We can’t control the weather and cold temperatures, but we can control what we feed our bodies. Many benefits can arise from consuming in season produce. Seasonal produce has a richer flavor since it is picked when fully ripened, is packed with even more nutrition, and is cost efficient since in season produce is more abundant (costs less per pound!) The following seasonal produce can help boost the immune system which is just in time for the cold and flu season!
Citrus fruits give a bright pop of color once days get colder and grayer. Oranges, tangerines, clementines, grapefruit, lemons, and limes are all citrus fruits. Citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C. This vitamin helps with growth and repair of body tissues. Although consuming citrus fruits may not keep you from catching a cold, research shows that vitamin C may decrease the length of symptoms. The easiest way to prepare citrus fruits are by peeling and eating them raw! Infusing your water with lemons and limes or making a citrus vinaigrette for a salad is a great way to try something new.
Kale, collard greens, and swiss chard are a few of many dark leafy greens that are in season during the winter months. Dark leafy greens are nutrient dense, so they are low in calories and high in nutrients. Abundant nutrients are folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and fiber. From all of the benefits of leafy greens, one of the most important is vitamin K. This vitamin helps protect your bones from osteoporosis and helps prevent inflammatory diseases. Not only are leafy greens abundant in nutrients, there are many ways to prepare them! Try adding your leafy greens to salads, wraps, soups, smoothies, stir-fry, and omelets.
Buying in season produce can be a fun and cost efficient way to try new foods and get all of the important nutrients to help fight against the flu season.
Nicole, Missouri State University Dietetic Intern
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