Top 10 Most Nutritious Winter Vegetables

Thu, 12/09/2021 - 10:05

First, a quick breakdown of seasonal eating. This is when we consume fall and winter vegetables and fruit in the cold months and eat spring and summer fruit and vegetables in the warm months. I should also mention, to a certain extent, seasonal eating is linked to eating local because if it’s summer in Australia, but winter in NY, and you are a New Yorker, you can eat summer fruits during your winter but that would actually be considered the exact opposite of seasonal eating.
Why should you care? Here’s why. The benefits of eating seasonally are well documented. Seasonal foods in your region are fresher and more nutritious than consuming foods out of season in your region. This is because the nutrient density of fruits and vegetables begins to decline the instant that they are harvested. So, when food is shipped from Australia to NY it loses a significant amount of its nutrients by the time it reaches your plate.

Plus, as you might imagine, these long “food miles” are also costly, both to our pocketbook and the environment. 

With that said, what veggies should you be mackin’ down on during winter months? Here’s the top 10:

1. Winter Squash – High in vitamin A (alpha-carotene and beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium for potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Also high in fiber and polysaccharide carbohydrates for gut health and help regulating blood sugar. 

2. Broccoli – Broccoli is high in fiber, antioxidants such as carotenoids and chlorophyll, loaded with vitamins E and K, essential minerals, phenolic compounds, and more to support cognitive function, keep cholesterol levels in check, defend against certain types of cancer, aid in digestion and more!

3. Brussels Sprouts – Brussels are high in fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, vitamin C , vitamin K, omega 3 fatty acids, and antioxidants that help fight cancer. These little suckers can also help reduce blood triglycerides, slow cognitive decline, reduce insulin resistance and decrease inflammation.

4. Cauliflower – This one is a great low carb alternative to potatoes and rice. It has beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, choline, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin and kaempferol to name just a few that help with everything from reduce oxidative stress and slowing aging, to reduction of blood pressure and suppression of cancer cells.

5. Escarole – Like other dark greens, escarole is low in calories but high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, vitamin K and iron. It’s also a great source of several antioxidants and polyphenols, including caffeic acid, vitamin C and flavonols, which promote healthy aging.

6. Cabbage – This powerhouse can help with everything from aiding digestion, supporting microbiome, improving heart health and more. So cabbage up, babes. They’re low in calories but high in filling fiber, as well as vitamin C, vitamin K, Sulphur, manganese and antioxidants, such as anthocyanins.

7. Beets – are unique because they’re one of the best dietary sources of nitrates, which improve the efficiency of our mitochondria – which give our cells energy to do their job. Beets promote healthy circulation, can lower blood pressure, improve athletic performance and fight inflammation!! Plus, they’re a great source of fiber, folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C, not to mention protective compounds including betanin and vulgaxanthin to help fight inflammation.

8. Carrots – Carrots are notorious for improving vision, but that high vitamin A/beta-carotene content also supports healthy glowing skin! Carrots are also high in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which further support healthy aging and fight free radical damage, as well as vitamin K, potassium, thiamine, niacin and fiber for bone health, heart health, and decreased cancer risk!

9. Fennel – Fennel bulb contains a number of disease-fighting phenolic compounds, including bioflavonoids, phenolic acids, tannins, coumarins and hydroxycinnamic acids, as well as potassium, vitamins C and A, and B vitamins. This one is a powerhouse for promoting digestive health, aiding in weight management, boosting iron, and improving calcium absorption. Unique compounds give this veggie anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral properties as well.

10. Artichokes – Artichokes are a great source of fiber, including inulin, which is great for gut health because it nourishes the microbes in your gut. Plus, they are high in potassium, iron and copper! They are known to help ease irritable bowl syndrome, improve liver health, lower blood sugar, and keep cholesterol levels in check!

Easy Ways To Incorporate Them Into Your Diet:  

  • Making roasted winter vegetables simply by roasting them in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes with olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Vegetable soup or stews
  • Use cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower for “grain free” pizza crust or starch free rice alternatives
  • Add chopped veggies like carrots, kale, shallots and leeks into homemade burgers or omelets
  • Add beets to smoothies
  • Making winter salads with leafy greens, fennel, and roasted veggies