Is there a definition for superfoods? Well according to Sarah Rueven MS, CDN, a registered dietitian, and well-known author, it is mainly used just for marketing purposes for consumers to purchase more of the type of foods that they should be eating. Although this might be the case, the foods that are categorized as superfoods do well to represent the name. Another registered dietitian, Amy Shapiro states that “Generally, a food is promoted to superfood star status when it delivers ample amounts of vitamins and minerals with antioxidant power, is linked to the prevention of a disease, or is thought to offer several health benefits.” At the point in time when we start to hit the seasons of fall and winter, the fresh fruits that appear in summer start to vanish but there are some cold season fruits and vegetables that super packed and ready for the table.
Whether it is of the butternut or acorn variety, it is considered a superfood. These are varieties are more than abundant during the fall season and can still last all the way through the winter period as well. This super squash contains much-needed fiber, beta carotene, magnesium, and vitamins C and B6. It is also suggested that once consumed this fruit may also assist in reducing your blood pressure and cholesterol levels. This fruit is also very simple to prepare and cook, roasting it is one of the simplest of them all and tastiest as well, just dice, season, and toss in the oven.
Ginger is one of those superfoods that aid naturally in fighting off or help you to recover from winter borne viruses. Dietitians have said that it has been used for generations to also improve digestion, boost the immune systems, and calm upset stomachs. Although ginger can be found all year round, the freshest of the roots can be cultivated during the wintertime. The flavor of ginger is strong so you do not have to use a lot to get the job done, so savor the flavor.
As one of the most versatile superfoods, and very high in potassium, this green, leafy vegetable does a lot. It is said to be able to reduce blood pressure as it removes the sodium in its excess. This could also be the case of consuming potassium. As potassium is said to decrease sodium intake into the body. This vegetable is also a very good source of folate, which is very good for pregnant women and the neural tube. Kale is truly a winter plant as it thrives in cold.
We all know about oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, clementines and the list goes on and on. These are all super packed with vitamin C, which makes them ideal for the cold months of fall and winter, especially since this is usually the time for the cold and flu. Besides vitamin C, lemons and the other citrus fruits are high in minerals and something called phytochemicals, which is really a chemical that is plant-based that the American Institute for Cancer Research has touted helps decrease the risk of cancer. The citrus fruits that are at their ripest during the coldest, snowiest months of the year are navel and blood oranges.
Most people know about citrus fruits and their vitamin C content, but did you know that apples have a very high concentration of vitamin C as well? So if you are not a citrus lover but still want that boost of vitamin C, apples are here to save the day. They also contain pectin, which is a fiber that has been proven to decrease cholesterol levels. Although apples are harvested in the summer, most varieties continue well into early winter, completely dependent on the location. A majority of the nutrients and fiber are found in the apple peel, so it would be a good idea to eat that as well.
Brussel Sprouts are typically harvested in late fall, early winter and are considered one of the best staple foods for winter. There are rich in vitamin C and K and they also contain manganese, potassium, folate, and vitamin B6.
Fennel is by hands down a winter superfood, the peak season for it is from fall all the way to springtime. It is jammed packed with fiber, manganese, potassium, iron, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and even copper. The taste is very intense and has been compared to a licorice flavor. However, fennel can be used to help with digestive problems, heartburn, and also Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The entire plant is edible so leave nothing to waste.
Magnesium is the main mineral found in leeks, this is great to note because due to research it was found that just shy of fifty percent of the population in America are magnesium deficient, a condition that can ultimately lead to irritability and anxiety. Leeks are relatives of the onion and the season for them is from October all the way into spring.
Parsnips are root vegetables just like ginger but might be closely related to the carrot and aid in digestion due to the fiber content and folate content. These root vegetables are said to be in season from early fall until early to mid-spring.
Only the seeds of this fruit are edible and to get to them will take some work. However, pomegranates are a great source of polyphenols, which are considered to not only improve heart health but also improve memory and fight against infections. Harvesting of these fruits can take place anywhere from September into February.
Persimmons are not widely known but that does not stop them from being a superfood, as they are rich in vitamin A, a vitamin essential to eye health and immune functions, actually containing up to half of what a grown adult would need on a daily basis. They almost resemble tomatoes, you can find them between the months of October and February.