with the summer
time, there are some greens that do well in the winter. Kale, collard and
mustard greens, escarole and chards all do well in the winter. Kale
in particular
may actually make better eating in
winter than in summer, because the frost can help to tone down some of its
bitterness.

Kale is high in beta-carotene, folate, magnesium, vitamin C,
and a wealth of other nutrients.

5. Cranberries

Traditionally used at Thanksgiving, cranberries are a great
winter food when they’re not stewed in sugar. They are low in calories,
relatively high in fiber, and they contain significant amounts of vitamin C.
Try adding cranberries to your best winter recipes. They can be a great
addition to salads, muffins or breads, and adding a small handful to a smoothie
can add a little welcome tartness. Don’t use too much, though, or it may taste
too bitter.

Other Healthy Winter Foods

These certainly aren’t the only healthy winter foods.
Potatoes thrive in the winter, and they contain folate and vitamins C and B6.
Legumes like beans and lentils are rich in fiber and protein. Eating fatty
fish, seeds and nuts can give you Omega 3s, which can help keep your heat
healthy and may help chase away the winter blues. Turkey is a great winter food
because it’s lean and high in protein.

If you look for healthy options that are available in
season, you’ll soon find that eating in winter can be good for you and delicious.

 

Sources:

  • http://pomegranates.org/index.php?c=7
  • http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/healthy-winter-foods
  • http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/5_of_the_healthiest_winter_foods
  • http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-eats/healthy-eating/5-foods-to-beat-the-winter-blues
Christian Heftel

Christian Heftel is a freelance writer and fitness enthusiast. He is a certified yoga instructor, a teacher of Yau Man Kung Fu and a general lover of outdoor activity. When he's not writing, he enjoys spending time with his wife and son.

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