Tis the season for delicious winter vegetables. Naturally warming to help keep our bodies protected against the elements during the colder weather months, they are also rich in color and amazingly powerful health-boosting nutrients and compounds.
Below are 6 of some of the most popular of winter vegetables, and the incredible health benefits they have to offer. As I always recommend, try to purchase locally and organic as much as you possibly can. This supports both your body and your community while providing you and your family with good eats and good health.
Prevent Winter Weight Gain with Brussels Sprouts
Many people don’t exercise as much during the cold weather months, and all those holiday parties often lends itself to overeating of the wrong types of foods. It is not unusual to pack on an extra 5-10 pounds during the winter, but by regularly eating Brussels sprouts you can avoid this seasonal weight gain. Nutrition studies have shown that eating 3 cups of fresh Brussels sprouts a week can help you lose a pound or more a week without any added exercise. Credit goes to the powerful dietary sulfur compounds found in Brussels sprouts which activates liver enzymes responsible for flushing fat-storing toxins. Brussels sprouts are so incredibly versatile so you’re not likely to get bored eating them.
Chase Away Cold Germs with Cauliflower
An easy way to “sick proof” your house is to regularly add cauliflower to your soups, stews, casseroles, side dishes and more. There even a crowd favorite on vegetable platters. Cauliflower provides a generous dose of the plant compound, indole-3-carbinol, which energizes white blood cells, boosting their ability to scavenge and destroy invading germs before they can take hold in your body. Additionally, each 1 cup serving contains 77% of the daily value of immunity-boosting vitamin C.
Balance Blood Sugar Levels, Your Endocrine System and Weight with Turnips
Turnips are an often underrated vegetable, yet they are much more versatile than people might imagine. They make great additions to casseroles and stews, and are a great alternative or addition to traditional mashed potatoes. Turnips are loaded with dietary fiber which helps prevent blood sugar spikes, thereby warding off the crashes that sap both your mood and energy. Additionally, turnips are rich in glucosinolates, plant compounds that nourish the pancreas, helping to ensure steady insulin output. Slow and steady is exactly what you want with both blood sugar and insulin to prevent diabetes and other endocrine imbalances as well as stubborn weight gain.
Soothe Adrenals and Stress with Broccoli
The holiday season is known for ramping up stress levels, but you can help avoid that tension and stress by eating just 1 serving of broccoli daily. Tension-taming benefits goes to a trio of powerful nutrients found in broccoli, folate, kaempferol and quercetin. The three nutrients work synergistically to heal overworked adrenal glands. Together the nutrients improve the adrenal’s ability to regulate the output of stress hormones, helping you to stay calm even when things get chaotic.
Boost Focus and Brain Power with Collard Greens
Researchers have shown that eating these popular leafy greens just several times a week can help your brain function as if it were 2 years younger. Credit goes to collard greens rich stores of vitamins A and K which are proven to strengthen arteries and support a steady flow of nutrient-rich blood flow to the brain. Focus, clarity and recall are naturally boosted, making collard greens one smart snack.
Prevent Cold Weather Fatigue and Stay Naturally Energized with Sweet Potatoes
It’s common to feel less energy during the cold weather months, but digging into a delicious sweet potato can help keep your energy stores high. Sweet potatoes are one of nature’s top sources of carotenoids, unique plant compounds that signal genes to convert food into energy vs. storing it as fat. The effect is so powerful, that enjoying just 1/2 cup of sweet potatoes can chase away fatigue for up to 3 hours, which is so much healthier than those toxic chemical-laden “energy drinks”.
So, enjoy the holiday season, enjoy the winter season, and definitely enjoy all those delicious and health-boosting winter veggies.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina “The Veggie Goddess” Matthews