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Nutritional expert Stephanie Yates from Bulk.com recommended the best superfoods to boost health this month as well as staying in good shape, and revealed her top tips for finding the cheapest options in supermarkets.
Stephanie advised buying foods that are in season, as eating seasonal produce not only tastes better but is also lower in price than other fresh goods that aren’t easily sourced at this time of year.
She explained: “Understanding seasonality can be useful when planning meals ahead or budgeting for weekly shops. However, it can be difficult to know exactly what is in season and for how long.
“A simple way to keep up with what’s in season is keeping an eye on the prices of produce in supermarkets. When the prices drop, that’s usually a sign that the food is coming into the season, whereas high prices are a good indicator that the food is out of season.”
What are the best foods to be consumed during the winter months?
In terms of fruits, she suggested blackberries, pears, and pomegranates, “as not only will they be at their cheapest, they’ll also be much brighter and taste better as they haven’t travelled long distance before reaching your plate”.
For those who are looking to lose weight this winter, blackberries are a great option to satisfy the sweet tooth as a cup of raw blackberries has only 62 calories.
Pears are also a great option as they are low in calories, high in water, and packed with fibre. Pomegranates are also rich in fibre, help curb the appetite and prevent blood sugar spikes.
For vegetables, Stephanie recommended opting for mushrooms, peppers, rocket, and squash. “Not only will you get more for your money, but you’ll also get more nutrients from these foods as eating fresh ripe produce optimises the concentration of nutrients,” she said.
Mushrooms are an excellent source of both fibre and protein and help to burn fat in the body because their nutrients naturally regulate glucose levels in the blood.
Peppers have been shown to boost metabolism as well as suppress appetite, rocket is very low in calories, only containing 25 calories per 100g, and squash is also a great choice as it contains a high amount of fibre, including both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Best superfoods to have this winter and their health benefits:
Blackberries – A great source of vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin K, blackberries are also packed with antioxidants that can help to fight the effects of the common cold. Not only that, but they contain fibre, which helps with digestion, reduces cholesterol, and makes you feel fuller for longer.
Cabbage – Many studies suggest that increasing consumption of foods like cabbage decreases the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and overall mortality. It can also help promote a healthy complexion, increased energy, and overall lower weight. Eating cabbage is also linked to lowering high blood pressure, as it contains potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that helps your body control blood pressure.
Mushrooms – Mushrooms can also help with vitamin D as they are the only type of produce which contains this vitamin. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium to maintain and build strong bones.
Pears – “Pears are not only delicious and low in calories, but they also offer a wide number of health benefits. They are a rich source of key minerals, including copper and potassium. Copper plays a role in immunity, metabolism, and nerve function, whereas potassium aids muscle contractions and heart function,” Stephanie said.
Peppers – Eating peppers could have a surprising impact on health. Bell peppers are rich in antioxidants and vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene which help to protect against conditions like heart disease.
Plums – Plums are stuffed with fibre, helping slow down a blood sugar spike after consuming carbohydrates. They can also help to regulate blood sugar levels, as they boost the body’s production of the hormone adiponectin. Even dried plums may have benefits, as research on animals shows prunes may help reduce and even reverse bone loss.
Pumpkin – Like carrots, pumpkin is high in beta carotene, not to mention vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, and folate, which strengthen your immune system. Adding pumpkin to your diet can help your immune cells work better to fight germs, and even speed healing when you get a wound.
Rocket – Rocket contains calcium, which is vital for bone and tooth health, muscle function and nerve function. It’s also full of folate, a B vitamin which supports the production of DNA and other genetic material. Folate is particularly important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
Squash – A food staple during the winter months, squash can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Research suggests that phytonutrients, such as zeaxanthin and lutein, found in butternut squash may help to protect eye health. Alongside this, beta-carotene also plays a role in eye health and healthy cell renewal, which you’ll find inside a variety of squash.
Pomegranate – Pomegranates contain ellagitannins, which are compounds that help to reduce inflammation in the body. Thanks to this, they also help with our brain health, protecting against conditions that cause oxidative stress. These ellagitannins are believed to help the gut produce a compound known as urolithin A, which has been studied for its capabilities to reduce delay the onset of cognitive diseases
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