Eating seasonal produce is easy in the spring and summer, but seems challenging once cold weather sets in. Maintaining a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables may seem difficult this time of year. When you think of winter – fresh produce does not come to mind. It’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, and there are many that are great sources of antioxidants or other cancer fighting nutrients that help keep cancer cells from growing. The good news is, even in winter, you’re not stuck with only potatoes as fresh options. With some planning and creativity, you can discover many fresh food options with great taste and healthful nutrients for the entire winter season.
Carrots are popular root vegetables that are usually harvested in the summer, but reach peak flavor and sweetness in the fall and winter. Carrots are also full of nutrients and an excellent source of beta-carotene. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, and vitamin A helps maintain eye health, and also supports a health immune system. They’re also brightly colored vegetables full of carotenoid antioxidants that help protect against certain diseases and cancers.
Kale – it’s not just for hipsters, it’s a cruciferous vegetable and is a super nutritious dark, leafy green. It is packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Dark leafy greens are also a great source of carotenoids, and according to the American Institute for Cancer Research, research shows that the carotenoids in kale may help prevent cancer cells in breast, skin, lung, and stomach cancers from growing.
Butternut and acorn squash and even pumpkins, are full of carotenoids that benefit eye health, and pumpkins is also full of antioxidants. There are tons of ways to incorporate winter squash into your diet – roasted, in salads, or even pumpkin pie.
Like kale, Brussels sprouts are a member of the cruciferous vegetable family and chock full nutrients including vitamins K, A, B and C and manganese and potassium. Plus – they’re high in fiber, too. Fiber slows down the digestive process in the body, resulting in a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream and fewer blood sugar spikes.
An apple a day may indeed keep the doctor away. The nutrients and antioxidants in apples may help prevent the growth of cancer cells, plus – they taste amazing!
Beets contain antioxidants and other nutrients that help fight cancer and other diseases. They’re full of vitamins A, B, C as well as potassium and folate.
Turnips and Rutabagas
Who remembers their grandmother cooking turnips? Grandma was smart – they are part of the cruciferous vegetable family and are full of cancer-fighting glucosinolates, vitamins B, C and K, folate, potassium, fiber, and calcium. They might look like a little bit like potatoes, but they’re actually related to cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. They are also are a good source of magnesium, phosphorus and manganese.
Like its dark, leafy green cousin kale, Swiss chard is low in calories yet full with vitamins and minerals. It also contains antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of many diseases.
A staple at the holiday table, sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes can be roasted, mashed, added to salads, baked – they are the ultimate versatile super food.
Adding any fresh to your diet will go a long way toward promoting your health. These cold weather vegetables help to round out your diet with nutritious produce all winter long.