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Vegging Out in a Winter Wonderland: Top 10 Vegetables for the Winter Season

Posted By Worker Bee On January 8, 2008 @ 12:21 pm In Carbs,Diet,Health,Nutrition,Prevention,Top 10 Lists | 13 Comments

Mashed potatoes and steak, mashed potatoes and chicken, mashed potatoes and meat loaf. And we wonder why people pack on the pounds once winter hits. Break out of your vegetable rut with these popular winter wonders:

Artichoke:

Touted as an excellent source of fiber, and vitamins A and C, artichokes also provide a hefty dose of magnesium, folate, copper, potassium and phosphorous. The artichokes themselves are compromised of a meaty lower half, known as the heart, and a protective covering of purple leaves and thorns (but don’t let that discourage you!). Artichokes are best when submerged in cold water, rubbed with lemon (to prevent browning) and then steamed or served cold in salad with a tart vinaigrette.

Bok Choy:

Although once relegated to Asian dishes, Bok Choy is increasingly stepping out and moonlighting as another winter favorite…the cabbage. Indeed, this leafy green vegetable—which is an excellent source of folate and vitamins A and C—has become a popular addition to winter casseroles as well as a regular accompaniment to corned beef! Bok Choy is best when the leaves are glossy and free of brown spots and the stalks are a bright white.

Broccoli Rabe:

The international vegetable of mystery, this leafy green vegetable is not only easy to confuse with just plain ol’ broccoli, but also has more aliases than Jennifer Garner (often going by the name of just rabe or, harking back to its Italian roots, rapini). This popular salad favorite—which is also good served steamed or lightly sautéed in olive oil—is a good source of vitamin C and iron and contains high volumes of phytochemicals, which are though to protect against cancer.

Cauliflower:

Rising to popularity during the Atkins diet frenzy of the 90s, if the cauliflower could speak it would request to be considered more than just a substitute for mashed potatoes. Counting broccoli and cabbage among its not-too-distant relatives, cauliflower is thought to reduce the risk of cancer, particularly those affecting the colon and liver. Cauliflower can be used to add bulk to winter casseroles and soups but is also tasty when steamed and paired with a cheese or chilli sauce or served raw in salads.

Celery Root:

Although it gets a bad rap for having a high Glycemic Index (and for being possibly one of the ugliest vegetables in the produce aisle) celery root actually contains very little sugar, meaning that it overall has very little impact on blood sugar levels. Further upping its health ante, celery root—or celeriac—is a good source of vitamin C, calcium and iron. Similar to cabbage, celery root makes a popular addition (or substitution) in coleslaw, stir fry, or to add flavoring in various soups and stews.

Kale:

Logging off the chart levels of vitamin K, A and C and a high fiber content for relatively few calories, kale sure does pack a mean nutritional punch. The high vitamin A content—which logs in at 164% RDA for one cup—provides protection against ailments of the eye and promotes lung health, while the vegetable’s vitamin C content bolsters the body’s immune response and provides protection against rheumatoid arthritis. Kale is best served as an addition to hearty winter soups and stews.

Radishes:

A few carefully placed cuts can easily transform these mighty morsels into a beautiful rose garnish, but this little red stunner is also a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate, sulphur, iron and iodine. Used to spice up a vegetable juice cocktail, liven up a salad or add punch to a stir-fry, the radishes anti-inflammatory properties can help clear sinus cavities, soothe a sore throat or even reduce the symptoms of asthma. In addition, the veggies’ high potassium level can promote kidney health and reduce the risk of stroke.

Rhubarb:

Rhubarb and custard, rhubarb pie, rhubarb cobbler, rhubarb jam…and the desert list goes on. Despite frequently masquerading as a delectable desert option, this vegetable (that’s right, vegetable!) also works well when paired with richer meats such as lamb or when added to salad dressings, salsas or sauces. Healthwise, rhubarb is considered a good source of calcium, fiber and vitamin C and is thought to extinguish heartburn, reduce cholesterol, decrease hot flashes in menopausal women and protect against infection.

Snow Peas:

Coming to us as the flatter, sweeter version of the run-of-the-mill garden pea, the sweet pea is a prime source of fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium and magnesium. Eaten pod-included, the snow pea makes a welcome addition to stir-fried dishes featuring soy, sesame and ginger as well as in when added raw to salads.

Watercress:

Rumored to be a Liz Hurley slim down secret—when made into soup—watercress can also be added to salads, served as a garnish with fish or poultry or used to add flavor to stir-fry and other Asian dishes. Watercress logs high levels of beta-carotene and vitamin C as well as the minerals calcium and iron for increased immunity.

Hit us up with your favorite winter vegetable in the comment board!

Further Reading:

Smart Winter Fuel: Avocados [7]

Healthy Tastes Great! [8]

More Tuesday 10s [9]

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