When it comes to nutrition, usually the simplest things are the best, and how much more simple can you get than hearty, warming winter vegetables. Eating produce in season guarantees more flavour, more nutrients and fewer food miles, not to mention supporting local growers and suppliers.
Luckily, these days we are spoiled with weekend produce markets, organic food stores and delivery services, making access to the vegetables we desire incredibly easy.
Here we do a little investigating and break down a few of our favourite winter goodies to ensure we get the most back for our buck.
A member of the cabbage family, kale is one of the most nutritionally dense vegetables out. Loaded with vitamin C, K and A and high in calcium, manganese and omega-3 fatty acids, kale has been linked to lowering cholesterol and reducing heart disease risk.
Fry it with a bit of garlic and olive oil as a yummy side dish, or add it to your favourite smoothie recipe for an added health boost! Perfect for your Fressko flask (wink wink).
An Autumn/Winter winner, pumpkins are the hearty, tasty poster-child for cozy soups and crusty bread slathered with butter. Yum. But the health benefits of these beautiful vegetables are also nothing to be sniffed at.
Pumpkins are high in vitamin C, potassium, copper and manganese. They are also high in beta-carotene, a carotenoid that turns into vitamin A. Healthy levels of vitamin A are essential for eye health along with Lutein and Zeaxanthin - also found in pumpkin.
Low in carbs, low in fat and a good source of fibre, pumpkins are an excellent food to have when trying to avoid anything too heavy - as long as we lay off the butter a little!
A popular choice for a side dish, Sunday roast or raw snack, carrots are often a go-to all year round.
In hues of orange, purple, yellow and even white, carrots are loved for their slightly sweet but earthy flavour and are packed with helpful nutrients and antioxidants. Only half a cup of carrots will give you 73% of your daily vitamin A requirements - making that myth about carrots being good for your eyes accurate.
High in fibre and potassium, carrots also offer relief from constipation and a healthy digestive system. That’s a tick from us!
Part of the brassica family, along with brussels sprouts and kale, cabbage can be eaten raw in a salad, pickled or cooked and can be a great source of vitamins and minerals.
The red cabbage, in particular, holds anthocyanins, an antioxidant found only in purple fruit and vegetables. Studies have shown evidence that anthocyanins can aid in cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart attacks.
We love this quick and straightforward pickled red cabbage recipe - give it a try. It’s delicious!
Delicious and versatile, the humble broccoli boasts an impressive nutritional profile. It is high in fibre, vitamin C, potassium and B6, which the body uses to help store energy.
Broccoli also holds a host of antioxidants and phytochemicals responsible for boosting the immune system and neutralising free radicals - the damaging molecules made during metabolism.
Broccoli hack: Don’t throw away the stalk! It is arguably the tastiest part of the vegetable. Try making baton size sticks and dipping in hummus or tzatziki. Scrumptious.