THE NATURAL BENEFITS OF WINTER FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
By Yaron Zaken, owner of Yaron Fruits
Thoughts of cozy heated rooms, hot chocolate, warm clothing and cuddly blankets make winter seem less bleak. But how often do we really consider the special value of the fruits and vegetables available in the winter, which are packed the essential nutrients for warding off winter ills? Below is a short list of some of the best of them; tasty and healthy, enjoy them to the full.
The proverbial “apple for the teacher” is a filling, ready-to-eat snack packed with some four grams of soluble fiber—17% of the Daily Value (DV) which is important for colon health and controlling blood sugar levels. A good source of immune-boosting vitamin C, apples also contain quercetin, which has anti-allergy and antihistamine properties.
Many think of an avocado as a vegetable, and although it is primarily known as a fat source, it is actually a fruit- quite a healthy fruit! In a cup of sliced avocado you can find 10 grams of dietary fiber, 42 percent of your daily value of vitamin B-5, and 35 percent of your daily value of vitamin K. Avocado should be regularly enjoyed by all, also providing large doses of vitamin C and potassium, as well as healthy fat.
A favorite with many children, bananas are among the healthiest all-season fruits. Rich yellow when ripe, they are delicious raw, and serve as a staple food in some countries when cooked. Banana is one of the best sources of potassium, and helps stabilize blood pressure during winter. It also improves the immune system, being packed with vitamins and fiber.
This root vegetable contains high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants, as well as lutein, which protects the eyes. Roast or pickle them, or treat yourself to delicious hot or cold borscht.
Eggplants are also one of the best dietary sources of antioxidants, in addition to providing plenty of soluble fiber. As well as promoting regular digestion, soluble fiber contributes to healthier blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. Eggplant salads of all type are a favorite in Israeli cuisine.
Garlic enhances immunity, due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Garlic is such a fragrant and versatile addition to almost anything– vegetable dishes, salads, soups, fish, chicken, pasta sauces etc.
A great way to start any meal, grapefruit is known as a good appetite suppressant as well as contains pectin, a soluble fiber thought to slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Be cautious and consult your doctor before eating grapefruit when taking medication; interaction with liver enzymes can in some cases be harmful.
Tired, nervous or anxious? Concentration and alertness on the wane? Pep yourself up with a drink of fresh lemon juice before tackling your next task. Even the scent is energizing. Adding the juice of half a lemon to a glass of water every morning supports liver and gall bladder function, and the citric acid in lemons helps break down lipids and stimulates the digestive juices, which is helpful in reducing body fat and cholesterol.
To get the most out of onion’s cancer-fighting antioxidants, it should be eaten raw; the benefits of its phytochemicals are much lower when cooked at high heat.
Vitamin C has the benefit of staving off disease, and is essential for producing collagen, hormones and neurotransmitters. An average orange provides 70 milligrams of vitamin C, or about 78% to 93% of your daily requirement.
As a high-fiber fruit, a medium pear contains about six grams, which can help with blood sugar control and promote weight loss. Pears are an excellent source of vitamins C and K, and are also packed with B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
Persimmons are a good source of fiber and vitamin C with a wonderful bright color.
Pomegranate is not only a treat for the eyes and palate, but for your health! Pomegranate arils (seeds) provide potassium, magnesium, fiber, and vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6, C, E, and K.
Red Bell Peppers
Red bell peppers are known to be a superfood. One pepper contains twice the vitamin C of an average orange, in addition to other antioxidants.
Popeye probably knew nothing much about vitamins or minerals, but he was spot on about spinach belonging in a muscle-building nutrition plan. Eat it raw, or increase the fiber content by boiling it. The dark color means it’s full of phytochemicals with anti-inflammatory properties. Spinach is also a great source of calcium, and vitamins A, K, and E.
Nachal Nitzanim 7/8, Ramat Beit Shemesh