11 HEALTHY FRUITS FOR WINTER
The variety of seasonal products on store shelves is significantly reduced during winter. However, their nutritional value and taste are worth looking for.
Winter vegetables and fruits contain many nutrients the body needs in cold weather.
What fruits to grow in winter? In winter, citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits, kiwis, and persimmons are considered seasonal fruits. Nutrients in their composition, including vitamin C, fiber, and magnesium, help support the immune system.
Top 11 Winter Fruits
The availability of fruits in winter in different regions depends on temperature, climate, and the degree of agricultural development.
In tropical regions closer to the equator, fruits such as bananas, coconuts, and avocados grow all year round. While in the more northern areas, the variety of fruits available in winter is much less.
Some of the healthiest winter fruits include:
There are wide varieties of oranges on the market, including kara-kara, navel, mineola, blood orange, and others.
They are a rich source of vitamin C and flavonoids (e.g., hesperidin).
Small oranges are called clementines. This is a hybrid of two citrus fruits: mandarin and orange.
In supermarkets, they can be bought by weight or in nets. Children especially love clementines as they are easy to peel and contain virtually no seeds. They are also rich in vitamin C.
Tangerines are citrus fruits similar in appearance to small oranges. Like oranges, they are high in vitamin C (about 25% of the daily value of one medium-sized tangerine).
This fruit is grown in the southern regions of countries such as the USA, China, Mexico, and others. Grapefruit season falls from January to late spring.
Grapefruit is high in vitamin C, vitamin A, and beneficial phytochemicals such as lycopene and beta-carotene, limonoids (limonin), and flavonoids (naringenin). They can protect the body from the action of free radicals and oxidative stress, which contribute to aging and the development of chronic diseases.
Kumquat is a small fruit with a sweet and sour taste. A relative of citrus plants, the kumquat is rich in vitamin C and fiber.
But unlike oranges, tangerines, and other citrus fruits, it can be consumed with the skin on. The flesh has a sour taste, but the peel gives the fruit sweetness and also contains many beneficial compounds.
Lemon and lime
While limes and lemons are sold year-round in supermarkets, the Meyer lemon variety is usually found on the shelves only in the middle of winter. Meyer lemons are sweeter than regular ones and are often used in baked goods and smoothies.
There are many reasons to add lemons and limes to your diet. So, they give dishes and drinks some sourness, while they contain few calories and sugar.
They contain powerful flavonoids, including quercetin, luteolin, apigenin, and hesperidin.
Kiwi is a small, fluffy fruit with green flesh and tiny seeds. Harvesting begins in winter and continues throughout spring. It especially contains a lot of vitamin C (more than 100% of the daily value in one small kiwi). Moreover, it contains vitamin K, vitamin E, and potassium.
Pomegranate is a red sweet, sour fruit with many small seeds. These seeds, like pomegranate juice, contain many antioxidants, including flavonoids that prevent cancer, remove toxins, protect the heart, and more. The fruit contains vitamins K and C, folic acid, and potassium.
Cranberries are red berries rich in antioxidants and nutrients that prevent cancer, infections, and inflammation and increase markers of heart disease. Among these substances are anthocyanins, quercetin, benzoic acid, and epicatechins.
In addition, cranberries contain many vitamins C, E, K, and manganese.
Persimmon is a round orange fruit native to Asia, rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese. It also contains antioxidants such as gallic acid and epicatechin gallate. These two compounds positively affect health by lowering cholesterol levels, helping to reduce inflammation, and lowering blood pressure.
The USDA also recommends eating the following fruits during the cold season:
- a pineapple
- passion fruit
Benefit for health
Including fruits such as oranges, pomegranates, and kiwis in your diet will help make up for vitamin C deficiency and increase your intake of antioxidants. Winter fruits are useful for the following reasons:
- Rich in vitamin C. This important element and antioxidant supports immunity has anti-cancer properties, improves brain function and skin appearance, and strengthens the heart.
