Seasonal Shape Superfoods
Anyone else felt an urge to retrieve the Velvetizer from the top cupboard? Mine is very much back in use, whipping up all kinds of delicious hot drinks to make dark mornings and evenings more bearable. Actually winter’s fayre is one of the things that can make this time of year so enjoyable, even if you’re not munching your way through sugar-laden treats.
The best of winter’s larder– seasonal fruits, vegetables and even herbs – provide essential nutrients to fortify your body against cold weather challenges: these superfoods help support our immune system, relieve dry skin and can reduce bloating and fluid retention. Read on to find out what they are.
Let’s visit the fruit bowl first. What’s in yours? Some of the tastiest fruit you can eat offer the greatest benefits. Here are two that should be on your shopping list:
- Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin c – oranges, grapefruit and clementines are winter gems that strengthen your immune system against colds and flu.
- Berries are packed with antioxidants – blueberries, for example, play a vital role in supporting your immune function and work wonders on dry skin. In fact, many people report great results on chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema when they add blueberries to their diet. All of these fruits make great additions to your breakfast bowl of oatbran and natural yoghurt.
Now for the vegetable rack. What’s in yours? Hopefully plenty of dark leafy green veg like broccoli and spinach, because they’re full of antioxidants, but also:
- Avocados are rich in healthy fats, so they nourish skin and help promote healthy digestion (often helpful over the festive period when we tend to overindulge). Their omega-3 fatty acids can be a real bonus for skin that suffers when the central heating goes on and temperature dips outside.
- Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotenes, so can promote skin health by converting to vitamin A, which aids in preventing dryness and flakiness. Roast them as a delicious side dish or blend them into health-loving soups.
Time to spice things up! Some of the best flavour enhancers are also excellent health givers. Try these two for size:
- Ginger is a warming spice and a powerful digestion aid – it calms the digestive system and supports the liver. Ginger also eases colds and menstrual pain, and it may lower blood sugar. A great winter warmer.
- Peppermint is also excellent at supporting the digestion – it’s perfect after a heavy meal, because it relaxes the gastrointestinal tract which really eases the discomfort caused by bloating. Drink it as tea or add to dishes.
Unfortunately some of our favourite treats are the ones that have the worst impact on our internal health – sugary carbohydrates being the worst culprits. No one can resist them all the time, so after indulging here’s two gems to counteract the effects:
- Cucumber has a high water content and natural diuretic properties, so it reduces water retention which carbohydrates and sugar exacerbate. Slice into salads or infuse your water with cucumber for a deeply cleansing drink.
- Celery is a hydrating vegetable with compounds that act as diuretics, promoting the removal of excess water from the body. It’s easy to snack on celery – just keep sticks in a water-filled jar or add them to soups and stews.