The goodness of winter vegetables
With winter coming to an end, you don’t have much time to enjoy the goodness of all those wonderful winter vegetables, so get your chopping boards out!
Of course, lettuce and cucumbers are scarce in local fare over the winter months, but there are loads of vegetables available – all adapted to our winter nutritional and health needs. So what are you waiting for to get them on your meal menus?
During winter nobody feels much like eating the 400g of fruit and vegetables recommended by the World Health Organisation. However, whether it be a warming bowl of vegetable soup, a plate of creamy cauliflower cheese or a delicious carrot mash, cooking with winter vegetables is easier than you think. And for those looking to stay slim and healthy, there’s nothing better than a pile of steam winter vegetables to fit the bill.
Leafy green vegetables for minerals and oligo-elements
While all vegetables provide minerals and oligo-elements, some of them are superior to others in this regard. Chicory for example, has lots of potassium and magnesium and Swiss chard is endowed with calcium. Both of these vegetables are easy to braise and go really well with chicken.
And they both contain magnesium, famous for its “anti-tiredness” properties, so a bowl of vegetable soup accompanied by a chicory salad will boost you against winter infections and help you avoid any mineral deficiencies. And if you add some pulses to this vegetable mix, then you’ll be getting a blast of group B vitamins to boost your winter energy levels.
Recipe idea: Braised chicory with thyme
Carrots and pumpkin for protection over winter
To fight against cell ageing and help your skin through the cold weather, don’t forget to get your dose of anti-oxidants such as provitamin A, and vitamins C and E. It’s the moment to eat carrots and pumpkin, both particularly rich in beta-carotene.
Get an instant boost of beta-carotene with a bowl of grated carrots, sprinkled with orange or lemon juice to optimise nutritional value. And did you know that pumpkin has very few calories – 26 Cal for 100g – and is chockers with anti-oxidants, fibre, minerals and vitamins, particularly Vitamin A. Just 100g will give you a whopping 246% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin A, great to look after your skin and mucous membranes.
Cruciferous vegetables for cancer protection
Cruciferous vegetables are a powerful bunch of friends to have around over winter. Broccoli, spinach and turnips are all gorged with lutein, useful to help prevent age-related macular degeneration. And together with cabbage, they are super foods to fight against cancers of the digestive system. Broccoli and cabbage contain sulpharate elements that have a preventive effect on colorectal cancer… and they are full of vitamin B9 and calcium too. What a stunning combination in the humble cabbage!
And then there is another good vegetable friend, garlic. More than 200 scientific studies have attested to the benefits of eating garlic, in particular for the cardiovascular system. A daily clove of garlic will help reduce "bad LDL cholesterol", thanks to the blood thinning qualities the allicin found in that garlic.
Fibre and digestion over winter
We all need 25-30g of fibre a day, a third of this should come from vegetables. This fibre helps digestive transit, makes us feel full and also fights against certain illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease. Those with digestive problems will need to eat their vegetables cooked, particularly those of the crucifer family – not always well tolerated raw. Cooking the vegetables softens their fibres and makes them more easily digestible.
Those vegetables rich in potassium help the body naturally eliminate toxins as well as helping reduce water retention in the body. Celery and leeks are also full of oligo-elements (selenium, chrome…) and especially good to help the body’s natural drainage, making you feel generally lighter.
Recipe idea: Leek and cheese flamiche
And don’t forget about fresh parsley, a wonderful source of vitamin C and available all year round.
Copyright © 2012 Doctissimo
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