There is a nip in the air, and aren't we glad. In this season, we need to shield our body internally with nutritious warm foods that are comforting and can protect us from the chilly winds. There are some vegetables that are capable of making ourselves warm even under the blanket of snow and provides us nutrition as well as flavour during this time of the year.
Here are my top 5 picks for healthy vegetables we should incorporate in our diet during winter season.
This delicious super food contains all the essential Vitamins such as Vit. A, B,B2,B3,C,D,E & K. It is loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotene which regulates conversion of Vitamin A in the body and this in turn contributes to better vision, slow down aging process, prevent heart disease, healthier skin, hair and nails. Since vitamin A assists the liver in flushing out of toxins, it cleanses the body and the liver. You can use carrots in sandwiches, wraps or salads if you are planning to lose weight.
This green leafy vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin A and K, and it contains large amount of iron that is necessary for the red blood cells in the body. It prevents the body from seasonal infections. Eating spinach can also boost your immune system, gives you strong muscles, support heart health and keep you energized. Additionally, it also promotes weight loss- you can have delicious green smoothie daily.
3. SWEET POTATOES
Sweet potatoes are healthy alternative to potatoes and are readily available during winters. It is rich in fiber, beta-carotene, Vitamin A, B6 & C. It prevents constipation, common colds and also aids in the formation of blood cells. You can roast it or boil it, or have it with pepper and olive oil drizzled on top for better absorption of nutrients.
4. MUSTARD GREENS (SAAG)
These crispy green leaves contains colossal amount of phytonutrients called glucosinolates and should be a part of your winter diet. They help in protecting the cells of our liver and other organs from free radical damage and aids in detoxification. They are also an excellent source of fiber.
It is a must - have vegetable in winters and is extremely delicious if you acquire a taste of it. It contains iron, vitamin A, B6 & C and other vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is a great detoxifer, keeps your blood sugar in control, and manage obesity and heart diseases. In addition to this, it helps to increase white blood cells too.
Here is few soup recipes you can make with the use of these delicious winter vegetables:
1. SPINACH GARLIC SOUP
The abundance of healthy fibres in this soup helps regulate bowel movements, facilitates the absorption of nutrients and easy digestion. The water present in it nourishes the body cells and keep the skin fresh.
2-3 cups Spinach (shredded)
1 cup cabbage (shredded)
1 tsp Olive oil
1 tsp Garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup Onion (chopped)
1/4 tsp Black pepper
1 cup low fat milk (optional)
Salt for taste
1. Wash the spinach and cabbage with water thoroughly and with sharp knife, shred their leaves.
2. Heat the olive oil in a deep non-stick pan and once the oil is hot, add the garlic and onions.
3. Saute' both on a medium flame till the onions turns translucent.
4. Add spinach and cabbage and saute on a medium flame until both cooked and wilted.
5. Add 2 cups of water slowly, mix well and boil the mixture for 3-5 minutes while stirring occasionally.
6. Switch off the flame and cool the mixture slightly. Then transfer the mixture in mixed jar for blending until smooth texture.
7. Transfer the mixture into same non-stick pan and add low fat milk or water and season it with salt and black pepper.
8. Cook the mixture on medium flame for 2 minutes with continuous stirring in between.
9. Switch off the flame and serve the soup hot.
2. CARROT BEETROOT GINGER SOUP
Benefits - Made with the goodness of beetroot, carrot and ginger along with the freshness of coriander leaves, this soup provides warmth and immunity while curbing your sudden hunger pangs. This soup the excellent source of Vitamin A and iron.
1 Cup Beetroot (chopped and peeled)
2 cup carrots (chopped and peeled)
1/2 cup onion (chopped)
1 inch long ginger (chopped)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt for taste
Fresh coriander leaves (chopped)
1. Heat the Olive oil in a medium stock pot and once the oil is hot, add chopped ginger and onions.
2. Brown the ingredients over medium heat with frequent stirring. Then, add chopped carrots and beetroot.
3. Add 2-3 cups of water in a pan and boil it on low flame till the vegetables are soft.
4. Cool down the mixture and use standard blender or immersion to puree the mixture until smooth.
5. Add more water if the soup seems too thick and reheat gently.
6. Add salt according to taste and black pepper and boil it for 1 minute with occasional stirring.
7. To serve hot, garnish the soup with freshly chopped coriander leaves.
About Author: Ms. Gurpreet Kaur is a Clinical Nutritionist at Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh.
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