Revealed, the foods you should be eating this winter – including Brussels sprouts, cranberries and artichokes

  • London-based nutritionist Rob Hobson reveals his top ‘superfoods’ this winter
  • Brussels sprouts, high in vitamin C, are not just for the Christmas dinner table
  • Cranberries, which reduce the risk of heart disease, are available in the winter

It’s easy to get side-tracked over the Christmas period and overindulge in chocolate.

But this time of year is perfect for the abundance of fruit and vegetables which have just come into season.

Keep the cheese and biscuits away and instead turn to healthy stews, casseroles and soups, says Healthspan’s head of nutrition, Rob Hobson.  

Here, in a piece for Healthista, he reveals the top 10 ‘superfoods’ to eat as the weather gets colder and the nights become shorter. 

BRUSSELS SPROUTS  

Brussels sprouts are high in sulphur-containing compounds that are responsible for their distinctive smell

Brussels sprouts are high in sulphur-containing compounds that are responsible for their distinctive smell

Brussels sprouts are not just for the Christmas dinner table and can be shredded into a raw salad or stir-fried. 

These little cabbages are high in sulphur-containing compounds that are responsible for their distinctive smell. 

Such compounds have long been recognised for their protective effects on cancer. 

Brussels sprouts also contain a good source of vitamin C, K, folate and iron.

TURKEY

Turkey is a good source of B vitamins that are required to convert food into energy and also selenium and zinc for immunity

Turkey is a good source of B vitamins that are required to convert food into energy and also selenium and zinc for immunity

Turkey is a lean, high-protein food that is synonymous with cosy Sunday lunches and Christmas day. 

This meat is a good source of B vitamins (including B6 and B12) that are required to convert food into energy and also selenium and zinc for immunity. 

Turkey is also a rich source of the amino acid tryptophan, which is taken up by the brain to make the hormones serotonin (which influences mood) and melatonin (which influences the sleep/wake cycle).

PUMPKINS  

Pumpkins get their colour from beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A and helps to maintain healthy skin, eyes and immunity

Pumpkins get their colour from beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A and helps to maintain healthy skin, eyes and immunity

These vegetables work well in stews and soups as well as tasting great when roasted or mashed.

The bright orange colour of pumpkins is due to a plant compound called beta-carotene that also acts as a powerful antioxidant helping to reduce free radical damage in the body. 

Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A, which helps to maintain healthy skin, eyes and immunity.

CRANBERRIES  

Cranberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols that may help to reduce the risk of heart disease

Cranberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols that may help to reduce the risk of heart disease

These fruits are available during the winter although they’re too sour and tart to eat raw. 

Cranberries are most commonly made into a sauce by adding sugar and water. 

You can make your own at home, which will help you to control the amount of sugar you put into the recipe. 

Cranberries are high in vitamin C and antioxidant polyphenols that may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing platlet build-up and reducing blood pressure. 

POMEGRANATES  

Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C and also contain high levels of vitamin K and potassium

Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C and also contain high levels of vitamin K and potassium

These bright jewel-like fruits can be eaten alone or added to savoury dishes such as curries or tagines that make great winter-warming meals. 

Pomegranates are rich in vitamin C and also contain folate, vitamin K and potassium. 

There is some research to suggest that pomegranate may have heart health benefits by improving your cholesterol profile and protecting LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidation. 

APPLES  

Apple contain high amounts of pectin - a soluble fibre that can help to bind with cholesterol in the gut and remove it from the body

Apple contain high amounts of pectin – a soluble fibre that can help to bind with cholesterol in the gut and remove it from the body

There are lots of apples available throughout the winter. 

These crisp fruits contain high amounts of pectin which is a soluble fibre that can help to bind with cholesterol in the gut and remove it from the body.

SALMON  

Two servings of salmon per week can add around 30 per cent of the daily requirement for vitamin D, it is believed

Two servings of salmon per week can add around 30 per cent of the daily requirement for vitamin D, it is believed

During the winter months 40 per cent of us have low levels of vitamin D, which is essential for healthy bones, immunity and also helps to prevent seasonal affective disorder that can dampen mood. 

While the main source is sunlight you can glean a little from foods such as salmon and other oily fish. 

Two servings per week can add around 30 per cent of your daily requirement for vitamin D. 

CINNAMON 

Ground cinnamon is a good source of calcium and also iron, which is required for good immunity and maintaining health red blood cell production

Ground cinnamon is a good source of calcium and also iron, which is required for good immunity and maintaining health red blood cell production

This spice definitely drums up memories of Winter and is commonly served alongside cloves, nutmeg and other warming spices. 

Ground cinnamon is a good source of calcium and also iron, which is required for good immunity and maintaining health red blood cell production. 

Research suggests this spice may also help to lower blood sugar levels.

BEETROOT  

Beetroot are thought to help with the detoxification processes in the liver as well as helping to lower blood pressure

Beetroot are thought to help with the detoxification processes in the liver as well as helping to lower blood pressure

These bright purple vegetables are readily available during both the autumn and winter months. 

Their vibrant colour is due to a plant compound called betacyanin, which acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body and is thought to protect against heart disease and certain cancers. 

Beetroot are also thought to help with the detoxification processes in the liver as well as helping to lower blood pressure.

ARTICHOKE  

Artichokes contain more iron that other similar vegetables and have high levels of inulin - an indigestible fibre that acts as a prebiotic

Artichokes contain more iron that other similar vegetables and have high levels of inulin – an indigestible fibre that acts as a prebiotic

These lumpy little vegetables are in season during the winter months and can be used in the same way as potatoes. 

Jerusalem artichokes contain more iron that other similar vegetables but what makes them particularly interesting is their high levels of inulin, which is an indigestible fibre that acts as a prebiotic in the gut. 

Prebiotics feed the good bacteria that help to maintain immunity and a healthy gut (good news during the seasonal overindulgences).

This article originally appeared on and has been reproduced with the permission of Healthista.

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