What makes a superfood “super?” And are they as nutrient- and vitamin-dense as experts claim? Enlisting the help of nutritionist Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, and author of The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition, we sought to answer those questions, and more, rounding up the most delicious superfoods to incorporate into your meals this winter.
Packed with antioxidants and low in calories, pears are perfect to toss atop your salad or throw in your workout bag as a quick after-class snack. One of the highest-fiber fruits, pears can keep your cholesterol levels down while preventing heart disease and help to sustain healthy blood pressure. “Peared” with your favorite class, this fruit will give you the energy to tackle the day ahead.
Try it: Blueberry Pear Smoothie
As a superfood, ginger is known for soothing an unruly digestive system. As a diaphoretic however, ginger encourages perspiration and warms you from the inside, out—making it not only the perfect addition to your winter recipes, but also as an anti-inflammatory agent for aches and pains after a difficult workout.
Try it: Curried Chicken Pitas
Containing three times as many antioxidants as both green tea and red wine, pomegranates are recognized as one of the most potent superfoods and boast a variety of health benefits, including improving blood flow and even memory. Indeed, the power of the pomegranate is certainly unmatched. Weisenberger recommends “sprinkling the seeds over a plain green salad or incorporating into wild rice with turnips and parsnips.”
Try it: Quinoa Salad with Oranges, Beets and Pomegranate
Consider citrus the restart button to your immune system. A single orange contains more than an entire day’s recommended serving of Vitamin C, which can significantly alleviate symptoms of the common cold and improve heart health. Skin restorative properties are abundant as well, include brightening the appearance of skin and even smoothing cellulite.
Try it: Blood Orange Chia Pudding
Looking to detox after a long weekend? Try persimmons. Nearly identical in appearance to tomatoes, the fruit is bursting with phytonutrients that rid toxins from the body and are rich in vitamins A and B. The lesser-known relatives of Vitamin C, vitamins A and B are not to be overlooked. Both aid in blood cell reproduction and help boost your metabolism. Weisenberger recommends persimmons of the Fuyu variety and suggests creating a salsa out of the fruit to be served over fish or chicken.
Try it: Braised Pork with Fuyu Persimmon
It’s time to make your least favorite vegetable as a child your new BFF. The superfood helps lower cholesterol, and its high protein content makes it a great option for vegetarians.
Try it: Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Garlic
High in fiber and omega-three fatty acids, winter squash is rich not only in antioxidants but flavor as well. For those lactose intolerant, pureed winter squash gives you a beautiful, creamy texture without the dairy. Weisenberger suggests squash roasted and sauteed, or pureed with ginger cloves and nutme, to give the dish a “lovely, nutty taste” perfect for any winter dinner party.
Try it: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup