In the remaining weeks of winter, we may find that our energy levels decrease.
The antidote? A boost in a natural way.
Kristi Veltkamp, Registered Dietitian at Spectrum Health, has some suggestions on how we can make the most of our winter stash of treats to boost our energy.
Among them are these 9 articles:
Who Said Pumpkin Is Only For The Holidays?
Did you know that pumpkins are a great source of fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A, and lutein? The seeds also have additional nutritional benefits, loaded with omega-3s and phytosterols that can help lower cholesterol.
Pumpkins can help reduce the risk of cancer, especially prostate cancer, and improve diabetes control. Enjoy this warm winter squash with cinnamon and nutmeg on top, in a soup, or roast the seeds with salt sprinkled on it.
The sweet potato, which is not a potato at all, has been around for thousands of years.
It is perhaps the oldest vegetable known to humans.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin C, B6, manganese, potassium, and fiber. This vegetable may help improve type 2 diabetes, improve memory, and fight cancer, especially breast cancer, colorectal cancer, gallbladder cancer, and kidney cancer.
Enjoy these orange treats baked, roasted, or in your favorite sweet potato pie recipe.
Native to the United States and Canada, cranberries have long been used all winter long.
But they pack more than just a sweet flavor. Cranberries are high in fiber and are a great source of vitamin C, phytonutrients, and antioxidants for colds.
Studies have shown that this fruit can fight cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help with peptic ulcers and periodontal disease. Enjoy cranberries raw, dried or in sauces and jellies.
Chocolate is known for its high content of flavanols, a natural compound found in many plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, wine, and tea.
These particular flavanols have a positive effect on the circulatory system, which carries blood through the body.
They help maintain the flexibility of your arteries, which is a key factor in heart health. They also act as antioxidants to fight against harmful free radicals.
Enjoy dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate for more flavanols and antioxidants, and less sugar.
Who doesn’t like to use the nutcracker to shell fresh walnuts by the fire?
These potent snacks have the highest level of heart-healthy omega-3s compared to any other nut. That’s not to say they’re also a good source of B vitamins, minerals, and the cancer fighter vitamin E.
They even contain a powerful antioxidant called melatonin which helps promote restful sleep. Who could refuse this?
Enjoy these roasted or raw nuts in muffins, pancakes or quick breads, on a salad or in your cereal.
As a member of the rose family, apples have over 7,500 varieties across the world.
But they all contain a dose of nutrition in every part of the fruit. It is a rich source of vitamin C, soluble and insoluble fiber, and contains many antioxidants. Most of these nutrients are found in the skin.
They have been used to relieve an upset stomach and to relieve constipation. Studies also show that this fruit can prevent heart disease, protect against cancer, help you lose weight, and improve brain health.
An apple a day could really keep the doctor away. Enjoy these fruits raw, in applesauce or baked in the oven.
There is something in a cold winter day and a hot drink. Why not try some teas?
All real teas come from the Camellia sinensis bush, whether black, green, white or oolong. The difference is only in the way they are processed and the many flavors that can be added to this base.
Tea is a good source of flavonoids, an important antioxidant to help fight disease. They also contain caffeine to give you an energy boost, just when you need it to get through the dreary periods of winter.
Winter is the best time to have fresh oranges as they are at their peak of harvest.
They can offer you more than just immune boosting vitamin C. Oranges also contain potassium, folate, and a rich source of flavanones to fight disease.
They have also been used for colds, constipation, toothaches, cataracts and applied topically for acne. Due to their high vitamin C content, oranges can help the body absorb iron more efficiently for people with low iron content or anemia.
Enjoy this fresh fruit as a parfait or in a salad, in a marinade or in the classic morning juice.
This potent fruit is growing in popularity in the health care community, and for good reason.
Rich in vitamin C and many antioxidants, pomegranates are one of the oldest fruits known and are also in season during the winter months.
They have been used to preserve food and as an antiseptic and disinfectant. Studies have shown that this fruit can also help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, high blood pressure, and bone loss.
Serving can be tricky, but once you remove the seeds, this fruit can be enjoyed on salads, for juicing, or used in sauces and jellies.