We tend to crave warming, energy-rich foods during the winter. This is probably a trait handed down from our Paleolithic ancestors who needed these foods to help them produce body heat to keep them warm. They didn't have furnaces, fire places and electric blankets. Here are five foods we can enjoy during the winter that are warming and comforting as well as nutrient rich.
Root vegetables: Our paleolithic ancestors ate plenty of high fiber, nutrient rich starchy vegetables. These are the ones that grow under, or close to, the ground. They offer a slow release energy source, loads of fiber and lots of nutrients. They are also filling, satisfying and delicious. Some highlights are the orange sweet potatoes and carrots that offer the carotenoids, purple and red potatoes that provide potassium and of course my favorite, beets. Beets are purifying and cleansing for the blood and urinary tract. They also help your blood vessels make nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes and dilates the vessels to lower blood pressure. Don’t forget turnips, rutabagas and parsnips. Roast or mash them for a delicious potato alternative.
Alliums: You know these as onions, garlic, leeks, scallions and shallots. Loaded with sulfur compounds and quercitin, these pungent veggies will boost the immune system, thin the blood, clear the lungs and support liver detoxification. They are also delicious and boost the flavor of most dishes.
Wild Salmon: When caught off the coast of Alaska, this wild pink fish is loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids. These fats are needed for cell membrane integrity, neurotransmitter production, hormone and bile production and will thin the blood and help with energy production. Wild salmon is also a great source of protein, fat soluble vitamins and astaxanthin, the antioxidant pigment that makes salmon pink.
Nuts and seeds: Looking for a concentrated source of energy, omega fatty acids, minerals, protein and healthful fat? Look no further than the sprouted nut and seed. When sprouted, the nutrients are ready for the body to assimilate, flooding the body with much needed nutrition during the winter when fresh, local produce is hard to find.
Bone broth: It can improve digestion, allergies, immune health, brain health, and much more. Bone broth can also help reduce cellulite by improving connective tissue, repair joints, increase hair growth/strength, improve digestive issues and remineralize teeth. It is helpful to have on hand when anyone in the family gets sick as it can be a soothing and immune boosting drink during illness, even if the person doesn’t feel like eating. When you are craving more starchy foods during the winter, resist the urge to grab a packaged, processed food like substance. Instead, go for the nutrient dense, warming foods that nature provides.
A perfect winter meal: Chop up your favorite root vegetables, onion and some garlic. Toss with coconut oil, Himalayan salt and pepper and any spices you like. Roast on a flat pan at 375 for about 20 minutes. Push veggies aside and place a few pieces of wild salmon on the pan, brush with butter or coconut oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and spices. Roast for another 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with chopped nuts and enjoy with a cup of bone broth on the side. Don’t forget a shot of wheatgrass or a spoonful of raw sauerkraut for enzymes.