Snow, Christmas and shorter days are not the only signs of winter. Indeed, during the colder months, you’ll notice your local grocery filling up with a range of root vegetables characteristic of winter. Although the temptation may be to indulge in all the associated winter comfort foods, you can bypass your frozen garden and head to your local farmers’ market to pick up some of the fresh produce that can be easily added to your diet.
Not only is celery a long-lasting and flavorsome vegetable that can be added to salads and casseroles, but it is chock-full of health benefits that make it a welcome addition to your rotation of winter veg. Low in calories and fat and high in fiber and nutrients, celery is proven to lower blood pressure, ease joint pain and is said to lower the risk of cancer. Celery also contains high levels of potassium and is rich in antioxidants.
Part of the ever versatile cabbage family, kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as manganese, iron and calcium. This means that kale has cancer-preventing properties, as well as being one of the top vegetables to promote eye, teeth and bone health and boost the immune system. Cheap and easy to cook, kale can be used in a number of delicious dishes.
3. Bok Choy
Rich in vitamins A, B6, C and K as well a folate, bok choy is a low calorie, fat free vegetable most famous for being used in Asian cooking, but making its way into salads, stir-fry and other easy meals. Another member of the cabbage family, bok choy contains the same anti-cancer properties as other cruciferous vegetables. In addition to this, bok choy is a good source of cartenoids which aid in eye health.
4. Winter Squash
Tasty and readily available in the colder months, winter squash is rich in vitamins A, C, B1, B5 and B6 which alone are enough nutrients to make a real difference to your health. However, winter squash is also an excellent source of dietary fiber, potassium, omega-3 fatty acids, folate and manganese, meaning that the vegetable is full of helpful nutrients that help prevent cell mutations, lowering the risk of cancer. Winter squash can be roasted or used to make rich, delicious soups.
Leeks are a great addition to chunky, comforting winter soups or casseroles and are low in fat and calories, meaning they won’t add unwelcome inches to your waistline. Leeks, just like onions and garlic, help to enhance the immune system and lower cholesterol and contain the same health boosting vitamins and nutrients as kale, bok choy and celery.
Especially good when steamed and paired with a steak, cauliflower can also be used in soups and casseroles and displays many of the same health properties as broccoli and kale. With high levels of fiber, folate and potassium, as well as those recurring super vitamins C and K, cauliflower, when consumed regularly, contributes to lowering the risk of colon and liver cancers.