- Good Sources of Vitamin A. Vitamin A is another antioxidant that positively affects vision and eye health, cardiovascular health, and skin appearance.
- Provide the body with fiber. The dietary fiber in fruits is essential for the proper functioning the digestive system and intestinal health. Fiber prevents constipation, reduces appetite, normalizes cholesterol levels, and “feeds” probiotics, beneficial microorganisms in the intestines.
- Support cognitive function. Antioxidants in fruits, including flavonoids and polyphenols, can improve brain function and reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment.
- It may support cardiovascular health. Fruits such as grapefruit and pomegranate help keep cholesterol levels in check and lower systolic blood pressure, which protects against heart disease and stroke.
- It may protect against cancer. Citrus, kiwi, and other fruits fight oxidative stress and protect cells from damage. Scientists believe that antioxidants play an important role in maintaining health, and some studies suggest that they help protect against various chronic diseases, including cancer.
- Protect bones. Some fruits contain minerals that strengthen bones, including potassium and vitamin C.
- Protect against the formation of kidney stones. Fruits can increase the citrate level in the urine, thus preventing the formation of kidney stones.
- It may promote weight loss. Winter fruits are high in water and fiber and low in calories. This makes them a great addition to any diet.
- Helps heal wounds and relieve joint pain. Cranberries, pomegranates, and some other fruits have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that accelerate the recovery of connective tissues.
- Reduce the risk of infections. Winter fruits’ antioxidant and antimicrobial components can kill harmful bacteria and naturally treat urinary tract infections and acne.
How to Add Fruit to Your Diet (Recipes)
Winter fruits can be eaten raw, made into juice, or added to fruit salad, yogurt, cottage cheese, or granola. If citrus fruits like grapefruit are too sour for your taste, then add a little raw honey.
Citrus fruits are often used to make smoothies, marmalade, and various desserts such as cakes, pies, and muffins. Lemon and lime juice are essential in salad dressings, marinades, fresh juices, smoothies, and more.
Cranberries are often present in pastries, meat, and fish dishes, as well as in various sauces and jams. Pomegranate is not only a great choice as a snack. It can be added to cereals, yogurts, and pomegranate juice and has therapeutic properties.
Winter fruits can be used to prepare the following dishes:
- Apple cider with cranberries
- Strawberry smoothie with kiwi
- Pomegranate pudding with chia seeds
- Tahini with orange
- Healthy lime pie
- Detox cocktail
- Salad with beets and pomegranate
- Orange juice with carrots and ginger
In the cold period, in addition to fruits, you should pay attention to vegetables such as:
- Brussels sprouts
- White cabbage
Risks and side effects
For all their health benefits, fruits contain a lot of sugar, a small amount of protein, and healthy fats, so combining them in the diet with other nutritious foods is best.
Compared to whole fruits, fruit juices contain many more calories, which can contribute to weight gain.
Citrus fruits contain more lemon juice than other fruits. It can damage tooth enamel and increase the risk of caries. For this reason, you should not get carried away with citrus fruits; try to diversify your diet with other tasty and no less healthy fruits and berries.
Some types of fruit may interact with medications. For example, grapefruit, tangelo, and Seville orange contain the chemical furanocoumarin, which blocks the action of a certain enzyme needed to break down certain drugs, such as statins and benzodiazepines.
If you take any medications before trying a new type of fruit, we recommend you consult a specialist and rule out adverse effects.
It is also worth noting that kiwi is a strong allergen (10% of all cases of food allergies in children are caused by kiwi). People with allergies to latex and fruits such as avocados and bananas should be especially careful.
- What fruits should be eaten in winter? These are primarily citrus fruits (orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit, and tangerine), kiwi, pomegranate, and cranberries.
- Studies show that these fruits can improve digestion, brain and heart function, promote weight loss and prevent the growth of cancer cells and the formation of kidney stones.
- Whole fruits are healthier than fruit juices, as they contain more fiber and fewer calories and sugar.
- Fruit can also be added to various desserts, including yogurt, porridge, salads, smoothies, and even side dishes.