It seems that spring and summer are prime time for finding top-notch superfoods. Blackberries and blueberries are abundant, tomatoes are ripe, and a wealth of leafy greens pop up on store shelves. Believe it or not, winter has its own bounty of uber healthful fruits and vegetables.
“I always like to eat with the seasons, [and] fresh and local is always best,” says Jodi Baretz, a former holistic health coach in Westchester who is now a psychotherapist, best-selling author, and coach helping women become empowered and emotionally resilient. “The winter calls for warming foods, and so many of them are so good for us.” We asked Baretz to round up five of her top picks for great winter superfoods.
“Veggies like parsnips, turnips, and beets are delicious roasted with a little olive oil,” says Baretz. “They are high in fiber and minerals from the soil. I roast them for dinner, and any leftovers I blend with chicken stock for soup the next day.” Beets in particular contain a beneficial antioxidant called betalains, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
Baretz calls winter-ready avocados “a heart healthy fat that helps reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol.” The fruit also contains a wealth of vitamins and minerals including magnesium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and niacin. “Guacamole is a popular favorite, but also great to put mashed on toast in the morning with some lemon juice and salt.”
“Delicious with lots of beta-carotene, squash comes in many varieties such as butternut, spaghetti, and acorn,” explains Baretz. She adds that squash is easy to roast or mash or, if you’re talking about spaghetti squash, to serve topped with pesto or tomato sauce.
“Grapefruits, oranges, clementines, and limes are all in season and contain flavonoids that combat free radicals,” explains Baretz. “So add the lemons and limes to water and use plentifully. Plus, clementines are a great snack for kids, and they love them.”
“Another veggie that is delicious roasted that my kids gobble up, cauliflower is a great source of vitamin K, and you can even ‘rice’ it as a substitute for carbs,” says Baretz. The sulfur compound sulforaphane, found in this white cruciferous vegetable, has also been shown to potentially help fight cancer in lab tests.
What is her go-to recipe? “Cauliflower fried rice is a favorite,” says Baretz. “Simply rice the cauliflower — or buy it riced — sauté with frozen veggies, an egg, and tamari or soy sauce. You can add scallions or whatever else you want to it.”
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