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SUPERFOODS TO KEEP YOU HEALTHY THIS WINTER AND ALL YEAR LONG
It's no secret that eating healthy and exercising daily are key to optimal health. However, when some people think about eating healthy, they tend to think that all they can eat are bland salads and flavorless foods that won't keep them full or satisfied. This can be especially true during winter, when all you want during the colder months are hearty comfort foods. Even if you're in a location like Arizona, where it doesn't get as bone-chillingly cold as other states, it still can feel like healthy foods are not as appealing during this time.
So, what do you do when you have an impromptu party to attend, a big dinner to go to, or just need that evening snack, especially when you want to stay warm - and eat healthy? We know it may seem hard, but instead of turning to creamy soups, cheesy pasta dishes and bread during these times, opt to add in some superfoods full of nutrients, antioxidants, and immunity boosters into your diet instead.
Superfoods pack more nutrients for your body with fewer calories. They mostly consist of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, plant-based foods, fish, nuts, eggs and some dairy.
Here is a list of 15 superfoods to keep you healthy this winter and all year long that you can include into your daily meals or into your party menu:
Nuts, a crunchy energy snack that are also high in protein and monounsaturated fats, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. Vitamin B3 (found in peanuts) helps regulate blood flow, while chestnuts have a low-fat content. Walnuts are known to be good for the heart and have a high content of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an important plant-based omega-3. Walnuts are also a favorite in salads, oatmeal, and smoothies.
Originally from China, this root is associated with multiple health benefits thanks to the antioxidant gingerol. Ginger helps keep the body warm and in promoting blood flow. It also relieves body aches as gingerol helps in blocking nerve pathways that process pain. Ginger can be added to tea, curries, and goes well with sushi.
3. BRUSSELS SPROUTS
These greens are high in Vitamin C, which helps fight the common cold. Brussels sprouts are also rich in fiber and antioxidants and the sulfur compound makes this cousin of cabbage a soldier against cancer, too.
Brussels sprouts are a great addition in raw salads or can be added to stir-fries and curries. If you don’t like its smell, avoid overheating Brussels sprouts. Instead, use a fast cooking method like sautéing, steaming, or stir-frying. Cook until crisp-tender and add them to your healthy winter menu.
This red, beauty of a fruit is a powerhouse of vitamin C and folates. This superfood is sweet and tasty and is a rich source of polyphenols - antioxidants, known to fight heart diseases and can offer cancer benefits. Increased blood flow, blood pressure control, and slowing of prostate cancer are the other advantages connected with pomegranates. Toss pomegranate in salads, yogurt, in with roasted veggies or on top of avocado toast.
5. OATMEAL OR WHOLE GRAINS
Oatmeal belongs to the whole grains category which is well-known for its fiber content, vitamins, and minerals. Oatmeal is also a great source of fiber. It is loaded with a healthy starch called beta-glucan that can help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Having a bowl of oatmeal or gluten-free oatmeal daily has been shown to reduce the risks of heart disease.
Did you know that your heart loves berries? They are also great for digestion, good for your skin, and help fight diseases for you– think of all the goodness berries of any variety bring you in the cold winter!
Berries are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Loaded with natural sweeteners, they are a wonderful addition to yogurts, cereals, smoothies, oatmeal and salads.
Oily fish, like salmon, are a major source of omega-3 fatty acids like EPA and DHA that help fight heart disease and in some cases, inflammation. It is also rich in protein, vitamin B and D, potassium, selenium, and other healthy fats.
Salmon helps keep your skin moisturized and is great for your bones. It's recommended to eat fish twice a week, so cook it up for dinner or you could even have it as a warn, comforting breakfast to fuel your day.
8. DARK LEAFY GREENS AND VEGGIES
For the vegans among your guests, add Kale or other green leafy vegetables in your menu to give them their dose of calcium. Dark green, leafy vegetables are an excellent source of phytochemical, which fight against diseases in our body. They are also full of fiber and vitamins. Kale, spinach and other green vegetables can be added to salads or sautéed in olive oil.
Don’t forget the benefits of this wholesome food. Eggs are full of healthy proteins and antioxidants. It also contains choline, which is an important nutrient for the brain. Phosphorus, selenium, Vitamin A, B12, B2 are some of the additional benefits of consuming eggs.
10. ROOT VEGETABLES
Root vegetables like beets, sweet potato and carrots are some of the healthiest foods around. Full of antioxidants, vitamin C, folates and iron, beets are a great ingredient for salads or grilled up. Similarly, carrots are a rich source of vitamin A which are good for your eyes and immune system and also are a great source of fiber.
A cholesterol and sodium-free substitute for sugar, honey is good for controlling high blood pressure. The antibacterial and antiviral properties help boost your immune system during the cold weather months. Rich in flavonoids, honey is best consumed raw. It can be eaten on its own, added into green tea or drizzled on top of a chicken dish or some added flavor.
12. OLIVE OIL
Olive oil is believed to be beneficial for those who suffer from heart diseases as it is a source of monosaturated fats. It also contains polyphenols that fight digestive issues and helps control weight and diabetes. Use olive oil as a dressing in salads, to bake up homemade french fries or to grill or sauté fresh veggies.
The ‘good bacteria,’ which protects the body from other dangerous bacteria, is what makes yogurt a superfood. It’s also a rich source of calcium and protein. Plain, unsweetened yogurts are the best option as these do not contain sugar. This superfood is rich in Vitamin B12 and riboflavin, which are good for heart disease.
An undeniable part of salads, tomatoes are rich in vitamin C and lycopene, which reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Tomatoes in salads, soups, and other food in winter will also offer your guests lots of vitamins A, C, and E.
15. GREEN TEA
Green tea is a great source of antioxidants and polyphenolic compounds that give your immune system a leg up. It can help your body fight cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. A steaming hot cup of green tea can do wonders for your health this winter. It is also known for its fat-burning properties.
Add the above superfoods into your diet or your party menu and take a pass on fried food and alcohol this winter. By eating healthy, you can not only provide excellent support to your immune system but you can also protect yourself from a common cold or seasonal flu.
Stay healthy this winter and all year round by incorporating these healthy superfoods into your diet. While you're at it, include some healthy appetizers and dishes into your menu, so that your guests feel happy and healthy no matter what time of year it is.