We can all relate to the winter blues. It’s hard to stay motivated to eat healthy and exercise consistently when the days are shorter and colder. Well, you’re in luck! My job as a dietitian is to keep you motivated and educated. I have made a list of what I call my favorite winter super foods. Incorporating these foods into your meals will increase your energy and thus, provide you with the motivation to live a healthier lifestyle. The super foods listed below are “real foods.” They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber that will help you beat the winter blues.
Ginger– a new favorite to our super food list. What’s not to love about the lemony, pungent, slightly sweet and spicy taste of ginger? Ginger can be found in four different forms: fresh root, powdered, pickled, and candied. It contains potassium and small amounts of magnesium and phosphorous. Like other herbs, Ginger is widely known for its aphrodisiac powers and plentiful supply of antioxidants. It is used to reduce appetites and fevers, improve digestion, and as a diuretic. Herbalists use ginger to treat cough and colds, arthritis, joint pain, toothaches, menstrual cramps, motion sickness, nausea, and colitis. Ginger is also an anti-inflammatory, improving circulation and the immune system. Try ginger in soups, sandwiches, dips, beverages and desserts.
Avocado– this heart healthy super food will always be included on our super food lists. It is a powerhouse of nutrients. Avocados are rich in vitamins A, C, and E and are high in potassium. They also contain carotenoids, fiber, folate, monosaturated fats, and antioxidants. These nutrients help stabilize blood sugar and lower cholesterol. Avocados boost the immune system, slow the aging process, and encourage a healthy nervous system. They are easy to incorporate in a salad, sandwich, or dip.
Carrots– next to potatoes, carrots are the second most popular vegetable. Carrots are known for their high vitamin A content. They are also good sources of vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin K, biotin, fiber, potassium and thiamine. Carrots have anti-aging properties and they are known for improving our vision. They also are strong inhibitors of stomach cancer and heart disease. Try carrots in smoothies or cooked in your favorite recipes.
Dark Chocolate– yes, chocolate! Studies have shown that eating a small amount of this mood boosting food (a few times per week) will provide many health benefits. Dark chocolate improves cognitive function and blood circulation. It has a low glycemic index, keeping blood sugar at an optimal level. Dark chocolate contains antioxidants that protect our cells from disease and slow the signs of aging. It’s also a good source of potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron. Enjoy it by itself or in your favorite dessert.