Blog post by registered nutritional therapist, Lucia Glover
With the crisp days upon us, there's no finer way to welcome the new season than by immersing yourself in locally sourced, fresh British winter ingredients. As a nutritional therapist, blending nourishment with seasonal wholesome cooking brings me immense joy. Winter comfort foods boast a diverse range of flavours, colours, and nutrients. Indulging in a well-nourished winter not only nurtures the mind, body, and soul but also improves our overall well-being. With this in mind, I’d like to share with you my top tips for winter food ideas and eating, ensuring your body receives the essential nutrients it craves during this enchanting time of the year.
1. Savour the Symphony of Seasonal Roots and Citrus for Improved Energy and Immunity:
The colder months bring a variety of root vegetables to invigorate the senses and supply essential vitamins and minerals. If you find yourself feeling sluggish, remember that limited sun exposure in winter can disrupt your circadian rhythm, impacting your sleep-wake cycle and prompting increased melatonin production—the sleep hormone. This disruption often leads to persistent feelings of tiredness. It's an opportune moment to indulge in winter season food such as roasted, steamed, or slow-cooked seasonal root vegetables.
Elevate your menu with sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, radishes, carrots, and onions — a staple to bolster your body’s resilience against invaders such as the flu and the common cold. Beyond providing essential carbohydrates, which are converted into glucose for sustained energy, root vegetables boast a high fibre content. This fibre serves as a nourishing source for our gut microbes. A contented microbial community, in turn, triggers the activation of our immune system.
As for citrus fruits, we know these are rich in vitamin C which is important because as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, Vitamin C strengthens our immune system cells. Since our bodies cannot produce or store vitamin C, it's crucial to consistently replenish it.
Here's a tip: especially during the winter months, when flu and colds are prevalent, make it a habit to consume vitamin C-rich foods daily. This supports your body in reducing the severity and duration of a cold or flu.
2. Build Your Plate with a Rainbow of Colours for a Mood-Enhancing Experience:
I love having a mix of colourful vegetables on my plate. Beyond the visual feast, the vibrant colours symbolise a wealth of nutrients that nourish the body. For instance, red foods like tomatoes have lycopene, an antioxidant guarding against prostate cancer. The deep colours in blueberries and beetroots contain anthocyanins, keeping arteries flexible to prevent heart disease.
What’s more, our gut favours diversity, therefore the more different types of fruits and vegetables you consume, the bigger the population of different helpful bacteria in the gut. This not only strengthens the immune system but also helps your body produce serotonin, the happy hormone that improves your mood —perfect for beating the winter blues.
My tip? Aim for three different colours at each meal for a nutrient-packed plate. Jumpstart this daily goal with a savoury breakfast, perhaps an omelette bursting with three of your favourite vegetables. When it's snack time, enjoy bell peppers, carrots, and celery with a protein like hummus for sustained energy, or pair a pear, apple, and citrus fruits with a handful of nuts or seeds.
3. Embrace the Magic of Fresh and Local Produce for a Nutrient Boost:
Visit pick-your-own farms for a family adventure, and farmers’ markets for seasonal treasures. Now until the end of the year squash, carrots, beets, cauliflower, kale, sprouts, leeks, and parsnips are available. Typically, produce from local farmers often benefits from an extended period on the vine, tree, or in the ground, resulting in superior taste and nutritional richness.
Choosing locally grown winter seasonal food has additional advantages – it's typically cultivated near your home rather than being transported thousands of miles away, ensuring a shorter journey from farm to sale. This proximity contributes to higher levels of preserved vitamins and minerals in the produce, making it a healthier and more sustainable choice.
4. Embrace Warm Spices for Extra Cosy Comfort:
Infuse your winter days with the comforting aroma of warm spices like cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, and nutmeg. Beyond adding flavour, these spices soothe inflammation and make dishes and beverages truly indulgent.
*This turmeric latte is absolutely heavenly. Click here for the recipe.
With these top tips from nutritional therapist Lucia Glover, may
your winter become a season of enriched wellness, radiant energy, and a
harmonious connection with the nourishing gifts of nature.