The winter months provide us with an assortment of “in season” fruits and vegetables—from hardy root vegetables and citrus fruits to robust leafy greens and tangy cranberries. On your next trip to the grocery store, look for 8 of my favorite, winter season, antioxidant-laden foods. Antioxidants fight the oxidation process, a chemical reaction that can cause damage to many cells in your body. This produce is sure to keep you healthy throughout the winter season.
contain a unique antioxidant called betalain. Choose small to medium beets with firm, smooth skin and no soft spots, with stems and leaves attached.
is part of the cruciferous family and, like the rest of its family, broccoli tastes best (that is, sweeter, less bitter and sharp) when harvested in the cooler temperatures of fall. Broccoli is very high in vitamin C, a premiere antioxidant, and also numerous other antioxidants, including lutein, zeaxanthin, beta-carotene, and kaempferol.
is loaded with antioxidants. The bright purple pigment in cabbage comes from the antioxidant anthocyanin. Cabbage is bright and crisp when raw and mellows and sweetens the longer it's cooked. The cooler the weather it grows in, the sweeter it tends to taste.
are small, sweet oranges available from December through the winter. They’re obviously loaded with the antioxidants vitamin A and C. A tip for picking out citrus fruit: look for pieces that feel heavy for their size. If they weigh more, this means they’re juicier.
are unlike any other fruit because they need to be cooked to release their full flavor. They’re packed with antioxidants shown to benefit the cardiovascular system and immune system and combat cancer.
is another citrus fruit loaded with vitamin C. The rich pink and red colors of grapefruit are due to lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient. Grapefruits from California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona come into season in January and stays sweet and juicy into early summer.
has been identified to have over 45 different flavonoids. Like all hearty cooking greens, cooler weather keeps kale sweet. Look for kale with a deep blue-green color and consider using it as a substitute for spinach.
hold up well in frost so the fall and winter months mark prime pomegranate season. The major antioxidant in pomegranate’s are punicalagins, which are shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. They not only lower cholesterol, but also lower blood pressure and increase the speed at which heart blockages (atherosclerosis) melt away.
Take advantage of this fabulous selection!
In Health and Happiness,
Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist