Winter vegetables are those that can grow even when the weather is very cold outside, including when there’s a frost.
Vegetables that can be grown in colder weather are rich in nutrients, including vitamins A, C and K.
Plus they contain fiber that support a healthy digestion and immune system support.
Root vegetables, like beets and carrots for example, actually develop a higher starch or sugar content when temperatures drop in order to help them withstand frost, which contributes to a delicious flavor.
Yet another reason to eat seasonal produce.
Not all winter produce though falls into the root vegetable category.
Cruciferous vegetables are also grown in the winter, such as broccoli, kale, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage.
Read on to some of the benefits associated with eating winter vegetables. Recipes for each can also be found.
Broccoli is high in fiber.
It also contains cancer-fighting compounds like glucosinolates.
Also antioxidants such as carotenoids, chlorophyll, vitamins E and K, essential minerals and phenolic compounds.
RECIPE – Baked Garlic and Broccoli
Cauliflower is high in essential vitamins, carotenoids, fiber, soluble sugars, minerals like folate and potassium, and phenolic compounds.
Various antioxidants found in cauliflower include beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, rutin and kaempferol.
All of these antioxidants can help reduce oxidative stress in the body.
RECIPE – Chopped Broccoli Tomato and Bacon Salad (recipe contains cauliflower).
Kale is loaded with flavonoid antioxidants, including quercetin and kaempferol.
The leafy vegetable also contains vitamins and minerals that include, vitamins A, C and K, B vitamins, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium and magnesium.
RECIPE – Moroccan Three Bean and Kale Soup
Brussels sprouts taste great when their roasted.
There a fibrous vegetable packed with calcium, potassium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin K.
The little green globes are full of antioxidants as well that help fight cancer.
All varieties of cabbage are low in calories but high in fiber, which includes insoluble fiber that supports digestive health.
Cabbage contains vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese and antioxidants, such as anthocyanins.
Beets are a unique root vegetable as they are one of the best dietary sources of nitrates, which help promote healthy blood flow and blood pressure.
They are also a great source of fiber, folate, manganese, potassium, iron and vitamin C.
Beets also have protective compounds like betanin and vulgaxanthin, which fight inflammation.
RECIPE – Baked Beets and Sweet Potato Chips
Carrots contain vitamin A also known as beta-carotene, which supports healthy skin and eye health.
Carrots are high in antioxidants, including lutein and zeaxanthin, which support healthy aging and fight free radical damage.
The root vegetable also has vitamin K, potassium, thiamine, niacin and fiber.
Fennel is a vegetable that supports digestive health because of unique compounds it contains.
Fennel has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-tumor and antispasmodic properties.
The vegetable also contains a number of disease-fighting phenolic compounds, such as bioflavonoids, phenolic acids, tannins, coumarins and hydroxycinnamic acids.
Fennel also contains potassium, B vitamins and including vitamins A and C.
RECIPE – Citrus Fennel and Avocado Salad
Nutritionally, all winter squash are high in vitamin A (alpha-carotene and beta-carotene), vitamin C, vitamin B6 and magnesium.
Squash is fibrous with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, and polysaccharide carbohydrates.
RECIPE – Coconut and Butternut Squash Soup
Sweet potatoes pair perfectly with spices like cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg in both sweet and savory dishes.
Not to mention, they’re full of fiber and vitamins A, C and vitamins B-6 and B-12.
They also contain potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
RECIPE – Roasted Charred Sweet Potatoes
Enjoy these recipes as well with cold weather vegetables.