7 Vegetables that Taste Better in the Winter

According to the ancient science of Ayurveda, seasonal eating helps with digestion, because it favors easier-to-digest foods in the winter when your body is hard at work burning energy to keep you warm (and therefore theoretically has less energy to devote to digestion).
Seasonal produce will be fresher, too, which means its nutrients won’t have time to degrade like the same food left to sit in cold storage for days or weeks. One study found that in-season broccoli (fall) contained nearly twice as much vitamin C as out-of-season (spring) broccoli.
The seasonality of the broccoli had an even bigger impact on vitamin C levels than whether it was organically or conventionally grown. When you eat seasonally, you’re also supporting the environment and your local community, because to get in-season foods you often have to shop locally.
Perhaps best of all, seasonal produce will be at its peak in flavor, too, even if it’s in the middle of winter. Many winter-season vegetables taste better after a frost. This is because as temperatures drop, the cold causes the plants to break down energy stores into sugar, leading to a sweeter, tastier flavor.
With that in mind, the seven foods that follow taste best in the winter, making them ideal to add to your seasonal shopping list.
1. Kale
One cup of kale contains just around 30 calories but will provide you with seven times the daily recommended amount of vitamin K1, twice the amount of vitamin A and a day’s worth of vitamin C, plus antioxidants, minerals, and much more.
This leafy green also has anti-inflammatory properties that may help prevent arthritis, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases – plant-based omega-3 fats for building cell membranes, cancer-fighting sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol, and an impressive number of beneficial flavonoids.
Kale’s sometimes-bitter flavor becomes sweeter in winter and, impressively, kale can survive temperatures as low as 10 degrees F.4
2. Brussels Sprouts
Like kale, Brussels sprouts become sweeter in winter, so if you think you don’t like them, try them again now. One cup of cooked Brussels sprouts contains just 56 calories but is packed with more than 240 percent of the recommended daily amount (RDA) for vitamin K1, and nearly 130 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.
If your Brussels sprouts become overly “smelly,” mushy, or turn a muted green, they’re probably overcooked. Ideally, they should be bright green with a slightly crisp texture and pleasant, nutty/sweet flavor, even after they’re cooked.
3. Kohlrabi
Kohlrabi is German for “cabbage turnip,” which is actually a spot-on way to describe this vegetable’s flavor. This is a great plant to add to your winter garden, as it thrives in cool weather. When planted several weeks before a frost, you can expect a harvest in just a few weeks.
This root vegetable is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, along with such nutrition superstars as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts.
Glucosinolates, which are sulfur-containing compounds found in kohlrabi, appear to have anti-cancer, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and antibacterial benefits.
Kohlrabi can be cooked as you would carrots or turnips, but it can also be eaten raw (and this may be the best way of all).
4. Mustard Greens
Mustard greens have a peppery flavor that’s better after a frost, and they make a perfect warming food on a cold winter day. Notably, they are a phenomenal source of vitamin K1 (providing 922 percent of the recommended daily value in just one cup) and vitamin A (96 percent of the recommended daily value).
Mustard greens are another standout member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, with research showing they rank second only to Brussels sprouts in terms of the cancer-fighting glucosinolates they contain.

5. Parsnips
Parsnips are root vegetables that resemble carrots but are whitish in color and have a sweet, nutty flavor. Their flavor is best after a hard frost. Parsnips are rich in nutrients like fiber, folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Eating foods rich in potassium is important because this nutrient helps offset the hypertensive effects of sodium. An imbalance in your sodium-potassium ratio can lead to high blood pressure and may also contribute to a number of other diseases, including heart disease and stroke.
6. Collard Greens
Collard greens outshined even mustard greens in their ability to bind to bile acids in your digestive tract, which may help support healthy cholesterol levels. Plus, like mustard greens, they’re rich in vitamins K1 and A, along with cancer-fighting glucosinolates that support healthy detoxification and fight inflammation. Like the other winter vegetables mentioned, collard greens become sweeter after a frost.
7. Cabbage
Some types of cabbage can be grown in temperatures as low as 26 degrees F. Cabbage contains powerful antioxidants like vitamins A and C and phytonutrients such as thiocyanates, lutein, zeaxanthin, isothiocyanates, and sulforaphane, which stimulate detoxifying enzymes and may protect against breast, colon and prostate cancers. Cabbage also contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients to help keep inflammation in check.
Article adapted from Mercola.com.

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