In the winter, it can be tough to get enough essential vitamins and minerals. Your favorite nutrient-rich fruits and veggies aren’t in season anymore, and it’s so cold and dark outside that you can’t get enough natural sunlight for that all-important vitamin D. To make matter worse, cold and flu season runs rampant during the colder months, and COVID-19 is still spreading like wildfire through much of the world.
It’s essential that you take in plenty of nutrients to keep your immune system and your overall health and well-being in a peak state. Luckily, there are still plenty of foods available at the supermarket that can keep your body functioning at its best. Here are 50 superfoods to stock up on this winter and why it’s important to choose these particular foods in the colder months.
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. That means that just one cup of this food provides more vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese – all at the same time – than you could get with any other food.
Blood oranges are packed with vitamin C that helps the body heal by supporting healthy blood vessels and muscles while improving iron absorption. They’re also high in anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant known for its anti-cancer properties.
Avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, as well as fiber, which is important for digestive health. Plus, they’re a great source of nutrients, including folate, magnesium, and potassium.
Studies have shown that consumption of cabbage can decrease the risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. Plus, cabbage contains sulforaphane, which has been shown to have cancer-fighting abilities.
Endive is rich in several micronutrients including vitamin A, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and folate. It’s also loaded with fiber, which can promote heart health by binding to cholesterol in the intestines, preventing it from being absorbed, and then removing it from the body.
Oats are rich in fiber, which slows down digestion and the rate that nutrients are absorbed, which in turn increases satiety and promotes weight loss. It also contributes to bowel regularity and helps to prevent constipation.
Lean meats are a great source of protein and have fewer calories than more fatty meats. They’re also a good source of selenium, vitamins B3 and B6, and choline.
The vitamin C in navel oranges is a powerful antioxidant that boosts your immune system. They also contain beta-carotene that can prevent and repair cell damage.
Studies have suggested that both green and black tea might have beneficial effects on heart health, including blood pressure and cholesterol. It has also been shown to improve mental alertness due to the presence of caffeine.
Pears are rich in essential antioxidants, plant compounds, and a whole host of vitamins and minerals. They also contain a soluble fiber called pectin, which nourishes gut bacteria and improves gut health.
Chia seeds are loaded with essential nutrients like iron, calcium, thiamine, and manganese. Health experts advise that chia seeds help boost metabolism, boost digestion, and contribute to an overall healthy immune system and body.
Pomegranates can help prevent high blood pressure, high cholesterol, oxidative stress, and inflammation. They’re high in a certain antioxidant called polyphenol, which has potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic effects.
Grapefruit contains a range of essential vitamins and minerals. It’s also remarkably low on the glycemic index, so it’s perfect for individuals with diabetes or those looking to keep their blood sugar stable or lose weight.
Dark chocolate has been known for years to strengthen the immune system due to the phenolic compounds inside the cocoa. The Imperial College in London also recently found that a compound in cocoa called theobromine is better at suppressing a cough than codeine.
Eggs are high in vitamin D, which our bodies typically get from natural sunlight. In the winter, it’s essential to get enough food sources of vitamin D to make up for the lack of sunlight, but food sources of vitamin D are unfortunately rare. Eggs are a great source of vitamin D, in addition to vitamin E and essential fatty acids.
Blueberries are high in nutrients, antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. Luckily, they still retain all of those impressive health benefits when frozen, so you can enjoy these tasty berries and benefit from all their benefits even if you can’t find them fresh in the winter.
Root vegetables, like beets, are especially important to consume during the winter months. They’re high in folate, manganese, and copper, as well as vitamins A, C, K, and B2, and phytonutrients called betalains.
Garlic contains antimicrobial and antibiotic properties, which help give your immune system an added boost. Plus, it has been shown to provide overall protection for your heart, including reduced cholesterol and lower blood pressure.
Peanuts are high in vitamin E, an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from oxidative stress. They’re also high in copper, which is essential for red blood cell formation and blood vessels, nerves, and the immune system.
Bioactive compounds found in cauliflower have been found to reduce inflammation. Cauliflower is also rich in antioxidants, including certain types of antioxidants that help reduce free radicals and counter oxidative stress.
Used for centuries as a medicinal herb, ginger reduces pain and inflammation, which helps improve nausea, headaches, and menstrual cramps. It also has a warming effect that helps stimulate circulation and improve the health of blood vessels.
Broccoli rabe is easy to get mixed up with its more well-known cousin, but it has plenty of health benefits of its own. It contains more vitamin A than blackberries or summer squash and is a good source of iron.
Sweet potatoes are one of nature’s most abundant sources of beta-carotene. In fact, several studies have shown that sweet potatoes have a superior ability to raise the body’s levels of vitamin, which is important for eye and bone health.
