If you are interested in getting the most nutritional bang for your buck, look no further than superfoods. What’s so super about them, you ask? Basicially, superfoods are simply those that are plentiful in multiple nutrients and have been shown through scientific research to offer health benefits.
You are no doubt already eating a superfood-rich diet — broccoli and blueberries to name a couple — but there are lots that you probably aren’t eating. Here are 5 healthy superfoods to get your hands on this February.
Photo courtesy of keithcr
I grew up in Louisiana, and I was a huge fan of the local Community brand coffee with chicory. I couldn’t imagine that the same chicory I used to drink in my coffee was the same chicory I now see offered as a seasonal green in fancy restaurant salads — but it was (one was the root and the other was the leafy greens, but still the same plant!)
Chicory root is known to detoxify the liver, as well as to aid digestion — both of which would come in handy after a weekend in the Big Easy 🙂
The greens, on the other hand, pack a punch of vitamin A, vitamin K, and choline to name a few. Cruise by your favorite farmer’s markets in February and pick up a head of chicory to serve up in your salads or to saute and serve under your favorite protein.
Photo courtesy of jeltovsk
This was not intended to be a post about Louisiana, but again I am struck by a memory of numerous kumquat trees that lined the neighboring fence of my elementary school’s playground. We had no idea what these little orange globes were until a teacher told us, but burned countless hours picking these sweet little beauties as kids.
The peak of the growing season is in the winter lasting until about March, so now is an ideal time to try this citrus fruit that is high in potassium, as well as vitamins C and A.
To eat, rinse & toss the whole thing in your mouth – be careful with the seeds!
Photo courtesy of Alvimann
Maca is a root originating in South America which has been shown in clinical studies to boost libido. Maca is also known to improve stamina in athletes, regulate hormonal imbalances, and even help with fatigue.
Maca is available in powder form, which is great for adding to smoothies and protein shakes. Don’t go overboard, though … the powder can be quite bitter in large doses.
There are a variety of teas, energy bars, and even chocolates that contain maca — a super convenient way to taste test this superfood.
Photo courtesy of MaxStraeten
I love parsnips and include them in one of my favorite winter comfort dishes, Winter Vegetable Shepherd’s Pie, a recipe I found in Food & Wine magazine.
Parsnips are high in fiber, which we need to aid in the prevention of heart disease, and some types of cancer. They also contain a healthy dose of folate, a nutrient necessary in energy metabolism and essential for women planning to become pregnant.
When you go on a hunt for parsnips, they look like a big white carrot. They’ll probably be hiding next to the radishes and other root veggies in almost any produce section of a any supermarket during the winter months.
Last but not least … passion fruit … you can’t leave this seasonal fruit off the list in February because of its name alone!
Passion fruit is a great source of vitamins A and C, and don’t be afraid to eat the seeds for an extra dose of fiber.
These exotic beauties are also a good source of plant-based iron, a perfect healthy snack for vegetarians who may need an iron boost.