As the brisk cold of the winter sweeps over several parts of the country, it is the best time to get fresh vegetables and fruits to stock up on and eat. Every season has its own bunch of special seasonal vegetables and fruits that are tasty, beneficial, and healthy. It is important to consume seasonal vegetables as each one contains its own unique factor. Between all of them, they can complete your seasonal dose of nutrients.
Let us check out some of the best vegetables that are available during winter and fall in the must-eat category.
Most people think of eating cucumbers only during summer. However, winter is a time when we all neglect staying hydrated! With their high water content, English cucumbers are a good source of water during the winter season. Winter is also when we need to build up our immunity with a healthy diet. English cucumbers with their seedless juicy flesh and fibrous skin contain a whole lot of fibre and minerals. They are best in dishes like salads, vegan spring rolls, sandwiches, and creamy dips. They are also good for digestion and stress. English cucumbers have elements that can help reduce the risk of ovarian, uterine, breast, and prostate cancers. Their anti-inflammatory properties are best to detoxify the body and reduce winter-related skin issues such as wrinkles, ageing, etc.
They say cramps, whether from exercise or menstrual pain, are worst during winter. Having dill leaves with your salads and pasta can relieve you of it. This frail-looking fernlike herb is quite strong in aroma with a sharp tang and a sweet spongy flavour. Its mix of tang and sweetness helps reduce stress, and depression, and is an energy booster. Dill leaves also have an anti-microbial effect keeping you protected from various infections.
Also called squash, zucchini with a tight flesh and light fresh flavour can be cooked or consumed with salads and stir-fries. It can easily top off a pizza or make a yummy side dish. This versatile vegetable contains beta-carotene and lutein which are highly beneficial for the eyes. Along with vitamin A, magnesium, folate, copper, potassium, and phosphorus, zucchini is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, niacin, protein, and zinc. The highly recommended vegetable for good health, it contains vitamins B2, B6, B1, and calcium to combat various bone diseases and muscle weakness.
Broccoli is an important vegetable to be eaten during winter. As it is the season of cold and flu, broccoli which has a huge number of immunity-strengthening nutrients is the best for your health. Broccoli is rich in calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K, selenium, and zinc. It is highly advised for heart patients and keeps cholesterol in check. Consumed as part of salads or even simply sauteed or grilled, broccoli is ideal to keep warm.
What better vegetable to add to steaming hot stir fry on cold winter evenings than the sweet-peppery Pak Choi. A green leafy and bulbous cabbage-like vegetable from China, Pak Choi is used in most Chinese dishes and is a favoured item. Due to the crispiness of its leaves and stalk, this vegetable can be eaten raw when young and cooked slightly later. Pak Choi is loaded with vitamins K, A, B2, C, and B6, beta-carotene, iron, manganese, and calcium. Filled with antioxidants and phytonutrients, Pak Choi is great for general health, muscle-building, and detoxifying your body.
With a salty flavour and a juicy bite, celery is often eaten raw as a healthy and filling snack. As it is low-calorie and loaded with various nutrients, this vegetable is also used in salads, pasta, pizza, and other Mediterranean cuisines. Celery has a lot of fibre and therefore is considered to be one of the best remedies for digestive issues. The presence of anti-oxidants also ensures good cardiovascular health and the prevention of diseases. It is the most preferred choice of people on diets. Senior citizens and arthritis patients are recommended to have celery juice to combat painful muscles.
Lettuce is a leafy vegetable but its stalk and seeds are also used in various dishes. Usually used in salads, sometimes lettuce is also included in soups, wraps, rolls, and sandwiches. It can also be stir-fried or grilled for an even taste. A rich source of vitamins K and A, lettuce is extremely good for bone health. Vitamin A helps vision and promotes sleep. Raw lettuce consists of 95% water so it is a great hydrating agent.
With so many varieties of dishes to be prepared, your winter vegetable quota can be an actual treasure trove of various global cuisines. Add in the myriad nutrients that come with them and you have great health to go with great taste. Winter vegetables are not just about tasty and good-looking food but also about health and general well-being. The above-mentioned vegetables do that and more.
A superfood in its own right, kale is called the king of nutritious vegetables for a reason. It is said to be one of the healthiest plant foods. This cruciferous vegetable is high in fibre, antioxidants, iron, calcium, and vitamins C & K, along with many other nutrients and minerals. An excellent supporter of heart health, kale is generally the best to prevent many health issues. Kale has a very high content of vitamin C which is great for cell repair and structural protein requirements of the body.
Arugula is a herb that can be added to pasta, pizzas, salads, or stir-fried items. This tasty herb can add a nutty flavour to all the dishes and provide a peppery and crunchy taste to it all. Filled with anti-oxidants, arugula has vitamin K which is great for the brain and bones. Arugula also improves circulation and lowers cholesterol. As this herb is low in calories, it can be eaten without much thought and the additional vitamins and minerals are highly beneficial for your health and well-being.
An important Italian ingredient, basil is more of a herb than a vegetable. A stalk of basil has 2-3 inch long leaves in a shade of dark green. Spicy, fragrant, and extremely flavourful, basil is used to make pesto as well as seasoning on salads, curries, pasta, etc. Basil is used as a fresh or dried herb and is a major ingredient in many Italian dishes. A huge source of micronutrients such as vitamin K and calcium, basil is highly recommended for good blood circulation as it contains magnesium which helps in relaxing muscles and blood vessels. Its wide range of anti-oxidants helps in detoxifying the body.