Winter is coming, but with these nine nutritious superfoods, you can feel like your best self all year long. Boost your immunity, crank up your energy and revitalize your hair and skin when you add some of these tasty (and comforting) superfoods to your plate.
During the bleak months of winter, strengthening your immune system and boosting your mood are top priorities. Luckily some of the most powerful superfoods out there happen to be the tastiest ingredients in many of the comforting dishes we crave in winter. Stock up on these six flavour-packed eats, and you'll be glowing all winter long.
Cinnamon is a spice your body automatically craves in the colder months — it’s festive and tastes delicious sprinkled on a hot drink. And according to Jane Dizon, nurse and health and lifestyle blogger at RoadHolland.com, there’s more to this “super” spice than meets the eye, “Cinnamon is a natural vasodilator (makes blood vessels wider) that helps boost blood circulation, especially to those poor, cold extremities of yours during the coldest months of the year. You just need a sprinkle a day to enjoy the benefits of cinnamon.” Bonus points if you add cinnamon to another superfood, like coffee (below)!
It seems too good to be true — your feel-good cup of joe isn't actually a vice but a health-boosting elixir! It's been proven that java drinkers actually live longer than non-sippers and have less risk of Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's and diabetes. Drinking two to three cups per day lets you cash in on many antioxidants as well as magnesium, a known stress-reducing mineral. Splurge on fair trade, high-quality beans to ensure you get the best boost.
At only 70 calories per egg, this superfood is an excellent addition to a low-calorie diet. Eggs are high in iron, vitamin B12 and amino acids, which keeps your skin and hair looking radiant. Starting your day off with two of these will give you nearly half your day's requirement of protein, so you'll be able to stave off cravings throughout the day. Whipping up a quiche or hard-boiling them to top salads makes for a quick and satisfying weeknight dinner. Look for organic, free-range eggs to avoid added antibiotics.
Onions and garlic have long been appreciated for their medicinal value. Both are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and they improve immune function, making them great for cold and flu season. They also clean out toxins in women's blood cells. Sautée and then add them to root vegetable hash, stir-fries or pasta sauces.
If you’ve got a hankering for citrus fruit during some of the coldest month of the year, your body may be trying to tell you something. According to Felicia Hackett, registered dietitian and nutrition expert at Hilton Head Health, a weight loss retreat in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, citrus fruits like grapefruits, oranges, clementines, and blood oranges make for a great winter superfood pick since they are in season. She explains, “These foods are high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant, and aid in iron absorption — plus citrus is rich in fiber and water, two things that help you stay fuller longer. Try a new citrus fruit this season. My recommendation is the Cara Cara orange. Cara Cara’s have a pretty pink flesh, low acidity and are quite tasty. Have it as a quick bite or to jumpstart your morning.”
This decadent nut is a powerhouse of healthy fats, age-defying antioxidants (the highest concentration of all tree nuts) and fibre, so they'll help keep you feeling satisfied for longer after eating. Pecans are incredibly versatile snacks. Just as tasty in savoury dishes as in sweet ones, they make a great addition to cereals or topping for berries and Greek yogourt, or enjoy them as a simple appetizer with goat cheese and crackers.
Along with oranges, persimmon is one of the few flavorful fruits you'll find on the winter superfood list, considering that most fruits aren’t in season during the colder months. For those who crave some of nature's candy during the winter, Dizon says, “If you’re looking for a healthy snack with no sodium, cholesterol or fat but rather packed with lots of vitamins and fiber, then this yummy orange-colored fruit is the one. Persimmons are usually in season from September to December. If you want to eat this fruit all-year round, you can freeze them up to eight months till the next harvest!”
If you tend to avoid potatoes because of their starch content, keep in mind that an average-size Yukon Gold potato contains only about 100 calories, 25 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein. They're also packed with vitamin C, fibre and blood pressure-lowering chemicals. As long as you don't load them up with butter, a baked or roasted potato makes a diet-friendly, health-enhancing side dish.
Since it's a starchy vegetable, winter squash, like acorn or butternut, offers a nutritious way to add substance to a meal. Nutritionally speaking, says Hackett, these squash are high in phytochemicals like beta-carotene and lycopene, which give the veggies their color and antioxidant properties. She says of the versatile squash, “They also are sources of plant-based omega-3 essential fatty-acids. Trying to fight off chronic inflammation? Start by adding these foods into your diet this season. They hold well in soups and can also be mashed up like potatoes.”
Updated by Bethany Ramos on 1/26/2016
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