What is in the Season- December
Winter is officially starting in less than a month, around grocery stores it is quite normal to see the same produce found in the summer, but just because it is available now does not mean the quality of these fruits and vegetables is the same every season. Seasonal eating is a great way to bring rich flavor, better nutrition, cost efficiency, environmental friendly, and most importantly community benefit to the plate. Seasonal eating does not have to become a commitment, by simply selecting one of these in your next meal can provide benefits to your health – Seasonal Food guide – December.
Winter squashes are rich in protein, vitamins C and B6, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. They have a denser texture and flavor which go well in soups, stews, casseroles, bread, and desserts. Another way to enjoy this winter squash is by scooping and eaten straight from its shell after cooking it in the oven.
Kale is a nutrient-dense food, it is extremely high in nutrients and very low in calories causing it to be one of the healthiest vegetables. Kale contains plenty of antioxidants such as quercetin and kaempferol, which are known to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Furthermore, kale is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps the body turn this antioxidant into vitamin A.
Celeriac is a root vegetable similar to celery, parsley, and parsnips. This vegetable can be cooked or eaten raw and placed in salads. Celeriac is high in fiber vitamins B6, C, and K, and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and manganese. Furthermore, celeriac is rich in antioxidants which protects against certain cancers and promotes heart and bone health.
Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables, they are packed with vitamins and minerals and are also a great source of antioxidants, which can reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The starch in the Potatoes can help reduce insulin resistance which will improve blood sugar control. Potatoes are naturally gluten-free, which makes them an excellent food choice for people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Lemons are vitamin C rich which can lower cholesterol. Lemons can help weight loss and reduce your risk of heart disease, anemia, kidney stones, digestive issues, and cancer. Not only are they healthy, but lemons are essential to home cooking because of their pleasant taste and smell that add freshness to every meal.
Brussels sprouts are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are known to reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar control which provides the potential to reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, brussels sprouts contain a high ratio of sulfur, which can remove toxins from the blood. Did you know, eating a meal of Brussels sprouts daily will help sponge out toxins.
Leeks are a good source of vitamins A, C, and K, they also contain minerals such as iron and manganese which are both vital to red blood cells and keeping the regulation of brain and nerve function. In addition, leeks are a great source of fiber, they can be a good solution to constipation and also cleanse the bowels which will promote movement.
Oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants. Did you know that eating one orange which is about 100 mg of vitamin C, is equivalent to 130 percent of the daily recommended intake. For this reason, oranges can lower the risk of diseases, heart disease, and kidney stones development.
Radishes are rich in antioxidants and minerals such as calcium and potassium. These two nutrients aid in lowering high blood pressure and reduce the risks of heart disease.
Community Supported Agriculture
During these unprecedented times and coming holidays, consider buying from local businesses such as the local farmer’s markets or farm to table programs in your area to support the local community. A wonderful and leading example is CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which means that your purchase comes from the farm’s harvest. This method is a great way to support local businesses who are hired to grow the food on your plate! On their website, CSA farms would normally give randomized boxes with fresh produce from the farm, now they have upgraded their online platform to provide more options. The steps to getting in on the process are to
- Create an online profile with the farm you want.
- Set a preference to the produce that is grown for a customized box
- Enjoy locally grown in-season produce