Autumn & Winter Superfoods You’ll Want to Eat Every Day
I’m always on the hunt for new foods that might not be something you eat every day (or even consider buying). Expanding food knowledge, developing new recipes, and boosting nutritional intake are all great motivations…but they also have to be delicious! Here are some of my newfound favorites you should think about trying.
Winter Superfood #1 – Radicchio
This chicory veggie looks like a small cabbage and is native to the Mediterranean. If you can find it at your local market, it’s delicious in salads alone or with mixed greens.
It’s packed with nutrition that includes fiber, selenium, vitamins A, B-Complex, C, E, and K, folate, and potassium. It’s naturally good for digestion, vision-protective, anti-malarial, UV-protective, and anti-parasitic. It has been shown to offer a mild painkilling and sedative effect that makes it a great choice for high-stress days.
Roasted Balsamic Radicchio (courtesy of Epicurious)
- 2 heads of radicchio (rinsed and cut into wedges)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons balsamic
- Oil grill or grill pan and heat on medium-high heat.
- Place wedges in pan (single layer).
- Cook, turning occasionally, until wilted and slightly charred (approximately 5 minutes.
- Plate and drizzle with balsamic before serving.
Winter Superfood #2 – Turnips
No one appreciates this veggie! It’s often mistaken as a root vegetable but is actually a member of the cruciferous family. It has more flavor (and nutrition) than a white potato with a unique flavor you should give a chance.
Considered a nutrient-dense food, turnips offer a lot of good stuff with very few calories. High fiber means a great boost to your digestion and the natural nitrates and sulforaphane are excellent for your heart and lowering your cancer risk.
Eat the bulbous root but don’t forget the greens!
Chopped Turnips and Greens
- 2 large turnips (washed and diced into small pieces)
- 1 bunch turnip greens (rinsed well and rough chopped)
- ½ cup finely chopped onion
- ¼ cup minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Oil a large skillet on medium-high heat.
- Cook turnips for approximately 10 minutes stirring occasionally.
- When still firm (not hard), add garlic and onion.
- Cook an additional 3 minutes.
- Add chopped greens and cook until greens are steamed (approximately 5 minutes).
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Note: I like my greens the consistency of lightly sautéed fresh spinach. You can cook turnip greens a little longer if you like them softer.
Winter Superfood #3 – Pomegranates
I know, believe me. These fruits are a mess waiting to splatter your counters with pain in the butt seeds filled with intense red dye. You need to know they’re worth it! They’re one of the most nutrient-rich fruits on the planet (seriously).
Bioactive plant compounds called punicalagins and punicic acid are where the real action happens with pomegranates but they’re also rich in fiber, vitamin C and K, folate, and potassium. They’re known for heart health and being cancer-protective more than anything else.
In fact, one study showed that participants with high blood pressure experienced an 11% drop in their numbers after drinking 6 ounces of the juice daily for 12 weeks.
When I was younger, I had more patience with the seeds. Not anymore. I either juice them myself in the blender (pulse to loosen the pulp) and strain the pieces or I buy organic 100% pomegranate juice. The latter is much easier but it can get pricey depending on where you buy it. The juice is much easier to cook with so I usually opt for that. I found a great recipe for carrots (one of my all-time favorite vegetables) I wanted to share.
Pomegranate-Glazed Carrots (courtesy of Epicurious)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound carrots, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 1 cup pomegranate juice
- 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
- Heat oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking.
- Add carrots and sauté, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes.
- Add pomegranate juice, cinnamon stick, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender and liquid is reduced to a glaze, (about 20 to 25 minutes).
- Add coriander seeds and cook, stirring, 1 minute.
- Discard cinnamon stick and serve carrots hot or at room temperature.
Winter Superfood #4 – Pears
While most people love peaches and nectarines, I always go for the pears. I love them alone, in yogurt, on salads, or as an unusual dessert (that’s the recipe below).
They’re loaded with fiber, copper, vitamin C, vitamin K, and powerful flavonoids. Unlike many of the softer fruits, they’re sweet but rank low on the glycemic index and are easily digested. The skin of the pear has about 4 times as many antioxidants as the flesh so don’t peel it!
Pears are naturally anti-inflammatory and they’ve been scientifically proven to lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Roasted Spiced Pears
- 8 pears (washed, cored, and cut into quarters)
- 6 cups water
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ lemon (juiced and seeded)
- In large pot, combine sugar with water and bring to a boil.
- Add cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and lemon.
- Stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Add pears and reduce heat to low.
- Cover and simmer until pears are tender (20-25 minutes).
- Remove pot from heat.
- Serve hot or room temperature with dollop of cream or Greek yogurt and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon.
Winter Superfood #5 – Wild Salmon
I know you know this one already. I love seafood. Aside from a quality steak, wild salmon hits the spot every single time. It’s easy to prepare, delicious, filling, and so good for you!
This fish is bursting with omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, selenium, vitamin D (one of the few foods to offer a substantial percentage of your daily requirement), protein, phosphorous, and choline. There’s more good stuff (and a lot of it) but those are my favorites!
I’m not going to list all the studies here (there are way too many) but adding wild salmon to your diet even once a week results in a measurable risk reduction for heart disease, mood disorders, chronic pain, vision loss, cancer, and loss of brain cognition.
Roasted Salmon (easy and quick!)
- 4 tablespoons real butter
- 4 tablespoons minced dill
- 1 salmon fillet (1½ pounds)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Place butter and half the dill in a roasting pan (you want the salmon snug to the pan).
- Heat 5 minutes, until butter is melted.
- Add salmon, skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Roast 5 minutes and remove from oven.
- Flip salmon, salt and pepper to taste, and roast an additional 3-5 minutes (depending on level of doneness you prefer and how thick the salmon is).
- Plate and drizzle with butter drippings. Sprinkle with remaining dill.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
I’d love to hear your feedback! What did you try? Did you change anything? I’m always happy to hear from you! Happy cold weather season!
Any statements or claims about the possible health benefits conferred by any foods or supplements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease