Hearty Winter Vegetables to Help Boost Your Immune System

Hearty Winter Vegetables To Boost Your Immune Systetm

By Chef Dan of Whole Health Everyday

With the cold temperatures of Winter approaching, it’s about time we start changing the way we eat, especially around the holidays. We all tend to retreat from the light and fresh meals that are so great in the heat of the Summer and go back to hearty warm meals around Fall and Wintertime. While Summer vegetables are always beautiful and in abundance, Winter also its own bounty of fruits and veggies that serve as a tasty vessel for all of your vitamins and nutrients.

There are lots of great Winter vegetables in peak season from late Summer to early Spring that can keep you nourished with all of the vitamins you need as well as keeping that immune system strong to help fight off Winter colds and flu.

Here are some great Winter vegetables you should start adding to your meals and some ways to use them:

Brussel Sprouts

  • Peak season from September to February
  • High levels of vitamins and antioxidants (Great for fighting off cancer)
  • Brussels are extremely popular and can be found in every grocery store and on most menus in restaurants these days. The green little health grenades are a great source of vitamins K, C, and A, Folate, and Manganese. Also because of their high fiber content, they are excellent for restoring gut health
  • Try lightly sautéed some with shaved Brussel sprouts with shallots a little sherry Dijon vinaigrette. Then add sliced apples, dried cranberries, and roasted macadamia nut and goat cheese as a side dish for dinner

Winter squash

  • Acorn, delicata, butternut, and kabocha
  • Peak season from October to March
  • These squashes are good sources of vitamin A, C, alpha and beta carotene, Polysaccharides that help control blood sugar, fiber and another great antioxidant, that help with gut health.
  • Winter squash also contains potassium, magnesium, and protein
  • These squashes can easily transform into substitutes for otherwise not so healthy options, and many can Like Butternut squash noodles can be found at your local store.
  • Or a good way to trick those picky eaters in your family into liking squash is to mash or puree roasted squash instead of dairy fat loaded mashed potatoes

Kale and Escarole

  • Both great winter and vegetables to add to salads or soups
  • Peak season from Fall to early Winter
  • Most are familiar with kale but not so much with escarole a small frilly green bunch of lettuce that is full of essential vitamins and minerals. Both of these greens are high in folic acid, fiber, calcium, iron, vitamin C and A.
  • A small serving of escarole contains 15 calories, 3 grams of carbs, and 1 gram protein.
  • While escarole can be quite bitter on its own it is great with a sweet salad dressing like raspberry balsamic or add it to your favorite soup and it can be an easy way to gain all of those nutrients to boost your immune system and fight off the flu season.

Celery Root

  • Peak Season from September through March
  • Celery Root Or Celeriac while it may look like an ugly brown ball of something you would never want to eat. Beneath that beige root exterior is something delicious, next time you see it in the supermarket make sure to pick one up and give it a try!
  • Celery Root is a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamin K some vitamin C, and is a great antioxidant that will reduce inflammation. It also contains important minerals, such as phosphorus, manganese, and potassium…
  • All of these can lead to a world of benefits from reducing the chances of stroke, lowering blood pressure, reduced risk of osteoporosis, and some anticancer properties.
  • One of my favorite ways to enjoy celery root is to boil and puree it with garlic and seasoning to enjoy with steak instead of mashed potatoes, now boiling it does reduce the amount of vitamins in it so if you like to maximize those essential vitamins and nutrients by eating it raw. I would suggest shaving it into thin sticks and add into a salad or maybe slightly saucing and using it as a noodle. Roasted cubes of it with your favorite season is always good too.