If you’re still reaching for Christmas sweets and candies, it may be time to start thinking about better eating now that the new year has here. With the holidays behind us and the long months ahead, there are plenty of opportunities for home-cooked and nutritious meals. Of course, there aren’t as many vegetables in the season as there are in the summer, but there are some surprising health heroes in the season that you may not have known about! Here are a few food alternatives to consider the next time you go grocery shopping.
You’ve probably had pomegranates in their now trendy juice form. And from the standpoint of heart health, that’s probably a good thing. Pomegranate juice is high in antioxidants (more than other fruit juices). In addition, drinking one cup may help prevent free radicals from oxidizing “bad” LDL cholesterol. Oxidized LDL leads to the formation of plaque in the arteries. Another research found that consuming pomegranate juice may increase blood flow to the heart in persons suffering from myocardial ischemia, an acute disease in which the heart’s oxygen supply is impaired due to clogged arteries.
Oats are a complete grain that contains a lot of vitamins and minerals, as well as being substantial in fiber and protein. They also include soluble fiber, which may help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, aid digestion, and promote feelings of fullness. 12 cup steel-cut or old-fashioned oats sprinkled with fruit and nuts for added nutritional value is a terrific way to start your day.
If you’ve never tried legumes (lentils, chickpeas, peanuts, and so on), now is the time to include them into your diet to help you produce a tasty dinner. Many Season soups ask for various types of beans and lentils. Legumes are also high in protein and fiber, so they will keep you feeling satisfied for longer.
Dark Green Leafy
Leafy like kale, chard, and collards thrive in the cold when the rest of the vegetable section appears dreary. In truth, kale’s bitterness may be reduced by frost. In addition, these leafy greens are exceptionally high in vitamins A, C, and K. Collards, mustard greens, and escarole are also high in folate, which is essential for women of reproductive age.
Yes, yes! More cheese, please! In moderation, cheese and dairy products are high in calcium and vitamin D, which may assist your body in lessening depressive symptoms. If you don’t spend enough time outside soaking up the rays of the sun, you should probably up your vitamin D intake. Just avoid any cheese-flavored meals, which will not provide the same, if any, advantages as actual cheese. Also, keep your portion proportions in mind since cheese is a high-fat, high-calorie food.
The months are the best time to enjoy the sweet and tangy flavors of citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, with one medium orange providing more than 100% of your daily need. In addition, the main flavonoid in these fruits, hesperidin, has been linked to increased “good” HDL cholesterol and decreased “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
Winter squash comes in various types, including butternut, acorn, delicata, and spaghetti squash, and they are all delicious in the winter. One cup of cooked winter squash contains little calories (about 80) but is rich in vitamin A (214 percent of the RDA) and vitamin C (33 percent), as well as vitamins B6 and K, potassium, and folate.
Potatoes can receive a poor name for being a white starch, lumped in with white rice and bread. But, unlike those other starches, which have been stripped of their essential elements, potatoes are a whole food containing various nutrients. They are a superb source of two immune boosters, vitamins C and B6, providing 25% and 29% of your daily requirements, respectively, per medium potato. They are also high in fiber and a rich source of folate, which is particularly essential for women of reproductive age (4 grams in a medium potato; women need 25 grams daily, and men need 38 grams). If you can locate purple potatoes, you’ll receive an extra health benefit: they’re high in anthocyanins, antioxidants related to various health advantages ranging from decreasing cancer and heart disease risk to reducing inflammation.
We have access to many different kinds of food all around the globe, but choosing “in-season” fruit is still a good idea. Produce produced in season and locally is higher in antioxidants and phytochemicals, and it tastes better! In addition, our bodies’ needs change during the winter because they are more likely to stay inside and move less. So the best way to guarantee that your body receives the nutrients it needs to develop and flourish is to eat a well-balanced diet year-round.