We rarely think of vegetables in the winter but it is important to eat your veggies this time of year to keep your immune system strong.
Beets—Beets are one of the most overlooked superfoods. They lower blood pressure, increase exercise endurance, and reduce inflammation. They contain potent phytonutrients called proanthocyanidins which give beets their brilliant purple color. Proanthocyanidins are proven anti-cancer compounds. They are packed in nutrients like folate which is important to prevent birth defects, potassium which is critical for healthy muscles and nerves, manganese which helps build strong bones, and vitamin C for a strong immune system.
Carrots—Just one carrot contains 13,500 IU of beta carotene which translates into a tremendous amount of nutritional power against free radicals. Beta carotene is anti-cancerous, prevents cellular damage and premature aging, and is important to prevent cataracts.
Ginger—Ginger is one of the best natural anti-pain remedies. Technically it is a spice but it is ideal for winter since it reduces joint pain that plagues so many people with arthritis this time of year. It also adds warmth to foods and beverages making freshly minced garlic a welcome addition to most soups, stews, and curries.
Rutabaga—Contrary to popular belief, rutabagas are not turnips. The most common rutabagas are larger than turnips, have purple and cream-colored skins, and tend to have a cream to yellow-colored flesh. It is high in anti-cancer compounds, immune-boosting vitamin C, fiber, and vitamin B6 which is needed for a healthy nervous system. They are great in soups, stews, curries, and other places you’d use hardy winter veggies. I love them cut into small cubes, tossed with a bit of olive oil and sea salt and roasted in the oven on 350 for about an hour.
Squash—Squash is rich in beta-carotene, the nutrient that gives squash its brilliant orange-colored flesh. Enjoy it cut in half, seeded, and roasted. Add roasted squash to soups, salads, stews, or in wraps and on sandwiches. Use grated, raw squash in muffin recipes, in place of zucchini in zucchini bread recipes, or in other baked goods to increase their nutritional value.
Sweet Potatoes—Like squash, sweet potatoes are also high in beta carotene. They also contain vitamins C, B6, and minerals like blood-building iron, energy-boosting potassium, and Nature’s relaxant, magnesium. Enjoy them chopped into French fry-shapes, tossed in a little olive oil and sea salt and baked in the oven for about 45 minutes on 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Turnips—Turnips are a good source of fiber which helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and stabilize energy and moods. They are also a rich source of glucosinolates—the precursors of isothiocyanates that are proven anti-cancer powerhouses.