Brussels sprouts contain a phytochemical called glucosinolate, which has been found to protect cells from DNA damage and prevent the growth of cancer cells. They’re also rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, fiber, and health-boosting carotenoids.
Jaggery is a sweetener that’s becoming popular due to its host of potential health benefits. It helps stimulate digestion and is rich in iron that is more readily absorbed by the body compared to other plant sources.
Sesame seeds are loaded with vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, zinc, molybdenum, and selenium. They’re also high in protein, healthy fats, and fiber.
Indian gooseberry may be beneficial in improving cholesterol, lowering inflammation, improving heart health, and boosting weight loss. Though you might not find it on the shelf at your local supermarket, it’s more commonly found at specialty shops or Indian markets.
Turmeric and its powerful ingredient, curcumin, provides natural anti-inflammatory effects and may even protect against cancer growth. Curcumin also helps reduce free radicals, which cause damage to the body’s cells.
Ghee, a clarified form of butter that is actually good for you, is high in vitamin E, one of the most powerful antioxidants you can find in food. It also contains conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA, which has been found to combat cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Raw honey is a pure, unfiltered, and unpasteurized sweetener made by bees. It is high in antioxidants such as the flavonoids pinocembrin, pinostrobin, and chrysin, which help boost the immune system and fight disease.
Clementines are rich in vitamin C. In fact, just one small fruit delivers 60% of your recommended daily value. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps boost the immune system and may even help prevent some cancers.
Pearl millet provides protein, vitamin B6, niacin, and folate. Plus, it has a lower glycemic index than refined grain products, such as white rice and white bread, which helps improve blood sugar levels.
Celeriac is a type of celery that has a lot of health benefits. It is rich in vitamin K, which is important for bone health, and vitamin C, which can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease.
Jicama is loaded with fiber. In just one cup, you’ll get seven grams of fiber, which can help improve digestion and reduce your risk of various digestive diseases and disorders. Plus, it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help lower inflammation.
Lemons are chock-full of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that promote immune and heart health. They are high in vitamin C, folate, potassium, and compounds called limonins, which are present in the juice.
Radicchio is loaded with vitamin K, a high level of antioxidants, and may even help prevent certain cancers. Radicchio also contains large amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin, which are known to boost eye health.
Studies have shown that persimmons reduce the risk of heart disease even more than apples. They’re high in fiber, phenolics, minerals, and polyphenols, especially tannins, which are powerful antioxidants.
Radishes are a natural antifungal agent that can help wipe out the candida albicans fungus that can cause yeast infections and thrush. It’s also a good source of anthocyanins, a flavonoid which is known for being important for heart health.
Three cups of spinach provide over 300% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin K. It also provides over 160% of the daily goal for vitamin A and almost half of the recommended daily value of vitamin C, which both work to support immune function and promote healthy skin, nails, and hair.
Some shiitake mushrooms are enriched via UV-B to provide a significant amount of vitamin D, which can be lacking during the winter months. Shiitake mushrooms naturally contain zinc, manganese, several B-vitamins, and copper.
Studies have shown that coconut oil has antiviral properties that can protect against influenza, hepatitis C, Epstein-Barr virus, and other pathogens. It’s also rich in lauric acid, which has been shown to prevent cancer growth in cells.
Sauerkraut is essentially fermented cabbage, which contains live bacteria. This bacteria helps feed the good bacteria in your gut, which can help combat inflammation and promote better digestion.
Spring greens provide plenty of vitamin C, to support your immune system, and vitamin K, to build bone strength. They’re also high in plant compounds, such as sulforaphane and indoles that have significant anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
Onions are great sources of sulphuric compounds, flavonoids, and phytochemicals. Studies have shown that flavonoids, the compounds responsible for the pigment in onions, may help reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
Studies show that people who drink more coffee are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. Coffee may also help ward off heart disease, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease.
Potatoes are easily digestible, which helps relieve the digestive system from irritation. They can also help reduce stress on the body and mind due to their production of GABA (gamma amino butyric acid), a naturally occurring amino acid known for producing relaxing effects.
Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich plant foods with eight grams of protein per cup. Plus, it’s considered a complete protein as it contains all nine essential amino acids. It’s also a great source of fiber.
Yogurt contains probiotics, beneficial bugs that live in your digestive tract and help crowd out harmful microorganisms that can cause intestinal infections. Plus, it’s high in protein and rich in vitamins, such as potassium, phosphorous, riboflavin, zinc, and iodine.
Wheat germ contains a high amount of dietary fiber, folate, and phosphorus. It’s also high in essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, zinc, vitamin E, and thiamin requirements.
Shellfish are rich sources of lean protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. They’re high in omega-3 fatty acids, which offer a range of health benefits, such as improving brain and heart health.
These superfoods can help provide your body the nutrients it needs, especially in the winter months. Eating a variety of these foods can help bolster your immune system and protect your body from a variety of infections, viruses, and diseases.